Showing posts from July, 2018

The Thermodynamics of Globalization

It can be useful to think about society and culture in terms that are normally reserved for physics. Flows of money, people, resources and manufactured goods are analogous to flows of air or water along pressure gradients. People tend to flow from regions with a lower quality of life to regions with a higher quality of life, in the same way that air flows from a region of higher pressure to a region of lower pressure. Resources tend to flow from areas of resource abundance to areas of resource scarcity. Manufactured goods tend to flow from places where they can be produced efficiently to places where they can be sold at the greatest profit. Financial capital tends to flow to where it can get the highest return on investment. These flows have two important things in common with thermodynamic flows. One is that they increase entropy overall. They erase differences between places. The wind moves air from high pressure to low pressure areas. By doing so, it tends to equalize pressure