A Tribute to Julian Simon

by Don Boudreaux on February 13, 2008

in The Economy

Were he still alive, Julian Simon would have turned 76 yesterday.  Unfortunately, he died in 1998 just four days shy of his 66th birthday.  Here’s a tribute that I wrote to Julian, published in today’s edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.  And here are some core paragraphs:

Simon’s most important contribution was to crystallize and explain an
insight that even the best economists before him only glimpsed –
namely, that human beings in free societies are "the ultimate
resource." Nothing — not oil, not land, not gold, not microchips,
nothing — is as valuable to the material well-being of people as is
human creativity and effort.

Indeed, there are no resources without human creativity
to figure out how to use them and human effort actually to do so.
Recognizing the truth of this insight renders silly the familiar term
"natural resources."

No resources are "natural."

Take petroleum. What makes it a "resource"? It’s certainly not a
resource naturally. If it were, American Indians would long ago have
put it to good use. But they didn’t. I suspect that for Pennsylvania’s
native population in, say, the year 1300, the dark, thick, smelly stuff
that bubbled up in watering holes was regarded as a nuisance.

Petroleum didn’t become a resource until human beings creatively
figured out how to use it to satisfy some human desires and other human
beings figured out how to extract it cost-effectively from the ground.

Or take land. For at least 80 percent of Homo sapiens’ time on
earth, land was merely something to trod and hunt upon. Land had no
special value as a resource until about 10,000 years ago when someone
figured out how to cultivate soil and to plant, tend and harvest crops.
Only then did land achieve the kind of status and value that we
associate with a resource.

The same, of course, is true for magnesium, iron ore, bauxite,
feldspar, trees, New York harbor — you name the "natural resource" and
you’ll realize that it is a resource only because human beings
creatively determined how to use it productively.

An important implication of this realization that humans are
"the ultimate resource" is that high and growing population — in
societies with sufficient freedom to allow individuals to experiment
and create — is desirable. If human creativity and effort are not only
resources, but also the ultimate resource, surely it’s foolish to lament large and growing supplies of it.

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Ian February 13, 2008 at 8:06 am

Not to put Julian Simon down at all, but Carl Menger had clarified the issue in his Principles in the first chapter when he discussed the Theory of the Good.
A congratulations to Julian Simon for his strong work towards emphasizing man as the 'ultimate resource though'.

scott clark February 13, 2008 at 9:30 am

Work conquers all.

jorod February 13, 2008 at 10:04 am

Unfortunately, the only place you hear of Simon is in blogs like this one. He is virtually ignored by mainstream media. His work would explode most myths underlying popular economic policies.

John Dewey February 13, 2008 at 10:04 am

What an amazing insight! It seems so obvious that I want to say I've heard it expressed this way before. But I don't think I have.

Thank you, Don … and thank you, Julian Simon.

muirgeo February 13, 2008 at 10:05 am

"If human creativity and effort are not only resources, but also the ultimate resource, surely it's foolish to lament large and growing supplies of it."

First, it never seems that way as I'm increasingly stuck in traffic for longer times.

Second, at some point one can calculate a time in the not to distant future at current rate of growth were we have one person per square meter. At some point this fallacy of needing more and more people breaks down.

Third, the renaissance occurred AFTER the plague and a massive reduction of the human population. This fact directly contradicts the need for more, morE, moRE, mORE, MORE….

Oh and forth, the rate of human population growth has slowed but progress has not. Well at least technological progress has not. The "bottom billion" might argue about growth and progress in general.

Python February 13, 2008 at 10:59 am

"First, it never seems that way as I'm increasingly stuck in traffic for longer times."

Please show data that proves your travel to work time is longer than in the past.

"Second, at some point one can calculate a time in the not to distant future at current rate of growth were we have one person per square meter. At some point this fallacy of needing more and more people breaks down."

I guess like your idea of population growth, your stupidity knows no bounds. Just the United States is 9.6 million square km. That is equivalent to 9.6 trillion square meters. Are you suggesting that we are close to having more than 9 trillion people on the planet "in the not to (sic) distant future"? And that is just for area in the US.

