… is from page xxxviii of the late, great Julian Simon’s 1996 magnum opus, The Ultimate Resource 2:
The main fuel to speed the world’s progress is our stock of knowledge, and the brake is our lack of imagination. The ultimate resource is people – skilled, spirited, hopeful people – who will exert their wills and imaginations for their own benefit as well as in a spirit of faith and social concern. Inevitably they will benefit not only themselves but the poor and the rest of us as well.
DBx: Indeed so.
But I understand that the sentiment expressed here by Julian Simon is unfashionable. It seems oh-so-unintellectual, oh-so-pollyannaish, oh-so-bourgeois, oh-so-uncool, oh-so-‘this-can’t-possibly-be-true.’
Well, it’s true. For evidence so powerful that it rises to the level of proof, simply look at the modern world. Contemplate your cellphone. Consider your car. Cogitate on your copious clothing. Ruminate on your refrigerator. Examine your electrical appliances and toys. Mull over modern medicine. Reflect on reinforced concrete. Ponder the plumbing in your home, school, or workplace. These marvels do not occur naturally. Not one of them, and not any collection of them (despite assertions to the contrary), “tends to grow mechanically.” Each and every one of these marvels is the consequence of countless acts of human creativity, ingenuity, risk-taking, and work – acts from around the globe that were coordinated productively with each other by the only method that can possibly achieve such astonishing coordination: the market price system grounded in the security of private property rights and freedom of contract.