Entropy: A New World View

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Entropy: A New World View is a non-fiction book by Jeremy Rifkin and Ted Howard, with an Afterword by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen. It was first published by Viking Press, New York in 1980 (ISBN 0-670-29717-8).

A paperback edition was published by Bantam in 1981, in a paperback revised edition, by Bantam Books, in 1989 (ISBN 0-553-34717-9). The 1989 revised edition was titled: Entropy: Into the Greenhouse World (ISBN 978-0-553-34717-3).

In the book the authors analyze the world's economic and social structures by using the second law of thermodynamics, also known as the law of entropy. The authors argue that humanity is wasting resources at an increasing rate, which if unchecked will lead to the destruction of civilization, which has happened before on a smaller scale to past societies. The book promotes the use of sustainable energy sources and slow resource consumption as the solution to delay or forestall death by entropy. Critics: Rifkin's 1980 views assume that entropy is disorder. However, a more modern based on information theory treats entropy as uncertainty. The later approach explains how in some cases entropy increases order. In fact, order spontaneously increases in the world all the time in evolution and also in an economy that is constantly improved. Therefore, Rifkin's book is controversial. See "Entropy God's Dice Game" by Kafri and Kafri.

Such critiques are addressed by properly defining the system under consideration. While biological systems may give the appearance of self-assembling contrary to the Second Law, this illusion disappears when one considers the environment-organism system. While the constituent atoms and molecules comprising the organism, as a collection, decrease in entropy, the surroundings experience a compensating increase in entropy, consistent with the Second Law.

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