Works by Julian Lincoln Simon: The Ultimate Resource 2, The Ultimate Resource, The State of Humanity, How to Start and Operate a Mail-Order Business, Good Mood, Basic research methods in social science; the art of empirical…, Hoodwinking the Nation, The Resourceful Earth: A Response to Global 2000, The Economic Consequences of Immigration, Population Matters: People, Resources, Environment, and Immigration
A great independent mind, American scholar JulianSimon, age 65, died unexpectedly on February 8, 1998. ”Fortunately for this planet,” Mr. Simon said in response to the Global 2000 Report, ”these gloomy assertions about resources and environment are baseless.” Mr. Simon’s sunny view of the future became the basis for a highly publicized bet in 1980 with Paul R. Ehrlich, the Stanford University ecologist whose 1968 book, ”The Population Bomb,” predicted that one-fifth of humanity would starve to death by 1985. Mr. Ehrlich and two colleagues from the University of California at Berkeley were piqued by an article Mr. Simon wrote for Science magazine titled ”Resources, Population, Environment: An Oversupply of False Bad News.” They responded to a challenge by Mr. Simon to Malthusians that the price of any natural resource would be lower by a mutually agreed-upon date, not higher. Mr. Ehrlich and his colleagues took the bet on the belief that rising demand for raw materials by an exploding global populace would pare supplies of nonrenewable resources, driving up prices. Mr. Ehrlich said he had accepted Mr. Simon’s ”astonishing offer before other greedy people jump in.” The Ehrlich group bet $1,000 on five metals — chrome, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten — in quantities that each cost $200 in October 1980, when the bet was made. Mr. Simon agreed that he would sell the agreed-upon quantities of the metals to the Ehrlich group 10 years later at 1980 prices. If the combined prices of acquiring the metals in 1990 turned out to be higher than $1,000, Mr. Simon would pay the difference in cash. If prices fell, the Ehrlich group would pay him. During the decade, the world’s population grew by more than 800 million, the greatest increase in history, and the store of metals did not get any larger. Yet in the fall of 1990, with the prices of the metals down sharply, Mr. Ehrlich mailed Mr. Simon a check for $576.07. Mr. Simon wrote back a thank you note, along with a challenge to raise the wager to as much as $20,000, tied to any other resources and to any other year in the future. Mr. Ehrlich declined to take him up on the new offer. The entire article.
13.01.2012 [Telegraph.co.uk (blog)] - The classic example is Paul Ehrlich who lost a famous bet on "scarce resources" with the late economist JulianSimon (aka the "Doomslayer" because he was so good at confounding environmentalists' hysterical scaremongering using actual scientific data