Entropy and the cost of complexity in industrial production

Allan Johansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The building of an industrial society can be viewed as a process of self-organisation with a decrease in entropy in society and a corresponding increase of entropy through dissipation of energy into the environment.
The process is driven by the “degradation” of high quality energy to low-quality heat as energy flows down potential gradients at the same time creating a favourable potential gradient driving the reaction.
The post-industrial society is characterised by an increase in complexity, which can be monitored by the exergy consumption. Here a first attempt is made to relate the complexity of a number of products, as represented by the number of their functional parts, to their actual economic value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-299
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • socioeconomic impacts
  • entropy
  • complexity
  • industrial ecosystem
  • sustainable development


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