ENTROPY: A NEW WORLD VIEW by Jeremy with Ted Howard Rifkin


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The Second Law of Thermodynamics has struck Rifkin with a force comparable to that which struck Paul on the road to Damascus, and, like the apostle, he is seized with a fervor to convert. The Second Law says that entropy (or disorder) increases--which is sometimes translated to mean that the universe is running down. For Rifkin this becomes the all-explanatory principle whose corollary is that the more energy expended in creating a little order here, the more disorder (waste/pollution) pops up elsewhere. Western society, we're warned, has been galloping along for 400 years defying Entropy and believing in Newton, Descartes, Adam Smith, and Progress; now we face an entropy crisis--visible, it turns out, in the military sphere, in agribusiness, urbanization, education, health. . . in which the more energy we spend, the less we get. The solution: slow down, tune out, abandon the city, hop on your bicycle, go back to the farm, think solar, redistribute wealth, don't have kids. Think back to those healthy, happy hunter-gatherer days when minds weren't befuddled by a lot of abstractions and mathematics, but people lived the good, gutsy life, free of plagues and neurosis. Look at China with its appropriate technology and no unemployment (no unemployment?). That is the message of this simplistic, overstated, self-righteous tract shouted at you by the same pair who inveighed against molecular biology in Who Should Play God? and plumped for Evangelical Christianity in The Emerging Order.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Viking