Julian Simon–The Ultimate Resource II: People, Materials, and Environment–Videos

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The Ultimate Resource II: People, Materials, and Environment

http://www.juliansimon.org/writings/Ultimate_Resource/

“The world’s problem is not too many people, but lack of
political and economic freedom.  Powerful evidence comes from pairs
of countries that had the same culture and history and much the
same standard of living when they split apart after World War II —
East and West Germany, North and South Korea, Taiwan and China.  In
each case the centrally planned communist country began with less
population “pressure”, as measured by density per square kilometer,
than did the market-directed economy.  And the communist and non-
communist countries also started with much the same birth rates. 
But the market-directed economies performed much better
economically than the centrally-planned economies.  This powerful
demonstration cuts the ground from under population growth as a
likely explanation of poor economic performance. …”

~Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource II: People, Materials, and Environment

http://www.juliansimon.org/writings/Ultimate_Resource/

http://www.juliansimon.org/writings/Ultimate_Resource/TINTRO.txt

The PRC Forum – Julian Simon (1of6)

 

The PRC Forum – Julian Simon (2 of6)

The PRC Forum – Julian Simon (3 of6)

The PRC Forum – Julian Simon (4 of6)

The PRC Forum – Julian Simon (5 of6)

The PRC Forum – Julian Simon (6 of6)

 

Background Articles and Videos

 

 

Julian Simon 

“…Julian Lincoln Simon (February 12, 1932 – February 8, 1998)[1] was a professor of business administration at the University of Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute at the time of his death, after previously serving as a longtime business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[2]

Simon wrote many books and articles, mostly on economic subjects. He is best known for his work on population, natural resources, and immigration. His work covers cornucopian views on lasting economic benefits from natural resources and continuous population growth, even despite limited or finite physical resources, empowered by human ingenuity, substitutes, and technological progress. His works are also cited by libertarians against government regulation.[citation needed] He died at the age of 65 of a heart attack Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Simon’s 1981 book The Ultimate Resource is a criticism of what was then the conventional wisdom on population growth, raw-material scarcity and resource consumption. Simon argues that our notions of increasing resource-scarcity ignore the long-term declines in wage-adjusted raw material prices. Viewed economically, he argues, increasing wealth and technology make more resources available; although supplies may be limited physically they may be viewed as economically indefinite as old resources are recycled and new alternatives are developed by the market. Simon challenged the notion of a pending Malthusian catastrophe—that an increase in population has negative economic consequences; that population is a drain on natural resources; and that we stand at risk of running out of resources through over-consumption. Simon argues that population is the solution to resource scarcities and environmental problems, since people and markets innovate. His ideas were praised by Nobel Laureate economists Friedrich Hayek[3] and Milton Friedman, the latter in a 1998 foreword to The Ultimate Resource II, but they have also attracted critics such as Paul R. Ehrlich and Albert Bartlett.

Simon examined different raw materials, especially metals and their prices in historical times. He assumed that besides temporary shortfalls, in the long run prices for raw materials remain at similar levels or even decrease. E.g. aluminium was never as expensive as before 1886 and steel used for medieval armor carried a much higher price tag in current dollars than any modern parallel. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Lincoln_Simon

Julian Simon

“…Julian Lincoln Simon (February 12, 1932–February 8, 1998) was professor of business administration at the University of Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. He wrote many books and articles, mostly on economic subjects. He is best known for his work on population, natural resources, and immigration. His works are often quoted by libertarians and have sometimes been described as cornucopian.

His book The Ultimate Resource, later reissued as The Ultimate Resource 2, is a massive assault on the conventional wisdom of population growth and resource consumption. In it, Simon challenged the notion of a pending Malthusian catastrophe – that an increase in population has negative economic consequences, that population is a drain on natural resources, and that we stand at risk of running out of resources through over-consumption. His critique was praised by Nobel Laureate economist Friedrich Hayek.

In 1980 Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich entered into a famous wager, betting on a mutually agreed upon metric of resource scarcity. Simon won the bet. He proposed that they renew the bet since Ehrlich continued to claim that the price of metals would rise. Ehrlich refused. Simon proposed that they bet on a metric for human welfare. Ehrlich offered Simon a set of 15 metrics over 10 years, victor to be determined by scientists chosen by the president of the NAS in 2005. There was no meeting of the minds, because Simon felt that too many of the metrics measured attributes of the world not directly related to human welfare, e.g. the amount of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. [1] [2]

Simon was one of the founders of free-market environmentalism. An article profiling Julian Simon in Wired magazine inspired Bjørn Lomborg to write the revisionist environmental book The Skeptical Environmentalist.

Simon was also the first to suggest that airlines should provide rewards for travelers to give up their seats on overbooked airlines rather than arbitrarily keep certain passengers off the plane.

