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What Is The Relationship Between Thermodynamics And Economics? – Essay


When I was in the second year of Mechanical Engineering (1969-1970) at Metu University, I took a “system science” course. In this course, we were solving electrical machinery and construction problems in the same discipline, then it was said that economic problems could be added to this list. We also took micro and macro economics courses in the same year.


Years passed, the similarities between physics and economics, thermodynamics and economics were discussed, written in many places within the scope of the various academic thesis.

You might say, “The economy has its own laws and it works perfectly”. However, economists can make contradictory statements among themselves. Those who present themselves to the society as so-called ‘economists” and those who hold the political power can show initiatives that deeply affect the social life and that are very different from academic solutions, even questionable.

We come across many academic papers and popular media articles on this subject in Google searches. However, the basic concepts need to be defined first. We know the laws of thermodynamics. There is not much objection to the application of the same laws to economics.

What is important here? How will we define the concepts of enthalpy, entropy, exergy in the field of economics?

Explaining economics with the laws of physics (thermodynamics) can be very exciting, but which economic concept is equivalent to which physical concept? These need to be determined in advance. But that is not so easy. How do the laws of thermodynamics work in an economic setting? Now let’s do some reasoning and compare the concepts of physics with economic terms,


Is the concept of economic money the energy kW-hour concept in physics? Does interest mean voltage? What is inflation equivalent to? If we raise the voltage, will inflation go down?

And continuing:

How does the physical environment react in the opposite case? Does energy kW-hour tell the size of money in the economy? Is Ampere the Central Bank money supply in the economy? What does voltage correspond to in economics? What can we consider equivalent to the concept of inflation?

These all sound very complicated. How is the inflation rate relationship explained? There are no easy agreed-upon answers to the questions given above … yet.

Perhaps, it should not be rushed to make analogies and analogies between economics and thermodynamics. We should not come to facilitating a quick answer

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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