The renaissance did occur after the plague. So what!!!! There were more people during the renaissance than at any point before 1000. What is your point? The key is that the people need to be free to act on their own judgment. During the renaissance there were probably more "free" people than at any point before it.

"Oh and forth (sic)", whoever said anything about rates of progress based on rates of human reproduction? Don't focus on people, focus on free people. And anyway, I thought you have been saying all along that progress was slowing since the 1970s. Which is it?

The other Eric February 13, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Muirgeo, did you even read the post? It's not more humans– it's more human creativity and effort. Good grief.

Don, is there a short list of books/articles I can read about productivity measures that would complement Simon's The Ultimate Resource?

Dave Tufte February 13, 2008 at 12:58 pm

FYI: The museum at the La Brea Tar Pits in L.A. shows ceramics that pre-Columbian native Americans repaired with the black goo that bubbled to the surface.

Your point is nonetheless well-taken. It just needs to be more inclusive, like Romer's iron oxide story.

FreedomLover February 13, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Muirgeo, Sam Grove and Martin Brock are paid trolls by the DNC. That much is obvious by now.

Sam Grove February 13, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Eric,

I'm hoping for the day when you challenge my expectation by making a thoughtful, productive post.

Sam Grove February 13, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Here's one for Julian Simon, a self converted former 'liberal'.

muirgeo February 13, 2008 at 3:32 pm

" Just the United States is 9.6 million square km. That is equivalent to 9.6 trillion square meters. Are you suggesting that we are close to having more than 9 trillion people on the planet "in the not to (sic) distant future"? And that is just for area in the US."

python

You did't complete the math. We had 150,000,000 people 50 years ago. Now we have doubled to 300,000,000. If the same growth rate occured for 750 years it is a mathematical fact that yes we would have not 9.6 trillion but 10 trillion people in the United States. That's 1 per square meter.

The idea that we have to have an ever increasing population to improve our lives is hogwash. It's based on the silly notion that an ever increasing worker population will supply an infinite number of workers to help keep cost down. It is a stupid ignorant idea. It's what drives the massive inequality we see. And it's just what controling people on the top want to actually further their power, wealth and control. And for some reason many otherwise intelligent people actually believe such a narrow mind view of the world because all they can think about is the economy in isolation with out considering the ultimate implications of their ideologicial beliefs.

When the population crashed after the plague the serfs were in short demand. Gates were crashed and the elitist got sacked and the renassaince blossomed and the average quality of life for lots of would be serfs rose remarkably while aristocrats had to suck it up as the idea of hereditary priviledge came to be questioned.

Avatar300 February 13, 2008 at 4:17 pm

"If the same growth rate occured for 750 years it is a mathematical fact that yes we would have not 9.6 trillion but 10 trillion people in the United States. That's 1 per square meter."

In 750 years we will either be living on other planets, exist in physical form only as a complex computer simulation, or have evolved into energy beings with no concept of space/time.

In any case, it won't matter how many of us there are even if current population increases stayed the same for 750 years. Which they won't.

FreedomLover February 13, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Avatar:

That's some pretty heady stuff. Although I don't think the evolution to pure energy beings is even close to happening in 750 years. Based on the Star Trek episode which covered this, I'm thinking a few million years.

Python February 13, 2008 at 5:21 pm

"You did't complete the math. We had 150,000,000 people 50 years ago. Now we have doubled to 300,000,000. If the same growth rate occured for 750 years it is a mathematical fact that yes we would have not 9.6 trillion but 10 trillion people in the United States. That's 1 per square meter."

Muirgeo's strawmen are reproducing at a rate of 30% each post. In 50 years, the Internet will be so full of his strawmen that there will be 47 weak arguments in each sentence.

Here is my quote from a recent state filing: "An example is when statisticians predict the Earth's future population. Although previous years have shown exponential population growth, there are obvious reasons why this growth can not continue for an unlimited time period."

Apparently, the reasons are not obvious to everyone.

Sam Grove February 13, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Free humans do not act like animals. The discovery of trade and technology has enabled us to create sufficient wealth that the old motivation to 'have as many children as possible' has given way to 'hey we don't have to work so hard, we don't have to have some many kids, we've got survival taken care of'.

