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#330817 - 12/18/20 03:49 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pondering_it_all]
chunkstyle Offline
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Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 2675
Amassing capitol is the essence of what you might be calling entropy.

Capitalism’s history is going from productive economy to a maturing unproductive, or rentiers economy.
As the great bearded one pointed out with Money+labor=profit eventually goes to money=profit.

Money gets concentrated in the non productive economy in the form of financialization and rent seeking, to the detriment of the productive economy.

When that happens it tends to trigger a market signal crises. I would argue we are in a full market signal crises currently. A red hot stock market while so much of the productive economy is in contraction.

The general trend is for that productivity to move elsewhere. Where conditions are favorable. Looking at the Asian rim here. As the productive economy has moved from the Italian City states to Holland, next England and Germany and then the US it looks like it is now moving to China, South Korea, Vietnam, etc...

Capitalism’s history is going from productive to unproductive, increasing opportunity to decreasing opportunity, etc... it’s A built in contradiction with Entropy in its DNA,


Edited by chunkstyle (12/18/20 04:16 AM)

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#330823 - 12/18/20 02:05 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pondering_it_all]
logtroll Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
I see a physical reality underlaying everything that has laws about increasing entropy in entire systems: In economics, just like in the physical world, the wealth of the entire systems tends to get diluted. Our "wealth" in this system can be considered as all the energy available on this planet.

I think that looking only at energy available on the planet as “wealth” is incorrect. Earlier, somewhere, I speculated that resources in general are the source of “wealth” - energy is a fundamental tool for processing resources into wealth, and impacts the speed at which it occurs.

This brings to light that system entropy can be defined as “using it all up” (one of you guys said that already), which leads to a counterintuitive realization about the strong connection of the accumulation of wealth being an indicator of the acceleration of entropy, or in other words “using up all of the resources”.

This in itself is a false view, as virtually all of the resources needed to sustain life on the planet are renewable through natural processes (Mother Nature) unless they are used (ab-used) thoughtlessly - with disregard for the renewing/recycling systems that are powered by the Sun. Now, we can see that the Sun as an energy source is a system bound to entropy, and unless the science is wrong it will burn out. But that is none of humanity’s business, as we can’t control it (thank the Gods, or we would find a way to use it up faster!), and we are too insignificant in both stature and duration to be affected by its slow demise.

There is too much to say on theses subjects for one post, so in the interest of making at least one comprehensible point, let’s go back to wealth. America is a great example of the destructive nature of accumulation of wealth - it is the wealthiest country (an overstatement, but...) and it is the biggest consumer of resources, and the biggest polluter per capita. We are a superior entropy accelerator among humanity.

Interesting that control of “the means of production” and the accumulation of “capital” (resources) are the definition of capitalism. Capitalism is the great and unconscious accelerator of unnatural entropy.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330831 - 12/18/20 08:58 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Posts: 10874
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There are some things that are "wealth" that are not energy, but generating them requires energy to be consumed. Even composers and artists have to eat!

Loggy, you do understand my view of entropy very well. Capitalism is a means of accelerating entropy, but I would not call it "unnatural". I think the "natural" versus "unnatural" distinction is a leftover idea that whatever humans cause is unnatural, because God gave us free will. Bringing God into it just makes rational consideration impossible. I think that whatever humans do is natural, since we are animals like any other animal. Just smarter in some ways.

We do have a lot of energy coming our way from the sun, which is great in the short run. But why should the use and management of that resource be "none of our business"? That is not an infinite resource. As long as we are earth-bound, we can only collect a certain amount of that energy. Even if we encircled the sun with a sphere of energy collectors, that would be another limit, albeit much higher. Entropy is inevitable.

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#330833 - 12/18/20 09:16 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 2675
Ok. If the idea is to find the base material necessary for wealth and energy is the current front runner, here’s an interesting dive into EROI dilemma. The last paragraph is the money shot, IMO.

EROI of different fuels and the implications for society


Edited by chunkstyle (12/18/20 09:17 PM)

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#330838 - 12/19/20 05:53 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 10874
Loc: North San Diego County
That paper has some useful data, but it certainly leaves out a lot of externalities. For example, if you include the cost of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere the EROI of oil, gas, and coal actually go negative: They have no return if they kill us! It's also almost seven years old, so the investment cost for PV panels has gone way, way down.

