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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 584 of Julian Simon’s 1996 magnum opus, The Ultimate Resource 2 (footnote and reference note deleted):

In 1742, the man whom I regard as the greatest philosopher who ever lived, and one of the greatest economists of all time – David Hume – wrote this: “Multitudes of people, necessity, and liberty, have begotten commerce in Holland.”  In that one short sentence, Hume summarized everything important about economic progress – economic liberty, which comes from a country being “ruled by laws rather than men,” allows people to make the most of their individual talents and opportunities; necessity – that is, in Holland’s case, the lack of great stretches of fertile land on which to grow crops easily, and therefore the necessity of creating new fertile land by fighting the sea for that land; and multitudes of people – the human talent to invent new ways of doing things and of organizing an effective society.

DBx: The great Julian Simon – one of the most original and important economists of the twentieth century – died suddenly 20 years ago today, four days shy of his 66th birthday.  Julian’s work and insights remain under-appreciated – a sad fact for all of humanity, but especially for those who remain impoverished.

Here’s the tribute that I wrote to Julian on the 10th anniversary of his death.