If [according to Georgescu-Roegen] the economic process is an entropic one, economic growth should be curbed or even reversed, in order to stop the "waste" of energy in "non-necessary" uses, so as to preserve it for the sake of future generations.I am unconvinced by Georgescu-Roegen assumptions but he looks more coherent than the ecological economists and their followers who believe that a sustainable, as well as equitable and happy, future is possible.
This conclusion raises at least two questions, to which Georgescu-Roegen provided answers which many found unconvincing. What is the rate of this entropic decay? And if we accept that it is necessary to economize on natural resources, to which level of economic activity should we be ready to scale down our current societies? The answer to the first question is unknowable, since the non-mechanical character of entropy makes an "entropymeter" inconceivable. This implies that it is impossible to predict whether it is our current generation or generations in the distant future who will be confronted with the direst consequences of the exhaustion of natural resources.
To the second question, Georgescu-Roegen provided a logical answer: "… not only growth, but also a zero-growth state, nay, even a declining state which does not converge toward annihilation, cannot exist forever in a finite environment." [Energy and economic myths, Southern Economic Journal 41 (3) (1975), pp. 347–381]
August 31, 2010
Georgescu-Roegen and ecological economics
Clément Levallois writes in Can de-growth be considered a policy option? A historical note on Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and the Club of Rome, published in Ecological Economics by: