Economic system represent a type of resources allocation system. In an economic system we have a set of resources, and set of production facilities, which produce a set of goods, used for consumption. Such a system requires energy to run. Actually, the system requires a set of energy producers that make available a supply of usable energies (exergy). People, though demands for goods, then drive the system.
Exergy as a common accountancy unit
The term "exergy" refers to the usable energy for a physical system and follows from the second law of thermodynamics; we cannot full change heat to work. Energy comes in different forms such as potential, chemical, kinetic and electrical energy. Not all forms of energy have the same potential to produce work. We can convert electrical energy completely to work but cannot convert heat energy fully to work.
As any socioeconomic system requires energy to work we can measure how much available energy (as exergy) we have and that will give us a measure of the system's ability to produce.
A socioeconomic system not only needs energy but also materials. We can also use exergy as a measure of materials. This follows from the materials having a chemical potential. In addition, information can also have an exergy value. This follow from the application of statistical mechanics and information theory where we can define a particle as have one bit of information.
As we can use exergy to measure usable energy, materials and information that a socioeconomic system utilises, exergy, therefore, forms a common accountancy unit for any socioeconomic system.
Exergy has an additional property of use for a socioeconomic system; exergy has a relationship to the environment. The greater the difference a system exhibits between itself and the surrounding environment the greater the exergy becomes.
As exergy forms a common accountancy unit and has a relationship to the environment we can use exergy as a control variable for a resource allocation system such as a socioeconomic system.
Overview of an Exergy Based Socioeconomic System
A socioeconomic system based on exergy becomes a resources allocation system where we would have a system that uses state variables to control the system. The system would use exergy to measure the production cost of an item so each item produced would have a cost that reflects the physical cost of that item rather than a subjective monetary value. A society would also have a certain amount of exergy available for the production of each item. The resource allocation problem then becomes one of allocating exergy to production based on the user initiated demand for goods and the maintenance requirements of the system. We could do this through calculating how much exergy we would have available for production and distribute this capacity equally among the user base as "Energy Credits" (EC). The ECs effectively represent production capacity and the users can then allocate EC to production to acquire personal items.