The Economic Logic Behind the Ultimate Resource

21 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2021 Last revised: 16 Sep 2021

See all articles by Peter J. Boettke

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics; Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: May 31, 2021

Abstract

Using economic reasoning, Julian Simon offered crucial insights into a range of pressing issues including the environment, immigration, and economic development. The main lesson from Simon’s scholarship is that the ultimate resource does not reside in the ground (natural resources), or even in the accumulated wisdom and knowledge in books and scientific journals (human capital), but in the imagination of people. Through their purposeful actions, people turn their thoughts and aspiration into a new reality that enables immense improvements in the human condition. In making this argument, Simon articulated the core ideas of Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, and Israel Kirzner regarding the discovery and use of knowledge in society, and the role of entrepreneurship as the prime mover of progress. This paper makes this intellectual connection clear.

Keywords: economic development; environment; innovation; immigration; Julian Simon; market process; population; ultimate resource

JEL Classification: B53, O13, O15, O30

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Boettke, Peter J. and Coyne, Christopher J., The Economic Logic Behind the Ultimate Resource (May 31, 2021). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 21-17, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3857155 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3857155

Peter J. Boettke

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

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George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.ccoyne.com/

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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United States

HOME PAGE: http://ppe.mercatus.org/scholars/christopher-coyne

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