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Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, born Nicolae Georgescu (Constanţa, Romania, 4 February 1906 - Nashville, Tennessee, 30 October 1994) was a Romanian mathematician, statistician and economist, best known for his 1971 magnum opus The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, which situated the view that the second law of thermodynamics, i.e., that usable "free energy" tends to disperse or become lost in the form of "bound energy", governs economic processes. He is also considered "one of the key intellectual progenitors of ecological economics".
He studied mathematics at the University of Bucharest, graduating in 1926. After winning a scholarship, he went on to study at the University of Paris, where his interests turned towards statistics and economics. He received a Ph.D. degree in 1930, for a thesis on latent cyclical components in time series. Another scholarship allowed him to pursue his studies for two years at the University College in London with Karl Pearson.
In 1932, Georgescu-Roegen returned to Romania, and became Professor of Statistics at the University of Bucharest. He held this position until 1946. He was a professor at Vanderbilt University from 1950 to 1976.
Georgescu-Roegen introduced into economics, inter alia, the concept of entropy from thermodynamics (as distinguished from the mechanistic foundation of neoclassical economics drawn from Newtonian physics) and did foundational work which later developed into evolutionary economics. His work contributed significantly to bioeconomics and to ecological economics.
He was a protégé of the renowned economist Joseph Schumpeter. His own protégés included foundational ecological economist Herman E. Daly and French historian Jacques Grinevald.
- "Utility", International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (1968). Macmillan: New York.
- Energy and Economic Myths : Institutional and Analytical Economic Essays (1976). Pergamon Press: New York.
- The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (1971). Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- "Afterword", in J. Rifkin and T. Howard, Entropy: A New World View (1971). The Viking Press: New York.
- ↑ Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen's biography at The History of Economic Thought website.
- ↑ Sunderlin, W.D. (2003), "Ideology, Social Theory, and the Environment", Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.
- ↑ Maneschi, Andrea and Zamagni, Stefano (1997), "Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, 1906-1994", The Economic Journal, Vol. 107, No. 442 (May, 1997), 695–707. JSTOR
- ↑ Cleveland, C. and Ruth, M. (1997), "When, where, and by how much do biophysical limits constrain the economic process? A survey of Georgescu-Roegen's contribution to ecological economics", Ecological Economics 22: 203-223.
- ↑ Daly, H. (1995), "On Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen’s contributions to economics: An obituary essay", Ecological Economics 13: 149-54.
- ↑ Mayumi, K. (1995), "Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (1906-1994): an admirable epistemologist", Structural Change and Economic Dynamics 6: 115-120.
- ↑ Mayumi, K. and Gowdy, J. M. (eds.) (1999), "Bioeconomics and Sustainability: Essays in Honor of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen", Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
- ↑ Mayumi, K. (2001), "The Origins of Ecological Economics: The Bioeconomics of Georgescu-Roegen", London: Routledge.
The Entropy Law and the Economic Process