Ten years ago this month, a landmark book was published that put neo-Malthusianism on the defensive. The unvarnished facts were there to weaken doom-and-gloom prognostications, but it took a rare individual named Julian Simon (1932–1998) ) to uncover the anomalies and present them in integrated and compelling form–and to win the most famous wager in the history of economics!
Then came a young Dane named Bjørn Lomborg set out to refute Simon but instead rediscovered the bogey of fixed-pie, depletionist thinking. This audacious 36-year-old also found that whether the result was of market progress or regulation, virtually all environmental indicators were trending positively, not negatively. Lomborg could agree with the title of Simon’s last major public address, “More People, Greater Wealth, Expanded Resources, Cleaner Environment.”
A Heated Debate
And then, with the debate joined, came a slew of establishment neo-Malthusians, led by John Holdren, now Obama’s science advisor, who got emotional and nit-picked.…