In 1980, Julian Simon offered to let doomsayer Paul Ehrlich choose any commodity metals he liked, and if their inflation-adjusted prices increased by 1990, Simon would pay $1000. But if they fell, Ehrlich would pay. The question was: would human ingenuity figure out ways to conserve on these metals, and/or find substitutes for them? By 1990, all five metals had fallen in price, and Ehrlich paid up. What does it all mean? That’s what we discuss today.
About the Guest
Pierre Desrochers is a professor of geography at the University of Toronto.
“No Limits to Growth,” by Pierre Desrochers and Vincent Geloso
“The Simon-Ehrlich Wager 25 Years On: As the Famous Environmentalist Bet Showed, Malthusians are Always Wrong,” by Pierre Desrochers
“The Postwar Intellectual Roots of the Population Bomb: Fairfield Osborn’s Our Plundered Planet and William Vogt’s Road to Survival in Retrospect,” by Pierre Desrochers and Christine Hoffbauer
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