Entropy, Georgescu, Rifkin

Thu, 1 Feb 1996 10:57:03 -0500


Here is a thread worthy of discussion. Thank you, D. J. Cattle and
Bob Graber. I hope others will engage.

The thread is entropy, not Rifkin. The personality to focus on is
Nicolas Georgescu-Roegen, brilliant mathematical economist who started
writing about sustainability and entropy way back in the 1930's. I am his
unabashed admirer; I have his photo pasted to my office door.

Georgescu wrote the afterword to Rifkin's book (Entropy: a New World
View). Just because Rifkin gets under your skin, that does not mean
you can dismiss the fundamental ideas, which were Georgescu's.

Bob, can you expand a little on what turns you off about Rifkin's
first few pages? Did you read the whole book? I didn't. Did you
read Georgescu's afterword? If not, please do.

In essence, the prevailing world view is "Newtonian," and the new
"paradigm" is the "entropy world view."

Although Graber scorns the entropy view, he accurately depicts it:
"The universe will run down more slowly if we clean up our act."
But this is Georgescu, not Rifkin.

IMHO, this thread is too important to be consigned to flame warfare.
Rifkin is the sort of guy that some of us love to hate. Listservers
like this one are proven excellent for both flame warfare and
serious discussion. I hope we will see at least some of the latter.

John Lozier
California University of Pennsylvania