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Julian Simon Would Not Be Surprised

Deirdre McCloskey laments that the free-market economic order that commonly goes by the name “capitalism” is not instead called “innovationism.”  She’s got a point.  The most distinctive feature of modern market-oriented societies – the driving force of those economies – is the Amazon of innovations unleashed by widespread respect for bourgeois virtues and pursuits, and secured by private property rights and freedom of contract.

The New York Times today reports on one exciting in-progress innovation: growing aviation fuel.  (This instance of innovationism is yet another nail in the coffin of the economically naive notion of “peak oil.”)

I repeat the late Julian Simon’s deeply profound point: the ultimate resource is the human mind – a fact that means that there are no ‘natural’ resources; only resources created by human ingenuity.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone.  Be thankful that you live in a society and in times that, for all of their imperfections, yield to ordinary men and women living standards of incredible opulence – and yield these high living standards with such smoothness, quite, and regularity that we, today, too frequently take our good fortune for granted.