As has been observed when people attain a certain level of wealth, there is a reduction in the birth rate.

So much for muirgeo's Malthusian strawman.

muirgeo February 13, 2008 at 6:23 pm

"….there are obvious reasons why this growth can not continue for an unlimited time period."

Posted by: Python

And these obvious reasons are the same reason Mr Simon's idea that, paraphrasing from Prof. Boudreaux, ".. that high and growing population — in societies with sufficient freedom to allow individuals to experiment and create — is desirable." are in fact ultimatly undesirable.

And for people who claim to be liberal thinkers the idea that your pesonal freedoms will not suffer with ever expanding population growth is just something that leaves me scratching my head. All the over regulation, rule making and imposing laws they complain of so much are a result of more and more people trying to share the same limited space.

More population growth? Plan on more and more rules.

muirgeo February 13, 2008 at 6:30 pm

As has been observed when people attain a certain level of wealth, there is a reduction in the birth rate.

Posted by: Sam Grove

I agree exactly. Thus the reason its a crime that 1% of the worlds population owns 50% of its wealth. Sam people, billions of them aren't attaining that level of wealth that you mention. That's the problem. They are being exploited by those who benifit from their ever growing ranks and cheap labor to allow further and further degrees of wealth concentration.

http://www.condohotelcenter.com/images/world-population.jpg

vidyohs February 13, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Oh the reality goes in here and the distortion comes out there! Wasn't there a jive song that incorporated lyrics somewhat similar to that?

muirduck, you idiot,
Please point to exactly where in Don's post he said, or even implied, that more and more people were needed. How could Don have created a fallacy about need when he didn't even address the subject of need.

This is your typical distortion of reality through the socialist prism, but as is indicated repeatedly in subsequent posts, your idiocy is known.

"First, it never seems that way as I'm increasingly stuck in traffic for longer times.//WTF does this have to do with anything Don said? If this is a socialist attempt at humor no wonder Air America died in record time in spite of raping kiddie funds to stay on the air.//

Second, at some point one can calculate a time in the not to distant future at current rate of growth were(SIC SIC SIC) we have one person per square meter. At some point this fallacy of needing more and more people breaks down.//See above//

Third, the renaissance occurred AFTER the plague (which plague, there was more than one) and a massive reduction of the human population. This fact directly contradicts the need for more, morE, moRE, mORE, MORE….//Again, WTF does this have to do with anything in the original post? Absolutely nothing in Don's post equated human creativity to numbers of humans. God, can't you read? Just another of your "strawmen'.//

Oh and forth(forth? To where?), the rate of human population growth has slowed but progress has not. Well at least technological progress has not. The "bottom billion" might argue about growth and progress in general.//Nothing in Don's post related an increase in progress to an increase in population. For God's sake, and our's as well, take a course in remedial English from basic reading to basic composition.//
Posted by: muirgeo | Feb 13, 2008 10:05:45 AM

Sam asked me why I do it to you collectivists. The short answer is that I am a heartless capitalist and you are a stupid socialist and an easy target; and, that equates to amusement for me, which is self rewarding.
Not an admission, you understand, just a declaration.

steep February 13, 2008 at 7:13 pm

I have been wanting to read "The Ultimate Resource" for a long time. Reading the html version online has just been too difficult (also, there are no figures). Don's post has inspired me to go order it and I found out that CATO has it on special for $8.75.
Thanks for your continuing inspiration
Dr. Boudreaux.

vidyohs February 13, 2008 at 7:13 pm

Dr. Boudreaux,

You suppose Mr. Simon's theory might be just a tad homocentric?

I would think that life of varying lesser intelligences lived on Earth much longer than humans, and certainly lush forests, grasslands, and clear clean streams were a 'resource' to all those critters that came before us.

True those critters did not alter nature in anyway (that we know of) to obtain their access to natural resources but natural they were and resources undeniably.

Sam Grove February 13, 2008 at 7:19 pm

That's the problem. They are being exploited by those who benifit from their ever growing ranks and cheap labor to allow further and further degrees of wealth concentration.