Simon was an omnivorous reader, and took some steps toward writing a memoir. He died at the age of 66. …”

Books

  • The Economic Consequences of Immigration into the United States
  • Effort, Opportunity, and Wealth: Some Economics of the Human Spirit
  • Good Mood: The New Psychology of Overcoming Depression (with Albert Ellis
  • The Hoodwinking of a Nation ISBN 1560004347
  • Scarcity or Abundance? A Debate on the Environment
  • The Philosophy and Practice of Resampling Statistics
  • Resampling: A Better Way to Teach (and Do) Statistics (with Peter C. Bruce)
  • The Science and Art of Thinking Well in Science, Business, the Arts, and Love
  • The Ultimate Resource II ISBN 0691003815
  • Economics of Population: Key Modern Writings ISBN 1852787651
  • It’s Getting Better All the Time : 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years by Stephen Moore, Julian Lincoln Simon ISBN 1882577973 manuscript finished posthumously by Stephen Moore …”

http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Julian_Simon/

Julian Simon Remembered:
It’s A Wonderful Life

by Stephen Moore

“…The weight of the facts that Simon brought to bear against the doomsayers was simply so overpoweringly compelling that I, like so many others, became a Julian Simon fanatic. Julian was the person who brought me to Washington in 1982 to work as his research assistant as he finished his next great book (coedited with the late futurist Herman Kahn of the Hudson Institute) titled The Resourceful Earth: A Response to Global 2000.

So for more than 15 years I was privileged to occupy a front-row seat from which I watched as Simon thoroughly and often single-handedly capsized the prevailing Malthusian orthodoxy. He routed nearly every prominent environmental scaremonger of our time: from the Club of Rome, to Paul Ehrlich, to Lester Brown, to Al Gore. (After reading Earth in the Balance, Julian was convinced that Gore was one of the most dangerous men and one of the shallowest thinkers in all of American politics.)Fig2.gif (3706 bytes)

Simon’s dozens of books and his more than 200 academic articles always brought to bear a vast arsenal of compelling data on and analysis of how life on earth was getting better, not worse. Simon argued that we were not running out of food, water, oil, trees, clean air, or any other natural resource because throughout the course of human history the price of natural resources had been declining. Falling long-term prices are prima facie evidence of greater abundance, not increasing scarcity. He showed that, over time, the environment had been getting cleaner, not dirtier. He showed that the “population bomb” was a result of a massive global reduction in infant mortality rates and a stunning increase in life expectancy. “If we place value on human life,” Simon argued, “then those trends are to be celebrated, not lamented.”

Simon’s central premise was that people are the ultimate resource. “Human beings,” he wrote, “are not just more mouths to feed, but are productive and inventive minds that help find creative solutions to man’s problems, thus leaving us better off over the long run.” As Ben Wattenberg of the American Enterprise Institute explained in his brilliant tribute to Simon in the Wall Street Journal, “Simon’s central point was that natural resources are not finite in any serious way; they are created by the intellect of man, an always renewable resource.” Julian often wondered why most governmental economic and social statistics treat people as if they are liabilities not assets. “Every time a calf is born,” he observed, “the per capita GDP of a nation rises. Every time a human baby is born, the per capita GDP falls.” Go figure!

The two trends that Simon believed best captured the long-term improvement in the human condition over the past 200 years were the increase in life expectancy and the decline in infant mortality (see figures). Those trends, Simon maintained, were the ultimate sign of man’s victory over death.

Today, many of Julian Simon’s views on population and natural resources are so triumphant that they are almost mainstream. No one can rationally look at the evidence today and still claim, for example, that we are running out of food or energy. But those who did not know Julian or of his writings in the 1970s and early 1980s cannot fully appreciate how viciously he was attacked—from both the left and the right. Paul Ehrlich once snarled that Simon’s writings proved that “the one thing the earth will never run out of is imbeciles.” A famous professor at the University of Wisconsin wrote, “Julian Simon could be dismissed as a simpleminded nut case, if his ideas weren’t so dangerous.” …”

http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/cpr-20n2-1.html

The Ultimate Resource II: People, Materials, and Environment

Synopsis

“…Arguing that the ultimate resource is the human imagination coupled to the human spirit, Julian Simon led a vigorous challenge to conventional beliefs about scarcity of energy and natural resources, pollution of the environment, the effects of immigration, and the “perils of overpopulation.” The comprehensive data, careful quantitative research, and economic logic contained in the first edition of The Ultimate Resource questioned widely held professional judgments about the threat of overpopulation, and Simon’s celebrated bet with Paul Ehrlich about resource prices in the 1980s enhanced the public attention–both pro and con–that greeted this controversial book.Now Princeton University Press presents a revised and expanded edition of The Ultimate Resource. The new volume is thoroughly updated and provides a concise theory for the observed trends: Population growth and increased income put pressure on supplies of resources. This increases prices, which provides opportunity and incentive for innovation. Eventually the innovative responses are so successful that prices end up below what they were before the shortages occurred. The book also tackles timely issues such as the supposed rate of species extinction, the “vanishing farmland crisis,” and the wastefulness of coercive recycling.In Simon’s view, the key factor in natural and world economic growth is our capacity for the creation of new ideas and contributions to knowledge. The more people alive who can be trained to help solve the problems that confront us, the faster we can remove obstacles, and the greater the economic inheritance we shall bequeath to our descendants. In conjunction with the size of the educated population,the key constraint on human progress is the nature of the economic-political system: talented people need economic freedom and security to bring their talents to fruition. …”

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Ultimate-Resource-2/Julian-Lincoln-Simon/e/9780691003818

 

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