But the ideas are good. EROI is a useful way of thinking about the cost of competing forms of energy extraction. I had no idea hydroelectric is so good. Seven years ago nuclear and PV could be about equal. I wonder where they stand now, but of course PV isn't base energy unless you come up with a storage system.

Particularly high efficiency energy storage systems us PV electricity to make ice, which can later be used for air conditioning, and hot water from thermal panels, which can be used later for heating.

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#330839 - 12/19/20 11:14 AM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: pondering_it_all]
logtroll Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
Loggy, you do understand my view of entropy very well.

I assume you left out a “not”?

I don’t think you understood anything of what I was trying to say, based on your response. Oh, well, it was useful for my own evolution of thinking on the subject.

I learned long ago that trying to communicate about complex subjects by talking is a frustrating game and that energy intended to persuade is much better spent by demonstrating the principle, if one can manage it. Discussion where there is already substantial agreement is easy, and nearly impossible where there is not.

(I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes, rhymes,
We convince by our presence.) - Whitman, again
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330840 - 12/19/20 02:00 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Some concise points in hopes of clarifying what I was noodling about above...

I am in full agreement that the Sun is a clear example of an entropic system. The comment about it being none of humanity’s business is because the scale is such a fantastic mismatch to our puny existence that it simply doesn’t matter.

I don’t agree that every system, whether energy or not, is naturally entropic. One specific system I had in mind is the soil ecosystem. In a healthy natural state it appears to be perpetually self-renewing, keeping in mind that it is able to do this with the energy input from the Sun (making it technically entropic, but in a way that doesn’t matter in this discussion about wealth). Same thing goes for water and the hydrologic cycle, which is continually in flux performing almost unaccountable beneficial services for all of organic life, in the most intriguing and complex ways. If there is anything about such Natural systems that is inherently entropic, it’s not obvious to me.

Enter humanity, with all its free will and brainpower, and desire for wealth and security, and these Natural systems begin degrading apace, fueled by the harnessing of a range of energy resources that have the possibility probability of being squandered in just a few hundred years. I’m not even sure if that effect would properly be termed entropy - it’s more like cancer. (Btw, even hydropower is entropic...)

Is energy “wealth” if it drives the headlong (geologically speaking) destruction of the (our) environment?

My reference to “the gods” (not God, btw) was a bit of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm about one of many weird delusions that much of humanity insists on enjoying as a free-will distraction from learning about and understanding our fitting place in Nature.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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#330841 - 12/19/20 02:20 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 2675
Originally Posted By: logtroll


Interesting that control of “the means of production” and the accumulation of “capital” (resources) are the definition of capitalism. Capitalism is the great and unconscious accelerator of unnatural entropy.



I thought the iron laws of capitalism were: increase profits (accumulation), increase markets share.
Owning the means can be done in several ways in order to serve the two laws.

It can be organized by the participants in the value added process, or workers, having a more socialistic horizontal structure. Like worker co-ops. Likewise, it can be more vertically structured and fascistic like an incorporated organization where decision making and the lives of those engaged in the value added activity of the org are decided by a small group of people.

Either can be capitalism as it relates to the two laws.

I agree that the conversation has gotten vague. Everyone has an opinion on so important a topic as wealth and the way to get some of it. IMO, we have made capitalism into a religion and deify those who’ve managed to accumulate it. Talking religion is always a tricky thing.

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#330842 - 12/19/20 02:35 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: chunkstyle]
logtroll Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Good point.

The important thing is to open our minds to, first, that there are serious problems with the way things are; and second, that it's okay to consider other ways that they can be.

Humanity has an annoying habit of always wanting to make things fit into the boxes we know, into words coined to narrow definitions (capitalism, socialism, etc). And as you say, these boxes (wineskins, for a Biblical reference) become religions.

Something about "don't put new wine (ideas) into old wineskins (ideologies)".

There's a problem, and we need to understand it before we can make any progress towards fixing it.

There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear...
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

Top
#330843 - 12/19/20 02:38 PM Re: What is wealth? How is it made? How is it accounted? [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10735
Loc: One of the Mexicos
Here's the best definition of wealth that I know:

Quote:
"If you would make any man wealthy, add not to his possessions, but take from his desires."


It's interesting that this concept is also the fundamental principle of conservation.
_________________________
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller

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