Markus Stocker bio photo

Markus Stocker

Between information technology and environmental science with a flair for economics, the clarinet, and the world of soups and salads.

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If you dig a hole in your backyard and remove a few feet of soil you hit Earth’s crust. Mine a little rock and you would be surprised to find nearly all naturally occurring elements, including gold, albeit in a very low concentration.

A gold mine is an area with a high concentration of gold, where it is economically useful to mine gold. It is useful, because, with respect to gold, it has a low entropy, gold is concentrated. It is useful, because of nature’s work – applied to perform a nonspontaneous process: turn disorganized into organized matter, i.e. a flow from low to high entropy.

So, nature continuously performs a lot of work to provide resources that we are so greedy for, e.g. oil or the diamond on your wedding ring. Do we thank for? No, which is why I call it unappreciated work. I don’t speak for individuals (some certainly thank for) but perhaps for the collective.

Take the classical circular flow model of the economy. Goods, services, incomes, labor, capital, taxes, firms, households, governments are the concepts of the model. GNP, GDP, GNI are the numbers for the value of all the goods, services and money.

Nature’s unappreciated work. Why? Because our models and acronyms don’t account for its work. In the model, nature is not even a concept.