The problem for them is, as always, political control of wealth and resources.
This is one of the fatal flaws in socialism.

brotio February 13, 2008 at 7:27 pm

"… at some point one can calculate a time in the not to distant future at current rate of growth were we have one person per square meter."

"If the same growth rate occured for 750 years it is a mathematical fact that yes we
would have not 9.6 trillion but 10 trillion people in the United States. That's 1 per square meter." – both by Murthaduck ("the children they've killed in cold blood").

The idea that (in terms of human activity) that 750 years is "the not too distant future" is among the most ridiculous things Murthaduck has ever said – and that's an accomplishment!

I wonder how many educated men in 1258 said that, "In the not too distant future, man will develop machines that make the horse, the ox, and the elephant largely irrelevant to agriculture, warfare, or even personal transportation. Furthermore, man will build machines that allow them to fly through the air, and even leave this world and land on the moon, and man will send spaceships beyond the solar system. And even more astonishingly, man will develop machines that will allow instant communication with other men anywhere in the world!"

With the invention of the telephone looming in 1876, 1858 would qualify as a starting point for "not too distant future" regarding the items I listed. That's 150 years, Murthaduck, and I doubt many people would go beyond 150 years as "not too distant" in either direction.

Sam Grove February 13, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Is anyone here concerned about the singularity?

Henri Hein February 13, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Simon's work is indispensable. His books "Hoodwinking the Nation" and "It's Getting Better All the Time" (with Stephen Moore) are more accesible than "The Ultimate Resource 2." The latter is great as a reference, but I haven't had the time to read it cover to cover yet. "State of Humanity" is in the same category, and is great if one wishes to be able to quote others than Simon on similar works.

My compatriot, Bjorn Lomborg, has also done good work in the same tradition. He originally set out to disprove Simon. When he found he couldn't, he reexamined his premises and wrote "The Sceptical Environmentalist." The academic fallout, in terms of the criticisms against Lomborg, was both sad and telling.

http://www.lomborg.com/

From his FAQ:
"It all started in 1997, when Bjorn Lomborg read a Wired Magazine interview with economist Julian Simon claiming that the environment – contrary to common understanding – was getting better, not worse. Lomborg thought this had to be incorrect ("right wing, American propaganda"). Looking for new ways to get his students involved, in the fall of 1997 he organized a study group with some of his top students to prove Simon wrong. Much to everyone's surprise, much (though definitely not everything) of what Simon said was right. "

vidyohs February 13, 2008 at 8:19 pm

BTW Sam,

Another unsolicited short answer.

I might point out that I have spoken truth and reason to muirduck in my own way.

You have spoken truth and reason to muirduck in your own way.

Others, many others, have done the same.

With that in mind, please tell me, sir, exactly what iota of difference has it, any of it, made in muriduck's expressions on this blog? Has he/she/it given any indication he/she/it has learned a single thing, or altered his/her/it's stance in any way?

Gentle or rough treatment by his/her/its detractors has made zero difference to his/her/its dedication to his socialist evangelical calling nor to his/her/its proseltylizing of the socialist scripture. Which all equate to a constant stream of written stupidity, historically proven stupidity. Which you well know.

So, I get all over him/her/it like nasty on a fool and you lecture him/her/it gently; he/she/it will as I have said repeatedly about socialist in general (a) his/her/its brain get knocked into gear and he/she/it become intelligent, or (b) you take him/her/it down in the back pasture and put a slug between his/her/its eyes like an egg sucking dog.

If (a) doesn't happen, the only peace any people will ever have is to exercise (b).

In spite of what I said to muirduck, am I really a heartless capitalist? Yes, I am, heartless in his/her/its view because I know and express the knowledge that letting an animal suck the teat beyond normal weaning time is detrimental to its development. I also know and express the knowledge that it is a sorryass critter that is grown and still sucking on a teat. The critter is screwed up and so is its momma.

This is knowledge impossible for muirduck to assimulate, much less understand and believe.

