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Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different.

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Presentation on theme: "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different."— Presentation transcript:

1 Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

2 The Physics laws and the unsustainability of the economic liberalism Beniamino Ginatempo Dept. Ing. Civ. Edi. Amb. Mat. App., University of Messina (Italy)

3 The Physics laws and the unsustainability of the economic liberalism Synopsis: 1)Nature laws and the sustainability 2)The physical reasons of the economical crisis 3)The alternative: equity and solidarity

4 Nature laws and sustainability On the Earth (and within the Universe) only physical phenomena can occur. They are permitted and ruled by the Physics or Nature laws Physics laws cannot be transgressed, opposite to human or free market laws Therefore mankind should organize itself following development models that take them into account and are not conflicting with them Sustainability = coherence with Nature laws Natural phenomena have a cyclic structure opposite to the actual economic development model that has a linear structure, and this greatly affect its sustainability

5 Mass conservation and Thermodynamics principles Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed The relevant physical quantities for this seminar are Mass and Energy Mass conservation principle and 1 st principle of Thermodynamics state that when ANY physical phenomena occurs mass and energy might change but their overall conservation is ensured ANY human activity is just a transformation, of mass in other mass (e.g. chemical reactions) and energy in other energy (e.g. from mechanical to electric energy, as in the alternator of bicycle) This holds also for economical activities as production and consumption

6 The usability of resources and the Second Principle of Thermodynamics Exactly because nothing can be created nor destroyed, the efficiency of but much often is <100% a transformation non può superare il 100%, but much often is <100% unavoidable scrap There will be then an unavoidable scrap in any transformation and environment pollution this is the environment pollution In other words the initial available resources cannot be entirely used and definitively wasted the remnant is made unusable, downgraded or definitively wasted The inevitability of such a scrap is a profound consequence of the Second Principle of Thermodynamics To illustrate this let me use a metaphor: the entropic car park In their cryptic slang the physicists say: the Entropy increases after a transformation (up to a max in an isolated system)

7 Efficiency of the transformation = 50%, say Minimum WASTE of RESOURCES Entropic car park 1 Unusableresources Let us transform a given available area (resource) in a car park INOUT

8 INOUT Efficiency of the trasformation < 50%, say WASTE of RESOURCES because of disorder (Increase of Entropy) Entropic car park 2 Unusableresources Wastedresources

9 INOUT Efficiency of trasformation = 0%, say Maximum WASTE of RESOURCES Entropic car park 3 All the resources wasted

10 Comments on the entropic car park The initial area, the available resource, cannot be created nor destroyed, but rarely it can be entirely used The remnant 50% it is not waste, because we could not do better, and it is simply space resource not usable to park Indeed we might have a lot more of room waste: the transformation chaotically efficiency is reduced if everybody would park chaotically coordinated On the contrary, if the individual behaviours were coordinated, common resourcesbest used then the common resources will be best used bring order Notice also that the work of drawing the bays helps to bring order into the car park and without this work there would be wastes To depredate common resources leads to a waste of them

11 Order, disorder and Work The accumulation of the made unusable resources causes the physical system internal disorder growth (entropy growth) This downgrade process might continue up to a maximum: the system total decay, the thermal death, unavoidable if the system is isolated To escape this abhorred event, we can only take energy from the system outside and use it to order the inside. This energy transfer is the Work Work is the only tool for human salvation Work is the only tool for human salvation, work is the escape from the disaster, because any left alone system evolves towards the chaos (e.g. Pompei ruins) There is no other way to produce wealth and welfare than to transform Mass and Energy through Work and Knowledge Knowledge is essential to do it at the best and to do it minimizing the mass and energy scraps.

12 Life, extinction and environment resources Life is the everyday fight to reduce our own entropy * (at the expenses of environment entropy) Extinction Extinction of living species occurs when they are not able any more to collect energy (and other resources) from the environment** (in order to reduce their own entropy*) see for example Erwin Schrödinger, What is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell, Cambridge University Press (1944) * It seems a good news It seems a good news: if we had an unlimited reservoir of energy and other resources we might keep ordered for ever, working a lot, all physical systems (including ourselves) It is bad news It is bad news: such a reservoir does not exist, on the contrary Earth resources are narrow (for 7 billions people) Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or… London (1859), John Murray, ISBN **

13 First general conclusions Humans cannot avoid to pollute Then it would be wise to pollute As least as possible As least as possible As slowly as possible As slowly as possible i.e. minimize scraps and wastes This is the thermodynamics wise prescription: Let us try to slow down the entropy growth

14 The Physics laws and the unsustainability of the economic liberalism Synopsis: 1)Physics laws and the sustainability 2)The physical reasons of the economical crisis 3)The alternative: equity and solidarity

15 The cyclic structure of the natural phenomena The trick that Nature has invented to respect conservation laws and materials cycle to allow the life on the Earth is the materials cycle The overwhelming majority of natural cycles consists in the composition of simple chemical elements (atoms) in organic matter and after in the decomposition of the organic matter in their components Nothing gets lost Nothing gets lost: everything is reused, and because of the circular structure no input nor output there is no input nor output Nature does not make wastes Simple Elements (Mass) Organic matter composition Energy exchange Circular process decomposition Energy exchange

16 The Growth and the GDP The actual economic system is based on Gross Domestic Product (GDP, or PIL) the measure of the total wealth produced yearly by a community Growth Its stationary equilibrium is reached through the Growth GDP is just a sum, it does not accounts for the wealth distribution. In order to avoid social conflicts, some growth crumbs is normally distributed to everybody, and this allows for consumptions increase The GDP growth can be pursued by production, consumptions and services linear The all cost growth makes the economic system structure linear Without growth all the system collapses: social conflicts, worker suicides, debt explosion, no resources to heal pollution, ecc.

