Energy and the Wealth of Nations

An Introduction to Biophysical Economics

by Charles A.S. Hall, Kent Klitgaard

DescriptionDetailsHashtagsReport an issue

Book Description

In this updated edition of a groundbreaking text, concepts such as energy return on investment (EROI) provide powerful insights into the real balance sheets that drive our "petroleum economy." Hall and Klitgaard explore the relation between energy and the wealth explosion of the 20th century, and the interaction of internal limits to growth found in the investment process and rising inequality with the biophysical limits posed by finite energy resources. The authors focus attention on the failure of markets to recognize or efficiently allocate diminishing resources, the economic consequences of peak oil, the high cost and relatively low EROI of finding and exploiting new oil fields, including the much ballyhooed shale plays and oil sands, and whether alternative energy technologies such as wind and solar power can meet the minimum EROI requirements needed to run society as we know it.

For the past 150 years, economics has been treated as a social science in which economies are modeled as a circular flow of income between producers and consumers. In this "perpetual motion" of interactions between firms that produce and households that consume, little or no accounting is given of the flow of energy and materials from the environment and back again. In the standard economic model, energy and matter are completely recycled in these transactions, and economic activity is seemingly exempt from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. As we enter the second half of the age of oil, when energy supplies and the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption are likely to constrain economic growth, this exemption should be considered illusory at best. This book is an essential read for all scientists and economists who have recognized the urgent need for a more scientific, empirical, and unified approach to economics in an energy-constrained world, and serves as an ideal teaching text for the growing number of courses, such as the authors' own, on the role of energy in society.

This open book is licensed under a Creative Commons License (CC BY). You can download Energy and the Wealth of Nations ebook for free in PDF format (11.5 MB).

Book Details

Subject
Engineering and Technology
Publisher
Springer
Published
2018
Pages
507
Edition
1
Language
English
ISBN13
9783319662176
ISBN10
3319662171
ISBN13 Digital
9783319662190
ISBN10 Digital
3319662198
PDF Size
11.5 MB
License
CC BY

Related Books

Iberian World Empires and the Globalization of Europe 1415–1668
This book analyses Iberian expansion by using knowledge accumulated in recent years to test some of the most important theories regarding Europe's economic development. Adopting a comparative perspective, it considers the impact of early globalization on Iberian and Western European institutions, social development and political economies. In spite...
Digital Technology and the Practices of Humanities Research
How does technology impact research practices in the humanities? How does digitisation shape scholarly identity? How do we negotiate trust in the digital realm? What is scholarship, what forms can it take, and how does it acquire authority? This diverse set of essays demonstrate the importance of asking such questions, bringing together establis...
Education and Skills for Inclusive Growth, Green Jobs and the Greening of Economies in Asia
This book presents an overview of the main research findings and case studies concerning education and skills for inclusive growth, green jobs and the greening of economies. Focusing on India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam, it discusses government and business sector responses to these issues and how Technical and Vocational Education and Train...
Science as Social Existence
In this bold and original study, Jeff Kochan constructively combines the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) with Martin Heidegger's early existential conception of science. Kochan shows convincingly that these apparently quite different approaches to science are, in fact, largely compatible, even mutually reinforcing. By combining Heidegger...
The Condition of Digitality
David Harvey's The Condition of Postmodernity rationalised capitalism's transformation during an extraordinary year: 1989. It gave theoretical expression to a material and cultural reality that was just then getting properly started - globalisation and postmodernity - whilst highlighting the geo-spatial limits to accumulation imposed by our planet....
Understanding Risks and Uncertainties in Energy and Climate Policy
This book analyzes and seeks to consolidate the use of robust quantitative tools and qualitative methods for the design and assessment of energy and climate policies. In particular, it examines energy and climate policy performance and associated risks, as well as public acceptance and portfolio analysis in climate policy, and presents methods for ...