… is from page 651 of Gavin Wright’s September 1990 article in the American Economic Review, “The Origins of American Industrial Success, 1879-1940” (reprinted as chapter 13 in Robert Whaples and Dianne C. Betts, eds., Historical Perspectives on the American Economy ):
Abundant resources were themselves in many ways a reflection of the advanced state of American technology.
This statement, by an eminent economic historian, is further evidence of the validity of Julian Simon‘s brilliant insight that the ultimate resource is the human mind. All materials, raw or otherwise – including so-called “natural resources” – become useful (i.e., become resources) only if and when human creativity and effort devise means for using such materials to serve human ends and devise means for doing so in cost-effective ways. There is no such thing as a truly “natural” resource.