I thought you understood that the battleground is real and none of this is meaningless play or sparring. The socialist plan of attack against normal humans is very fluid in choice of battlegrounds, and consists of a nonending pressure of attack attack attack. There is no reasoning and there is no compromise. Collectivism is evil and capitalism is good; what could evil give up in a compromise that good could want and what possible gain could good obtain in giving up anything to evil? In any so-called compromise between good and evil…..evil remains.

My view, straightforward, unadulturated, black and white, and devout.

Thank you very much.

Sam Grove February 13, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Then you must expose the evil in every particular, so that others may see it. Ad hominem does not enlighten other parties.

IOW, if there's a war, then you want as many on your side as possible. Why is collectivism evil? Not because murigeo is an idiot, but because it destroys the foundations of civilization. But collectivists focus on the short term, 'screw our grandchildren'.

Sam Grove February 13, 2008 at 9:37 pm

And I make a slight correction: collectivism is evil, freedom is good.

Ken February 13, 2008 at 9:47 pm

"Thus the reason its a crime that 1% of the worlds population owns 50% of its wealth. Sam people, billions of them aren't attaining that level of wealth that you mention. That's the problem. They are being exploited by those who benifit from their ever growing ranks and cheap labor to allow further and further degrees of wealth concentration."
-muirgeo

Really? You've failed to mention that that 1% of the population created the wealth htey have. The idea that the bottom billion (or whatever number you decide to put here) are being exploited is absurd. Check the trade statistics. Almost all trade the occurs in rich nations occur with… other rich nations. Meaning that rich people have the institutions and know how to create wealth. Another shocker: poor nations don't, so they remain poor. You're forgetting that poverty is the natural state of humanity. It takes acts of creativity and productivity to not be poor.

Also, on your comment on a population of 1 person/square meter: that would be fine. Have you ever heard of a sky scraper? Manhattan all ready has a population density of .25 people/square meter. I bet a population of trillions world wide would be just fine because free people will always find ways to improve things. And only free people could attain a population of a trillion.

"You suppose Mr. Simon's theory might be just a tad homocentric?"
-vidyohs

Yes. I think humans' well being outweighs the well being of all other species. If other species are harmed or go extinct because we make our lives better, that's too bad. I think it's wrong to do such harm simply to do harm, but the advancement of humanity is worth it.

-Ken

vidyohs February 13, 2008 at 9:53 pm

I don't believe I said that collectivism is evil because muirduck is an idiot, didn't even imply it, sir. However, the opposite is true, muirduck is an idiot because he IS a believer and proselytizer of the socialist scriptures. Keep it straight Sam, I am honest and say what I say and stick by it. Please don't you start twisting things and answering things never said.

I would think that I do not have to beat the horse again with all of my reasons for hating collectivists, reasons I have expressed over and over….and maybe over once again.

muirduck is just this blog's most prominent manifestation of the idiocy, so as I do spend some idle time here I use some of that idle time to point out his particular idiocy.

As to caring whether muirduck and his ilk might ever come over to the good side, lord lord I would think I have made my opinion on that likelyhood very clear and that is that it is nonexistent in my opinion. So why not 'ad' all over his 'hominem' it isn't going to make any difference in the end game, and it is fun to see a leftie squirm as he is skewered. I am just country rough enough to enjoy it. Thank you very much.

His idiocy is so amusing and provoking that even a measured gentle soul such as yourself can't resist puncturing him.

The fatal mistake with capitalists is in thinking that at some point even the most ardent teat sucker will wean himself, and the historical evidence is that it is extremely rare that that happens. Most are teat suckers for life and will kill for their place at the teat. See the history of the Soviet Union, see the history of the 20th century Democrat party in America.

Why is that true, Sam? It is because there is comfort in numbers. A teat sucker surrounds himself with like teat suckers and then he has to feel no shame or embarassment. He just shrugs his shoulders and says, "well everyone else is doing it."

Why am I having to remind you of this, Sam?

Sam Grove February 13, 2008 at 10:32 pm

I don't believe I said that collectivism is evil because muirduck is an idiot, didn't even imply it, sir.

I did not intend to imply that, what I mean is that the ad hominem is superfluous.

FreedomLover February 13, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Collectivism is evil because Sam Grove and Martin Brock support it. They are poo-poo heads and that's all.

