In economic thermodynamics, a working medium refers to a state of excited people or human molecules functioning as a thermodynamic system in an economic cycle. [1]

The term was conceived by Russian bioelectrochemist Octavian Ksenzhek in 2007 on terminological analogy to French physicist Sadi Carnot's 1823 "working substance" and German physicist Rudolf Clausius' 1850 "working body".

In relation to the concept of the human molecule, in the 2007 book Money: Virtual Energy, Ksenzhek correctly states that: "the economy of mankind is a very large and extremely complicated system ... people are the 'molecules' of which it consists", and that "various associations of people constitute its structural components." [1]

On this logic, Ksenzhek then outlines the view of what he calls a “working medium”. Specifically, he gives a very basic neurochemical human thermodynamic view in which endorphins, i.e. the body’s natural pain killer and mental high chemical, in low concentrations exert a strong influence on the processes of the nervous system, particularly in the pleasure center. Thus, he concludes that endorphins play a key role in the hidden processes of basic human motivations and that in the economic system, humans act as “active agents” coupling technology and “virtual energy flows”. [1]

Subsequently, according to Ksenzhek, the modern economy exploits the various endorphin channels with every-increasing intensity, via advertising, commercials, the image in the mind of becoming sexier with a certain product, e.g. a new car, or new technology. In this manner, “a whole arsenal of various means is set into action to inspire people to incessantly wish for something. Such a state of people is necessary for their efficient functioning as the “working medium” of the economic cycle. In order to keep people excited, powerful advertising is used. As a rule, it appeals to the subconscious rather than reason." [1]

1. Ksenzhek, Octavian S. (2007). Money: Virtual Energy: Economy Through the Prism of Thermodynamics (pgs. 162, 170). Universal Publishers.

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