This process is an energy feedback loop: Life expends energy in the endless quest for food in order to obtain the energy required to continue the quest. This is pure physics.
For hundreds of millions of years this single dynamic loop comprised the very essence of the economic continuum, and it necessarily remains in force to his very day: a circular energy process that in turn, comprises the very essence of age-old search for "value."
Since the principles of physics remain invariable by their very nature, they therefore also remain the granite foundation of "modern" economic systems. But why is this not recognized nor taught by academia? Perhaps because the history of economic theorizing itself simply began somewhere in the middle, as it were. Men such as Adam Smith --and largely all those that followed-- simply accepted such secondary, foreground concepts as "trade" or "money" as "fundamental" to the essence of modern economics. Ever since that time however, the concept of value has remained as muddled in the minds of men as rootless, metaphysically subjective abstraction that economists today would really rather not talk about at all if they can avoid it. After all, their background is in sociology --not in the concrete principles of the real world.
This is why the function of money remains problematical to this very day and the economy at large is permeated with head-scratching conundrums and other inexplicable market phenomena, because the money system is simply not rooted in reality. Thus once again a storm of global instability and economic decline is looming on the horizon, but no one is at the helm to guide us through--because the principles of modern monetary systems have never been fully integrated with the far more fundamental energy principles of the underlying process.
Yes, the world is increasingly aware that energy is an issue. However, until the world also realizes that energy is not only not just another product or service among a host of products and services --but comprises the essence of the value of every product and service-- then everyone will forever miss the point, and no one realize the importance in understanding that every economic system is itself an energy generating technology.