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Economics, Ecology and Entropy: The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Limits to Growth

Claire Elizabeth Smith and Joseph Wayne Smith
Population and Environment
Vol. 17, No. 4 (Mar., 1996), pp. 309-321
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27503473
Page Count: 13
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Economics, Ecology and Entropy: The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Limits to Growth
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Abstract

The second law of thermodynamics has played an important role in ecological economics as providing a justification for the view that economies have limits to growth. Yet beyond basic textbooks statements of this law, we seldom find informed philosophical examinations of the meaning and metaphysical justification for the second law. In this paper we shall examine some challenges which have been made to the limits to growth (Limitationist) position by those criticizing the scope and application of the second law of thermodynamics and we shall in turn defend Limitationism against these criticisms.

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