Sam Grove February 13, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Dondero, are you regressing? That was really lame, even for you.

Sam Grove February 13, 2008 at 11:23 pm

As to caring whether muirduck and his ilk might ever come over to the good side

I wasn't thinking of them, but of any sincerely inquisitive person who might happen by.

Collectivists go by their feelings which implies that that prefer to operate as merely clever animals. There is no intellectual key to those who feel that intentions are sufficient.

Python February 14, 2008 at 12:31 am

Collectivists can come around to the light. But anyone who ever thought that a "government" should be allowed to manage their own personal freedoms has a lot of work in front of them.

Most collectivists/socialist/communists that I met in my 18 years in academia were much more elegant than Muirgeo. They would concentrate their arguments around the perceived "negatives" of capitalism such as human rights, environment, landed gentry, etc. This way they can paint free markets as evil or burdensome on the working classes. When confronted with the ills that socialism has perpetuated they kept on their own talking points.

However, Muirgeo is bold enough to argue against the things that capitalism is clearly better at – spreading economic prosperity, enabling a truer form of liberty, etc. It's really amazing that he has the ability to type and form understandable sentences but doesn't grasp the simplest of logical concepts.

To be sure, many very smart people are socialists. Muirgeo is obviously not one of them. His willingness to overlook (misunderstand) information when it suits him is awesome.

To even insinuate that the planet will soon have over 200 trillion people is mind-boggling.

muirgeo February 14, 2008 at 12:56 am

"I know and express the knowledge that letting an animal suck the teat beyond normal weaning time is detrimental to its development."

Said the guy who gets a government pension too the guy who doesn't. Speaking of arrested development.

muirgeo February 14, 2008 at 1:02 am

And I make a slight correction: collectivism is evil, freedom is good.

Posted by: Sam Grove

Except you can't have freedom without some degree of collectivism unless you live alone on a desert island.

Sam Grove February 14, 2008 at 1:27 am

Ok, definition. Collectivism, forced participation in a politically managed economic system such as socialism.

So I reject your condition. I have no problem with spontaneous, voluntary collectivism.

I enjoy and participate the spontaneous social and commercial organization that occurs in a free society.

I live in a small commune myself.

brotio February 14, 2008 at 2:14 am

Murthaduck's jealousy of those who earn a pension for serving twenty-plus years in the Armed Forces of the U.S. says a lot about Murthaduck as a person.

Gil February 14, 2008 at 2:35 am

Who said more people means more growth? Well J.S. did: "If human creativity and effort are not only resources, but also the ultimate resource, surely it's foolish to lament large and growing supplies of it."

Perhaps the correct wording should have went "true growth can only come from creative people and societies that value creativity" or "fairly poor static societies are caused when people aren't very creative and society doesn't reward creativity"? Perhaps a dilemma for the future is "are societies embracing growth and creativity?" and if the answer is "well no, not really" such that creative people aren't finding rewards for their efforts and have little incentive to have children let alone teach them the skills to be creative? Is this a dilemma shared by the low birthrates in the West whilst open immigration is bringing people from countries who may be hardworking but not necessarily creative? Then again I'm sure there are plenty of powermongers who quite like the prospect of the decline of modern societies of emerging mediocre Malthusian-based socities whereby they become the big fish in a small pond.

P.S. It seems some anarcho-Libbers are flirting with the concept of going back to a simpler, gentler (a.k.a. low-tech) society with the idea it'd probably be more free.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/knaebel/knaebel12.html

Madhu February 14, 2008 at 9:12 am

Thanks for the post Don. Simon's perspective gives hope to people like me living in overpupulated countries like India. Would be interesting to know if Simon has exploded the concept further and produced a fully-rounded economic theory with multiple touch points.

Cheers

vidyohs February 14, 2008 at 9:20 am

"Who said more people means more growth? Well J.S. did: "If human creativity and effort are not only resources, but also the ultimate resource, surely it's foolish to lament large and growing supplies of it."
Posted by: Gil | Feb 14, 2008 2:35:50 AM"

Actually Gil, here is where the ability to read comes in handy. If you go back up to Don's post and reread it carefully (for you this seems to be necessary) you will see what you pulled out and creditied to J.S., was actually Don commenting on Julian Simon's concepts or theories.

