Thursday, May 6, 2010

Entropy and the Maoist Problem - Applying the lense of Georgescu Roegen

In the entire training span of learning streams of economics from 1999 till 2010 (month of May), I had left out an important stream of thought process. This realisation surfaced within me when I was introduced to a very enriching philosophical discourse of "Georgescu Roegen" by my colleague Shailly. Shailly gave me three very interesting papers by Georgescu Roegen dealing with - a) applications of entropy law in analysing economic production systems questioning neoclassical production theories, b)inconvenient philosophical questions regarding the applications of mathematical tools in "economic science", c) debate and contradictions between neoclassical economists and contributions of Georgescu Roegen.

After reading three papers, I immediately found out similarities between an entropic system and the Maoist problem. Georgescu Roegen applies entropic system and highlights how resources should be taken as part of production systems. In such a relationship, the inputs are not substitutable but follow a complementary relationship. So according to Roegen, resources are transformed from one form to another with the inputs playing a more transformative agent role. It is with the transformation process in natural science, entropy law mentions about irreversibility of process in matter transformation. Such irreversibility is also applied in case of heat exchange processes. With respect to tranformation of matter, if it has to be made reversible, energy has to be released or absorbed into the system.

The Maoist problem at the grass roots are originating owing to fractured mandates between state and local people. Local economic systems could be seen as a seperate social system not aligned to the other society beyond the domain of the rural economic systems. There is a social pressure within these local economic systems to seperate away and move far from the state control. With larger state oppression such a pressure would increase and there will be a force on the local social systems (where Maoist problem is arising) to move and get isolated for forming a seperate identity in an irreversible way. To create reversibility and bring back the local social systems unified with the state systems different forms of energy has to be absorbed. This cant be in the form of violent military operations. It has to be more in the form of negotiation, local level trust development with a state, centre coordination. In the absence of such, the irreversibile nature of the Maoist problem (or the force of moving away from state and getting isolated as a seperate social system, entity) would enhance and the entropy would increase.


Social systems also follow laws of fundamental natural science. I have a strong feeling that this will be validated in the long run in India.

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