Synopses & Reviews
Making the case that population growth does not hinder economic progress and that it eventually raises standards of living, Julian Simon became one of the most controversial figures in economics during the past decade. This book gathers a set of articles--theoretical, empirical, and policy analyses--written over the past twenty years, which examine the effects of population increase on various aspects of economic development in less-developed economies. The studies show that within a century, or even a quarter of a century, the positive benefits of additional people counterbalance the short-run costs. The process is as follows: increased numbers of consumers, and the resultant increase of total income, expand the demand for raw materials and finished products. The resulting actual and expected shortages force up prices of the natural resources. The increased prices trigger the search for new ways to satisfy the demand, and sooner or later new sources and innovative substitutes are found. These new discoveries lead to cheaper natural resources than existed before this process began, leaving humanity better off than if the shortages had not appeared.
Originally published in 1992.
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"Julian Simon has been the dominant world figure in population economics.... The essays in this large and very welcome volume elaborate a consistent set of arguments about the positive long-term relationships between population and development that have been critical in shifting the balance of the discourse from the excessive neo-Malthusianism of the 1970s and earlier to the much more analytical perspectives that are now taken for granted."--Third World Planning Review