2012 Julian L. Simon Memorial Award Dinner
March 9, 2012
Harvard Club of New York City
We at CEI are proud to announce that the 2012 Julian Simon Memorial Award will be presented to bestselling author Matt Ridley.
Matt Ridley is an international bestselling author whose books have sold more than 850,000 copies and been translated into 30 languages. His most recent book, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction and it won the Hayek Prize, 2011.
Ridley argues that human beings are not only wealthier, but healthier, happier, cleaner, cleverer, kinder, freer, more peaceful and more equal than they have ever been. The availability of almost everything a person could want or need has been going upwards for 10,000 years and has rapidly accelerated over the last 200 years. This, he says, “holds out hope that the human race will prosper mightily in the years ahead— because ideas are having sex with each other as never before.”
Ridley holds a doctorate in zoology from Oxford University, worked for The Economist for eight years, and now writes the weekly column Mind & Matter for The Wall Street Journal, exploring the science of human nature and its implications. You can listen to his presentation at TedGlobal 2010 “When Ideas Have Sex” on TED.com.
Economist Julian Simon (1932-1998) was a pioneering researcher who demolished the Malthusian fears that modern civilization is unsustainable. He demonstrated that humans are living longer, people are better fed and healthier, resources are ever more abundant, and environmental quality is improving.
To honor Simon’s achievements, the Competitive Enterprise Institute established the Julian L. Simon Memorial Award in 2001. The recipient of the prize is an individual whose work continues to promote the vision of Man as the Ultimate Resource.
The trophy is forged in the shape of a leaf. Simon admired nature and kept dried leaves —which die every fall and are renewed every spring—in his personal notes to symbolize his positive view of the power of humanity to prevail.
The veins of the leaf are the metals chromium, copper, nickel, tin, and tungsten— the five metals featured in a famous bet with ecologist Paul Ehrlich. Based on his positive theory about natural resources, Simon bet Ehrlich that the price of the metals would decline over a decade because they would become more abundant. Simon won the bet.
Attendance is by invitation only