Maximum power principle

In hmolscience, maximum power principle, aka "Lotka principle" (Adams, 1988), refers to a number of varieties of conjectured "energy flux" principles related to "natural selection" of evolution, generally alluding to the proposition that systems which flux the most energy through them survive the best according to natural selection.

Overview
In 1922, Alfred Lotka, in his “Contributions to the Energetics of Evolution”, was referring to a “principle of maximum energy flux”, described as follows: [3]

“In every instance considered, natural selection will so operate as to increase the total mass of the organic system, to increase the rate of circulation of matter through the system, and to increase the total energy flux through the system, so long as there is presented an un-utilized residue of matter and available energy. This may be expressed by saying that natural selection tends to make the energy flux through the system a maximum, so far as compatible with the constraints to which the system is subject. It is not lawful to infer immediately that evolution tends thus to make this energy flux a maximum. For in evolution two kinds of influences are at work: selecting influences, and generating influences.”

In 1976, Leigh van Valen, in his “Energy and Evolution”, was referring to Lotka’s principle as a “third law of thermodynamics”. [4]

In 1976, Howard T. Odum, together with Elisabeth Odum, in their Energy Basis for Man and Nature (pg. 39), via blurry citation to the ideas of Alfred Lotka (c.1924), defined his so-called “maximum power principle”, stylized by him as the third law of energetics, in a confused or grasping way, as follows: [1]

Systems that survive are those which get the most energy and use energy most effectively in completion with other systems.”
— Howard Odum (1976), Energy Basis for Man and Nature (pg. 39)

“Systems which use energy best survive.”
— Howard Odum (1976), Energy Basis for Man and Nature (pg. 39); paraphrase by Richard Adams (1988) in The Eighth Day (pg. 38)

“Those systems that survive in the competition among alternative choices are those that develop more power inflow and use it best to meet the needs of survival.”
— Howard Odum (1976), Energy Basis for Man and Nature (pg. 40); cited by Richard Adams (1988) in The Eighth Day (pg. 38)

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Commentary
In 1988, Richard Adams, in his The Eight Day, in commentary on Odum’s presumed Lotka-based “maximum power principle”, commented the following: [2]

“There is little in the literature of society, at least, that suggests that those who ‘develop more power inflow’ are necessarily also those who ‘use it best to meet the needs of survival’. Indeed, the minimum principle argues that survival often may be achieved by the verse process.”

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See also
Prigogine-Wiame theory | Minimum entropy production principle

References
1. Odum, Howard, T. and Elisabeth, Odum, C. (1976). Energy Basis for Man and Nature. McGraw-Hill Book Company.
2. Adams, Richard N. (1988). The Eighth Day: Social Evolution as the Self-Organization of Energy (pg. 38). University of Texas Press.
3. Lotka, Alfred J. (1922). “Contribution to the +Energetics of Evolution” (pdf). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 8:147–51.
4. (a) Valen, Leigh van. (1976). “Energy and Evolution”, Evolutionary Theory, 1:7:179-229.
(b) Adams, Richard N. (1988). The Eighth Day: Social Evolution as the Self-Organization of Energy (pg. 39). University of Texas Press.

External links
Maxum power principle – Wikipedia.
Maximum power principle – EcologyCenter.us.

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