17 Economic system The linear structure of the economic system Companies in order to produce raw materialsenergywastesdebt a) need raw materials and energy, make wastes and run into debt Consumers in order to consume energywastesdebt b) need energy, make wastes and run into debt States in order to support production and consumptions energywastesdebt c) need energy, make wastes and run into debt Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) EnergyDebtWastes INPUTOUTPUT Linear process Finance

18 M. Pagani I rifiuti fanno da traino al PIL?,(2007) Some instabilities of the economic system This system works because the resources (energy and mass) input but has to face the wastes and debt problems In agreement with thermodynamics the wastes must grow at least as GDP GDP/cap=+14.6% W/cap=+18.1%

19 Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) EnergyDebt Wastes INPUTOUTPUT Environmental instability of the economic system Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) Energy Debt Wastes INPUT OUTPUT GDP Growth INPUT OUTPUT To deal with wastes and debt resources and GDP go down: the crisis Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) Energy Debt Wastes INPUT OUTPUT Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) Energy Debt Wastes INPUT OUTPUT

20 Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) EnergyDebt Wastes INPUTOUTPUT Input instability of the economic system Resources fluxes slow down or their costs increase = - production, + prices up, - consumptions or + debt, + public debt = the crisis Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) EnergyDebt Wastes INPUTOUTPUT Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) Energy Debt Wastes INPUT OUTPUT

21 Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) EnergyDebt Wastes INPUTOUTPUT Administration instability of the economic system Tax evasion, corruption, waste of tax payers money, etc. = + public debt, - services, - production, -consumptions: the crisis Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) Energy Debt Wastes INPUTOUTPUT Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) Energy Debt Wastes INPUT OUTPUT

22 Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) EnergyDebt Wastes INPUTOUTPUT High formation and research role Less research and formation = - production, + wastes, + debt: the crisis Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) EnergyDebt Wastes INPUTOUTPUT Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) Energy Debt Wastes INPUTOUTPUT Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) Energy Debt Wastes INPUTOUTPUT

23 The physical reasons of the crisis One has to conclude that the physical reasons of the crisis are related to the Earth entropy growth, caused by the resources scrap. (it would be interesting a compared study of poverty and pollution indicators) The linear structure of the economic system is not compatible with thermodynamics principles and natural phenomena The unlimited growth is forbidden by the Nature laws, because the natural resources are limited Scientific progress can mitigate then delay the disaster but not escape it (sustainable development)

24 The Physics laws and the unsustainability of the economic liberalism Synopsis: 1)Physics laws and the sustainability 2)The physical reasons of the economical crisis 3)The alternative: equity and solidarity

25 Consumistic vs. sober society It seems that we have to change from linear to cyclic the economic system Cfr. Vandana Shivas Subsistence and Nature Economies or Latin America Buen Vivir We should a)limit the attack to planet resources b)recover most materials after consumption c)change our lifestyle This economic system is based on the wild consumption of the unnecessary

26 The Zero Waste Strategy Paul Connett says that Zero Waste Strategy is the springboard to sustainability ZW strategy is based mainly on two strongholds: a)Maximum recover of mass b)Responsibility and solidarity (with future Earth inhabitants) Economic system Raw Materials (Mass) Wastes Recycle as secondary raw materials It is not enough

27 Responsibility (Reuse and Recover) We waste a lot of stuff there is no reason to waste (Reuse and Recover) We are the throwaway society If a product after its use is bound to go into a landfill or to be burned then a)It should not be produced (responsible industrial design) b)It should not be bought (responsible consumption) c)Its use must by discouraged by taxes (responsible government) Reduction of planet resources (input) Pollution (output) It is not enough

28 Equity against wastes The economic system input and output are controlled by oligarchies, e.g. mine and oil companies, finance providers (and waste companies) This is a source of enormous power (Can we have democracy without an equitable access to natural resources or Common Assets?) Analogously to the entropic car park metaphor: the resources waste may be minimized by a coordinated many users behaviour, sober, equal and liable access to common resources i.e. sober, equal and liable access to common resources

29 Recipes against crisis Thermodynamics (not ideology) recipe against the crisis: 1)Circular structure of the economy 2)Sober, equal and liable access to common assets (Mass and Energy) Free market recipe against the crisis: the Growth a)Increase productivity; b)Increase consumptions; c)Cut public spending and reduce taxes However 1)because of the linear structure of the economic system 2)because of the narrowness of the natural resources The pollution and the attack to planet resources make this recipe unsustainable (The growth is the disease, then it can hardly be the therapy)

30 Conclusions Earth cannot be governed by the economy It would be nice if politics and governors recovered the authority to decide what should grow and what should decrease (irrespective to GDP and in conflict of economic potentates, if necessary) It would not be that bad if the governors and citizens should know a little more Thermodynamics

31 Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


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