Re: ECON: Simon vs Ehrlich

Michael Lorrey (
Sun, 27 Apr 1997 18:03:38 -0400

Hal Dunn wrote:
> >From: "Laws, David" <>
> >Date: Sat, 26 Apr 1997 20:29:18 -0400
> >I am no geologist. I am no economist. To say we are running out of any
> >mineral (except oil) just basically seems silly. The earth's crust should
> >be strewn with every mineral known to man (and then some....wood and air is
> >a far more known limiter).
> Julian Simon is an economist and I think one of his main points is that
> throughout history scarcity itself has helped to preserve the Earth's
> natural resources. As long as a resource is considered useful, it is
> considered valuable (and worthy) and it will have a price. The more scarce a
> resource becomes, the higher the price will go.
> As the price goes up, the number of buyers who think it is still worth the
> price will go down. This has a similar effect as conservation, i.e., fewer
> users of a resource.
> Simon uses fossil fuel as an example. He says we will NEVER run out of oil.
> Technically, he's probably right. As oil becomes scarce, the price rises. By
> the time the price becomes cost-prohibitive, other useful alternatives or
> substitutes will be invented or discovered. By the time we have very little
> oil left, it will be so expensive that no one will want to buy it, so we
> will never really run out.

There is also the effect of increased prices on recovery cost
effectiveness. WHenever you hear of someone saying there is only 30
years worth of oil left, they mean that there is that much in reserves
available that are cost effective enough to recover at today's market
prices. Obviously there is plenty of oil that is too expensive to
recover right now, but as demand rises and prices inflate, those other
reserves become cost effective. This is one of the little lies that
environmentalists and conservationists tell to get support, because they
imply to the less intelligent people that there is ONLY 30 years worth
of oil at ANY price left. There is literally a HUGE supply of oil in
the ground, enough that it will be a few thousand years before we use it
all up at a minimum.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------		Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

Mikey's Animatronic Factory My Own Nuclear Espionage Agency (MONEA) MIKEYMAS(tm): The New Internet Holiday Transhumans of New Hampshire (>HNH) ------------------------------------------------------------ #!/usr/local/bin/perl-0777---export-a-crypto-system-sig-RC4-3-lines-PERL @k=unpack('C*',pack('H*',shift));for(@t=@s=0..255){$y=($k[$_%@k]+$s[$x=$_ ]+$y)%256;&S}$x=$y=0;for(unpack('C*',<>)){$x++;$y=($s[$x%=256]+$y)%256; &S;print pack(C,$_^=$s[($s[$x]+$s[$y])%256])}sub S{@s[$x,$y]=@s[$y,$x]}