More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature's Economics

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Nov 29, 1991 - Business & Economics - 462 pages
1 Review
More Heat Than Light is a history of how physics has drawn some inspiration from economics and also how economics has sought to emulate physics, especially with regard to the theory of value. It traces the development of the energy concept in Western physics and its subsequent effect upon the invention and promulgation of neoclassical economics. Any discussion of the standing of economics as a science must include the historical symbiosis between the two disciplines. Starting with the philosopher Emile Meyerson's discussion of the relationship between notions of invariance and causality in the history of science, the book surveys the history of conservation principles in the Western discussion of motion. Recourse to the metaphors of the economy are frequent in physics, and the concepts of value, motion, and body reinforced each other throughout the development of both disciplines, especially with regard to practices of mathematical formalisation. However, in economics subsequent misuse of conservation principles led to serious blunders in the mathematical formalisation of economic theory. The book attempts to provide the reader with sufficient background in the history of physics in order to appreciate its theses. The discussion is technically detailed and complex, and familiarity with calculus is required.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JohnAGoldsmith - LibraryThing

A disappointing book -- a good subject, but one that did not live up to the promise of the first hundred pages. Read full review


Universal history isthestoryof different intonations given toa handful of metaphors
Everything an economist needs to know about physics but
Science and substance theories ofvalueinpolitical economyto
An irresistable fieldofforce meets an immovable object

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information