A clue to understanding this is something they teach at grade school levels here in the USA, that is quotation marks. A skilled and knowledgable writer such as Don is not going to quote Julian without indicating he is quoting through the use of those marks.

Furthermore there is no need to rewrite what Don said, it was clear and succinct to people who can read and have normal reading comprehension. Your attempt at rewriting it simply made it into a mishmash of gobble-de-gook.

That comment does not say anything about 'need' for larger numbers of people for creativity to happen, nor anything about increasing numbers of humans 'necessary' for creativity to happen.

What it does do is address the "potential" for an increase in creativity brought by an increase in the "ultimate resource", that being humans. Larger numbers of humans means a greater potential, no more, no less. And then Don closes by saying that it is foolish (stupid) to complain about that.

Gil, don't let your fingers go into operation before putting brain in gear.

Don and Russ are both good at thinking and reasoning; both are also skilled at writing in expressing those thoughts. They are superior to you and I certainly in writing and in education. I would suggest that before leaping out to contest what they write you would at least attempt to read it and understand it. (Catch that word "understand", Gil?)

vidyohs February 14, 2008 at 9:26 am

Brotio,

Thanks, but muirduck's distortion of reality is well known, and his understanding of simple contracts being zero is also well known. He gets no traction from his lies about that , no more than he does about any of his other stupidities.

He also forgets he is posting those lies to a group of people who are educated and trained far better at reasoning than he is.

He also knows he is lying, so, no big deal. Let him continue to shoot himself in the foot.

Again thanks.

vidyohs February 14, 2008 at 10:29 am

Good morning Sam,

At last a good honest exchange with someone. I read this:

"As to caring whether muirduck and his ilk might ever come over to the good side

I wasn't thinking of them, but of any sincerely inquisitive person who might happen by.

Collectivists go by their feelings which implies that that prefer to operate as merely clever animals. There is no intellectual key to those who feel that intentions are sufficient.

Posted by: Sam Grove | Feb 13, 2008 11:23:44 PM"

and, it fit what I had assumed your point was. I can respect the point as valid and might actually be a better course of action than mine. However, obviously I have an alternate method and have what I believe are valid reasons for them.

Consider that not all village idiots are dirty, ill-kept, and in an obvious stupor. Some have mommas who feed them, clean them up, dress them nice, and send them out into the community to get them out of their hair for the day so they can get something done besides answer stupid questions.

Imagine your inquisitive stranger seeing a group of village citizens gathered and talking, amongst them is the village idiot who is tolerated by the gentle souls. The stranger sees the idiot interacting with the others and his words being given a measure of respect and thoughtful response, and may therefore draw the conclusion that the idiot is indeed a man of substance and one to be listened to. Can you imagine the potential troubles, waste of effort, or even tragedy that could come from making that assessment of the village idiot?

I suggest that your way (and by the way I have seen the above happen just so in the navy even though our IQ standard for idiocy was probably much higher than what we are talking about with muirduck whose IQ seems to be room temperature) opens up this community to that kind of mistaken assessment by a stranger to this blog.

My method of dealing with our village idiot is designed to help any new comer to instantly understand that anything he writes is contested as nonsensical garbage and is always questionable. Hell, it is raitonally mandatory to disbelieve anything muriduck writes. The newcomer will also read the rationale behind muirduck's writing being labeled as nonsensical garbage, which I unfailingly provide. the new comer will also see others making the same assessment of muirduck's writings in varying degress of your method and mine. the new comer will not mistake for anyone of substance. That's a good thing.

A new comer will see your challenges to muriduck, they will see mine (and others) and quickly understand that all rational people, gentle souls and blunt objects (such as myself) alike, despise and reject all of his ideas and expressions of personal philosophy (and this is giving him credit here, that he might actual have thought enough to have a personal philosophy. I just read recorded socialist scripture in his writings and he is simply playing them back.)

Well enough about the good side of muirduck.

Let's talk about the downside and why I rhetorically club him.

