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Here Comes Ingenuity! Offshore Drilling Will Be Better, Cleaner, Safer in the New Era (Julian Simon speaks to us today)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 11, 2010

“Material insufficiency and environmental problems have their benefits, over and beyond the improvement which they invoke. They focus the attention of individuals and communities, and constitute a set of challenges which can bring out the best in people” (emphasis added).

– Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2 (1996), p. 587.

“We need our problems, though this does not imply that we should purposely create additional problems for ourselves.”

– Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2 (1996), p. 588.

If he were alive, Julian Simon (1932–1998) would apply his view that our problems can make us better to the worst-case scenario that BP uniquely brought to life in the Gulf of Mexico this year.

Simon argued that there was a third driving force or condition for human improvement beyond the institutional  framework for progress (private property, voluntary exchange, the rule of law) and the insightful reasons given for capitalistic progress (motivation, effective use of knowledge, trial and error feedback, etc.).…