Bill Gates & Julian Simon’s Continued March Into The Mainstream
“Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren, take note. Look who is in the mainstream now! Julian Simon, step by step, is becoming the intellectual king of the sustainable development hill. First came Bjorn Lomborg. Then Paul Sabin. And now Bill Gates.”
Julian Simon, with his revolutionary theory of “the ultimate resource,” was far outside of the mainstream of sustainable development thought in his lifetime. But Simon’s marketing prowess and business acumen went to work, culminating in the most famous bet in the history of economics against Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren, et al. on the future scarcity of mineral resources in a more populated world.
Such is the subject of a recent book by Yale history professor Paul Sabin, titled The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future, which was reviewed by Bill Gates (see below).
Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren, take note. Look who is in the mainstream now! Julian Simon, step by step, is becoming the intellectual king of the sustainable development hill. First came Bjorn Lomborg. Then Paul Sabin. And now Bill Gates.
Here is Bill Gates’s book review of The Bet from late last year.
The year 1981 was a big one in my business life. It was the year Paul Allen and I incorporated Microsoft in our home state of Washington.
As it turns out, 1981 also had big implications for my current work in health, development, and the environment. Right when Paul and I were pulling all-nighters to get ready for the release of the MS-DOS operating system for the brand new IBM-PC, two rival professors with radically divergent perspectives were sealing a bet that the Chronicle of Higher Education called “the scholarly wager of the decade.”
This bet is the subject of Yale history professor Paul Sabin’s new book. The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future provides surprising insights for anyone involved in addressing the world’s “wicked problems.” Most of all, it gave me new perspective on why so many big challenges get bogged down in political battles rather than being focused on problem-solving.