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
>(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
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>Russell Hanneken
>Laissez Faire Books