Integrating Economics, Ecology and Thermodynamics

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Economies are open systems embedded in an ecosystem with which they exchange matter and energy. Interactions among these systems are vital for each system's performance and are constrained by the laws of physics. This volume pays tribute to economy--environment interactions simultaneously from an economic, ecological and physical perspective. Integrating Economics, Ecology and Thermodynamics provides a first step in identifying and combining the principles of economics, ecology and thermodynamics on a fundamental level. Part I lays out the general context for the approach chosen. Part II familiarizes readers with core concepts of, and methods used in, the three disciplines of economics, ecology and thermodynamics. Part III assesses ways in which these disciplines can be integrated to provide an improved understanding of economy--environment interactions. Part IV illustrates the integration of the three disciplines with a dynamic model of a human community interacting with its environment. In Part V the volume closes with a brief summary and a set of conclusions on the relevance of integrated, interdisciplinary approaches to economy--environment interactions.