Population Growth Is Not a Threat to Prosperity

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Marian Tupy and David Deutsch’s op-ed “We Will Never Run Out of Resources” (July 21) recalls the work of Julian Simon. The late economist famously bet doomsayer Paul Ehrlich in 1980 that the prices for five metals wouldn’t increase over a decade, even if the world’s population grew. Ten years later, Simon won the wager. Prices for the metals declined sharply.

Simon’s book “The Ultimate Resource” debunked predictions that population growth and resource scarcity would make modern civilization unsustainable. Population growth is a boon, it argued, since people and markets would innovate out of scarcities and environmental problems and improve well-being. The Competitive Enterprise Institute gives an annual Julian L. Simon Award to an individual whose work continues to promote the vision of man as the ultimate resource.

Joel M. Zinberg

Senior fellow, CEI