Notice, Sam, those ad hominem attacks you claim to see are not direct attacks on his/her/its character per se, they are on his constant drum beat of stupidity, a stupidity that ranges to every topic he/she/it addresses. Also, I never club him/her/it without providing an explanation of 'why' he deserves to be clubbed (again for the new comer, he sees the clubbing and reads the reason). If a new comer is intelligent enough to pour piss out of a boot without turning it upside down to read the instructions printed on the sole, then the new comer gets the picture real quick that muirduck is a waste of time, well okay, an amusement at best.

So, my response to muirduck is the identical response I would make and have made to a thug mugging me on the street. He and his ilk are thugs that mug with a vote because they haven't the courage to mug with a weapon. I never forget that, Sam, not for an instant.

Did I show measured respect for the mugger who attempted it on me? Well no I did not. Did I concern myself with what on-lookers might think about my actions? Well no I did not. The last I saw of him he wasn't going to walk too far on that leg that did a 90 degree turn, and he couldn't see very well either. Who knows, he might even be cured of mugging. And, last those very few on-lookers seemed to appreciate my efforts.

I show and intend to keep on showing muirduck for the socialist thug he/she/it is. Letting him and his ilk obtain even the slightest thread of respectability is a huge mistake that expands exponentially if allowed.

I hope we have a better understanding of how our dissimilar methods work and the rationale behind both.

vidyohs February 14, 2008 at 10:33 am

"the new comer will not mistake for anyone of substance. That's a good thing."

should read
"the new comer will not mistake muirduck for anyone of substance. That's a good thing."

muirgeo February 14, 2008 at 10:34 am

Murthaduck's jealousy of those who earn a pension for serving twenty-plus years in the Armed Forces of the U.S. says a lot about Murthaduck as a person.

Posted by: brotio

I'm not jealous one bit. I believe our veterans and servicemen deserve the benefits they get. I think the socialistic society the military operates under is important to its function but indeed not a good idea for our wider society. I think we need to spend far more on our vets coming home from the war. And I appreciate vidyohs service to our country. I don't appreciate his hypocrisy claiming everyone else is a socialist (when indeed they aren't) while he indeed takes money from the government and lived under the cradle to grave socialist system that is our US military. That's hypocrisy of such an extreme degree that I really feel sad for some one who can think that way.

Randy February 14, 2008 at 10:43 am

"I believe our veterans and servicemen deserve the benefits they get."

In other words, the benefits are earned in a value for value transaction. Your state hired me to do a job. That isn't socialism. A drafted military would be socialism.

Gil February 14, 2008 at 11:04 am

Oh well so the quote was from D.B. not J.S. :( But I would still point out that increase in human population still isn't necessarily a good thing as few people are really movers and shakers, rather most people just run with whatever the statuo quo is and adapt to the new technologies that the handful create. Then again isn't it a right-wing conspiracy that Western middle class (where movers and shakers are) types aren't having enough babies and are relying on immigration from so-so countries which will lead to interesting times in 50 or so years?

Martin Brock February 14, 2008 at 11:24 am

In other words, the benefits are earned in a value for value transaction. Your state hired me to do a job. That isn't socialism. A drafted military would be socialism.

Politicians define words to suit their purpose at the moment, and "socialism" is no exception to this rule, but I accept the 20th century consensus that "socialism" denotes central planning of productive organization. As such, a state hiring people does not contradict socialism, as long as state employment is most attractive. If you look at the Cato report referenced elsewhere in the forum, you'll see that Federal employment is very attractive. The average income is much higher, and once people become Federal employees, they're much less likely to switch.

Are you saying that socialism doesn't exist in the absence of conscription? If we have some liberty to select one job over another, that's not socialism? Even if the state provides all employment and sets all wages?

Charles Frohman February 14, 2008 at 11:24 am

I blogged about this, in terms of the resources about which one thinks when considering the Middle East as a whole. You'll find it in the middle of yesterday's blog: http://www.commoninterest.info/2008/02/13/congressman-barr-as-lp-candidate/.

I'd be appreciative if folks care to leave a "comment" at my blog.

Blessings

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