Henderson on Phelps

by Russ Roberts on October 12, 2006

in Standard of Living

Here is David Henderson in the Wall Street Journal with some very nice observations on Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps. My favorite:

In 1968, long before Julian Simon popularized the idea that population
growth is good, Mr. Phelps made the same argument: The more people
there are, the more ideas are developed, and ideas, once developed, can
be transferred to others at almost no cost. He wrote: "One can hardly
imagine, I think, how poor we would be today were it not for the rapid
population growth of the past to which we owe the enormous number of
technological advances enjoyed today. . . . If I could re-do the
history of the world, halving population size each year from the
beginning of time on some random basis, I would not do it for fear of
losing Mozart in the process." Thomas Alva Edison is an even better
example, but the point is clear.


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