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Julian Simon Memorial Award 2023: Comments of David Simon

By David Simon -- October 2, 2023

Ed. Note: For posts at MasterResource on the comments of Julian Simon award recipients, see the appendix below.

This past February marked 25 years since my father’s death.  In 2001, CEI began awarding the Julian Simon Memorial Award. My family deeply appreciates not only that CEI established this award, but also that CEI now has continued this award for 23 years.

The first award went to my father’s long-time collaborator, Stephen Moore. Steve, by the way, now leads the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. I hope you all subscribe to the Committee’s excellent and free Hotline.

This year’s award recipients, Marian Tupy and Gale Pooley, began working together a few years ago on a very ambitious project that last year reached an apex with the publication of their book, Superabundance. My father would have loved this book.

About two months after my father died, Milton Friedman wrote an Appreciation for the paperback version of my father’s book, The Ultimate Resource 2.  It starts with the following:

Julian Simon’s untimely death has deprived us of our most effective tilter at environmental myths. This book will unfortunately be his final blast.

And what a blast it is. Julian’s command of economic analysis, his dedication to understanding at a deep level the phenomena he discusses, and his incredible persistence in unearthing evidence of those phenomena has produced a book that is at once a stirring manifesto and an encyclopedic source of information on every aspect of the popular environmental movement.

Friedman’s description of my father’s book also describes Superabundance.

Another of my father’s books shows in a different way why my father would have greatly appreciated Superabundance. He dedicated The Economic Consequences of Immigration to the three economists that he most admired:

To the memory of Simon Kuznets … And Friedrich Hayek … And also for Milton Friedman … Their younger colleague.

Kuznets did some of the most important early work on the economics of population growth.

He is most famous, however, for making the economics profession’s greatest contributions to econometrics – by developing national income measurements, like Gross Domestic Product.

Superabundance confirms my father’s findings regarding population growth, builds upon them, and again shows that – contrary to continual doomsday claims – population growth increases the supply of resources, reduces their cost, and increases prosperity.

Superabundance also makes important contributions to econometrics: the Simon Abundance Index; time prices; time price multipliers; and price elasticities of population.

Hayek’s work emphasizes the failure – and danger – of central economic planning – and the critical role of markets and spontaneous order in the evolution of economies and societies. Superabundance also emphasizes these points, particularly the horrendous failure of government population planning. Think of China’s only recently ended barbaric one-child policy.

Friedman’s work elevates empirical evidence and analysis over theory and makes the case for the importance of freedom in the creation of prosperity.

Superabundance broadly and deeply surveys economic theory, but its findings regarding population growth are products of powerful empirical evidence and analysis.

Its empirical findings include the importance of combining freedom with population growth to maximize economic benefits.

The biggest and most important point is that Superabundance powerfully continues vindicating my father’s explanation of the central mechanism of human progress: People are “the ultimate resource.” A growing population, particularly with greater freedom, has – and will continue to – overcome every challenge and will, in virtually every measurable way, continue to enjoy greater prosperity. This makes Superabundance especially important right now.

The President of the United States is hellbent on doing everything he can to destroy this nation. Among other things, he is using quasi-religious, Chicken Little policies against what the data show to be beneficial trends of a warming planet and increased CO2 emissions that have been saving millions of lives.

On this point, I hope all of you will read the article in National Review that I co-authored with John Fund in August about Biden’s fraudulent climate emergency. 

With all of this in mind, I say:

Marian and Gale: Thank you for this great book! Kent and CEI: Thank you for honoring them for this book! And to all of you: Thank you for supporting CEI!


David M. Simon is a lawyer in Chicago. His father, the economist Julian L. Simon, did path-breaking work concerning the economics of population growth, immigration, natural resources, and the environment, and developed the market-based solution used by airlines to voluntarily resolve overbooking. With his father, Mr. Simon co-authored articles concerning the economics of state liquor distribution systems and the effects of state regulations on liquor prices. Mr. Simon is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and an honors graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Appendix: Remarks of Award Winners

Robert Bradley Jr.

Pierre Desrochers

Steven Horwitz

Matt Ridley

Robert J. Smith

And the fellow who deserves the Simon Award who is not eligible as a CEI employee, Marlo Lewis.

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