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Rifkin, Jeremy (2014-04-01). The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism

Conventional economists fail to recognize that the laws of thermodynamics govern all economic activity. The first and second laws of thermodynamics state that “the total energy content of the universe is constant and the total entropy is continually increasing.” 18 The first law, the conservation law, posits that energy can neither be created nor destroyed— that the amount of energy in the universe has remained the same since the beginning of time and will be until the end of time. While the energy remains fixed, it is continually changing form, but only in one direction, from available to unavailable. This is where the second law of thermodynamics comes into play. According to the second law, energy always flows from hot to cold, concentrated to dispersed, ordered to disordered. For example, if a chunk of coal is burned, the sum total of the energy remains constant, but is dispersed into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and other gases. While no energy is lost, the dispersed energy is no longer capable of performing useful work. Physicists refer to the no-longer-useable energy as entropy.