"In every instance considered, natural selection will so operate as to increase the total flux through the system, so long as there is presented an unutilized residue of matter and available energy" (1922, p.148).
It is noteworthy that LOTKA himself seemingly never used the expression "Maximization Principle", which allows for dubious interpretations. (see below: "Maximum power principle").
In any environment, there is always room for a species able to utilize some free energy. The very important consequence – in particular for the human species – has been thus described by LOTKA, in 1924: "Such a species will therefore, other things being equal, tend to grow in extent (numbers) and this growth will further increase the flux of energy through the system" (1956, p.357).
This is exactly what happened with our species, particularly since we learned to use fossil energy. Combined with structuration through dissipation as explained by PRIGOGINE, the Principle could be considered as the prime mover of all of human history.
In 1945, LOTKA added a caveat that nobody seriously heeded, even if it could very well be the key to the future history of mankind: "The principle contains a reservation: a maximum compatible with the constraints" (1945, p.192).
In an environment globally exploited, the decisive constraint could be the massive accumulation of non-recycled waste, particularly thermal waste.
We are unaware of Gaia's constraints or choose to ignore them. This could have portentous consequences.
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To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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