Tuesday, March 23, 2004


Population has been an easy scapegoat for failed regimes and their policies -- and their apologists. Third World examples of the 60s and 70s come to mind, notably India and China. Julian Simon was among the first to demonstrate that the neo-Malthusians were horribly wrong.

Simon died before completing The Great Breakthrough and Its Cause but Timur Kuran did the world a service by editing the unfinished work and seeing it through to publication.

The hand-wringers would do well to look at Simon's arguments and the data he presented to back them up. More people interacting with each other generate new ideas and new possibilities; they also spur demand that the new ways of doing things respond to. Institutions that allows price signals to coordinate all of this are indispensible.