Economics and Thermodynamics: von Neumann’s Problematic Conjecture

  • Paul A. Samuelson


Of the attempts to find analogies between thermodynamics and economies there is alas no end. But the mathematical genius John von Neumann has earned the right to command our investigation when he suggests that his growth model (1945; earlier 1932 and 1937) defines a function Value of Inputst/Value of Outputst+1
$$ = \sum\limits_i^n {\sum\limits_j^m {{P_i}} } {A_{ij}}{X_j}/\sum\limits_i^n {\sum\limits_j^m {{P_i}} } {B_{ij}}{X_j}$$
$$ = \phi \left( {P,X} \right)$$
whose “role seems to be similar to that of thermodynamic potentials in phenomenological thermodynamics.” (1945, p.1)


Classical Thermodynamic Indicator Diagram Full Duality Conjugate Vector Concave Programming 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul A. Samuelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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