With a human population larger than any point in history, we are consuming more natural resources than at any point in history. So, how can we ever expect to maintain this pace without running out of resources? As it turns out, the people who seriously sound these alarm bells are forgetting one thing. Throughout history, bigger problems have produced bigger solutions. Had those initial problems never arisen, neither would have the solutions.
As noted scholar Julian Simon put it, “We need our problems. In some fundamental way we need bigger and better problems. That’s not to say we should run out and create any problems because we manage to create problems pretty well, but we do need our problems. If problems didn’t arise, if population hadn’t grown so that people ran short of food, if we still had 10 million people on earth as we had perhaps 10,000 years ago when people were still living an average of 30 years or less at birth we wouldn’t have had this fancy lunch that you and I had today. But instead we’d be out chasing rabbits and digging roots.”
Listen to the rest of his practical thoughts on how population and economics influence each other in the latest episode of the Free To Choose Media Podcast, Julian Simon.