Changing Stocks, Flows and Behaviors in Industrial Ecosystems

Changing Stocks, Flows and Behaviors in Industrial Ecosystems

Edited by Matthias Ruth and Brynhildur Davidsdottir

Industrial ecology provides a consistent material and energetic description of human production and consumption processes in the larger context of environmental and socioeconomic change. The contributors to this book offer methodologies for such descriptions, focusing on the dynamics associated with stocks of materials and capital, flows of raw materials, intermediate products, desired outputs and wastes, as well as the associated changes in behaviors of producers, consumers and institutions.

Chapter 3: Stocks and Flows Dynamics: An Introduction

Thomas E. Graedel

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, organisation studies, economics and finance, industrial organisation, environment, environmental management, environmental sociology


3. Stocks and flows dynamics: an introduction Thomas E. Graedel INTRODUCTION Prior to the 20th century, works of art were largely static: classic marble statues from Greece, pastoral French countrysides, and so forth. In the decade of 1900–1910, several young Italians developed what is now termed “Futurism”, art designed to communicate the concept of “universal dynamism”, recognition that motion and change, not stasis, are the constants of the world. The results of their efforts are now the treasures of museums throughout the world, perhaps best exemplified by Giacomo Balla’s Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY) and Umberto Boccioni’s The City Rises (Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY). This volume and the chapters in this part begin to do for industrial ecology what the Futurists did for art: move the field from the valuable, but essentially static, analysis of product design or life-cycle assessment to studies of the universal dynamism that pervades the relationship between technology and the environment. We are moving from regarding products in use as objects of no immediate scholarly interest to understanding them as “transient embodiments of materials and energy”, as Frosch (1995) so aptly states. Dynamism has come to industrial ecology. As has been the case with the Futurists, the approach is likely to be celebrated years hence as a new window to understanding. THE MATERIALS–POLICY SEQUENCE If industrial ecology is dynamic, then its related driving forces and policy constraints are dynamic as well....

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