Chris Hind (
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 13:41:28 -0700

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>Subject: FYI (forwarded): LFB Book News: THE ULTIMATE RESOURCE II
>Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 09:29:53 -0700
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>>Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 04:39:11 -0700
>>From: Russell Hanneken <>
>>Order now to receive one of the first 350 copies with autographed
>>bookplates! This book is hot off the presses--it's so new we
>>haven't yet received our copies (although we're expecting
>>our shipment to arrive any day).
>>The absolutely astounding wonders created by free people
>>by Julian Simon
>>(reviewed by Jim Powell)
>>What a magnificent book! This overhaul of the original 1980
>>edition, bolstered with much new data, affirms the natural
>>harmony between private self-interest and society as a whole.
>>Simon dramatically highlights the wonders of spontaneous free
>>markets and the evils of well-meaning government intervention
>>around the world. He shows that people can achieve practically
>>anything when they are free.
>>He does all this while providing a splendid overview of human
>>progress. For instance, he shows that thanks to limitless human
>>ingenuity, the more natural resources we consume, the more
>>abundant they tend to be. "Incredible as it may seem at first,"
>>Simon reports, "the term 'finite' is not only inappropriate but
>>is downright misleading when applied to natural resources, from
>>both the practical and philosophical points of view."
>>Technological progress means more productivity from almost
>>everything. As Simon explains, "We learn how to obtain a given
>>amount of a service from an ever-smaller amount of a resource.
>>It takes much less copper [wire] now to pass a given message than
>>a hundred years ago. And much less energy is required to do a
>>given amount of work than in the past; the earliest steam engines
>>had an efficiency of about 2 percent, but efficiencies are many
>>times that high now."
>>Remember the energy scares which became an excuse for massive
>>federal intervention in energy markets? "The statistical history
>>of energy supplies," says Simon, "is a rise in plenty rather than
>>in scarcity... Through the centuries, the prices of energy--coal,
>>oil, and electricity--have been decreasing rather than
>>increasing, relative to the cost of labor and even relative to
>>the price of consumer goods, just as with all other natural
>>resources... there is nothing meaningfully 'finite' about our
>>world that inevitably will cause energy, or even oil in
>>particular, to grow more scarce and costly."
>>Two decades ago, we were told that unless governments took
>>decisive action, devastating famines would soon sweep the earth.
>>Yet Simon reports that more private land is being cultivated
>>around the world now, especially in poor countries, and average
>>yields per acre are increasing. Far from needing government
>>intervention to prevent famine, government intervention is the
>>scourge responsible for famine.
>>Resourceful private entrepreneurs multiply the ways of feeding
>>people: "Using technology that is in commercial use to raise food
>>in hydroponic artificial-light factories... the entire population
>>of the world can be fed using only the land area of Massachusetts
>>plus Vermont... And the area necessary can be reduced to a tenth
>>or a hundredth of that by producing the food in ten or hundred
>>story buildings."
>>Wherever Simon turns his keen analytical eye, he sees human
>>ingenuity banishing fear. "The Global 2000 Report issued the
>>influential forecast that the world fish catch had hit its
>>limit--'levelled off in the 1970s at about 70 million metric tons
>>a year.' But by 1988 the catch had reached 98 million tons a
>>year, and it is still rising rapidly. No limit to the harvest of
>>wild varieties of seafood is in sight. Yet fish farms have begun
>>to produce at or near competitive prices... Aquaculture can be
>>expanded almost indefinitely. Land is a small constraint, as
>>catfish farming in the Mississippi shows; present methods produce
>>about 3,000 pounds of fish per acre, an economic return far
>>higher than for field crops."
>>What if there isn't any water? Simon: "People 'create' usable
>>water, and there are large opportunities to discover and utilize
>>new sources. Some additional sources are well-known and already
>>in partial use: transport by ship from one country to another,
>>deeper wells, cleaning dirty water, towing icebergs to places
>>where water is needed, and desalination... An important example
>>of a newly-discovered source is the aquifiers in areas where the
>>underlying rock has large faults."
>>Simon shows why pollution tends to diminish where people are free
>>to prosper, and it worsens when government intervention runs
>>amuck. He cites satellite evidence that environmental disasters
>>generally occur on government land, while private owners keep
>>their property clean and green. He discusses the world's most
>>horrifying polluter--the Soviet socialist government.
>>Simon, who relishes irony, does observe a shortage of free
>>people: "wages and salaries have been going up all over the
>>world, in poor countries as well as in rich countries... The
>>amount you must pay to obtain the services of a driver or a cook
>>has risen in India, just as... in the United States. This
>>increase in the price of peoples' services is a clear indication
>>that people are becoming more scarce even though there are more
>>of us." This book is a home run.
>>EN7116 (hardcover) 656p.
>>Published at $35.00
>>LF PRICE ONLY $29.95
>>(This title is not included in the 15% off sale going at at
>>Laissez Faire Books until the end of October.)
>>Please send this to anyone who you think might be interested
>>To order THE ULTIMATE RESOURCE II from Laissez Faire Books . . .
>>BY EMAIL: Address email orders to Sarah at If
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>>BY MAIL: Write to Laissez Faire Books, Dept L50, 938 Howard St.,
>>Ste. 202, San Francisco, CA 94103-4114, USA.
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>>Russell Hanneken
>>Laissez Faire Books