Energy and Evolution of Human Economic Order

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Lisi Krall, Professor of Economics, State University of New York, Cortland

Speaker Biography

Lisi Krall is a professor of economics at State University of New York, Cortland. Dr. Krall engages a heterodox and trans-disciplinary approach to understanding economic systems, their etiology, structure, dynamic, and the relationship between humans and the more-than-human world that is contextualized through them. She incorporates evolutionary biology, anthropology, history and heterodox economics to understand how we arrived at this historical moment where there is a war between economy and Earth and great difficulty in altering this tension.


Nicholas Goergescu-Roegen continued the process of reconnecting the economic system to the earth when he wrote his book The Entropy Law and the Economic Process. His work resonated in the shadow of the upper neck of exponential growth, dependence on fossil fuel, and global warming. The earthly economists continue to put together a story of economic systems, and in particular this economic system and its relationship to Earth. Yet in this exercise it is important to understand that economic systems must be understood expansively and not reduced to mere energy calculations. G-R- also said that “The entropy law is the only natural law that does not predict quantitatively. It does not specify how great the increase should be at a future moment or what particular entropic pattern will result. Because of this fact there is an entropic indeterminateness in the real world which allows… life to acquire an endless spectrum of forms.” And I would add endless forms of economic systems. The agricultural revolution is used here as an example of the emergence of a categorically different economic system that altered the relationship of humans to other humans and to the earth, changing the energetics of human economic order. Focusing on this transition through trans-disciplinary work that includes heterodox economics, evolutionary biology, anthropology and history reveals the complexity of economic systems and helps us to ask the right questions in the present energy transition.


Date and Time
April 4, 2023, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Event tags
UT Energy Symposium