Julian Simon and the 'Limits to Growth' Neo-Malthusianism
By the time of his death in 1998 at age 65, Julian Simon had already established for himself the reputation of “doomslayer.” Whether one agrees with his views, an overview of his key arguments is an
By the time of his death in 1998 at age 65, Julian Simon had already established for himself the reputation of "doomslayer", "one of those people who took on the thankless task of talking sense on a subject where nonsense is all the rage" and of a man "set out to explain what happened in the real world, not what happens in abstract models or popular hysteria" (Sowell, 1998). His crusade against the conventional wisdom was featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe and he was considered the man who "thoroughly and often single-handedly capsized the prevailing Malthusian orthodoxy" by routing "nearly every prominent environmental scaremonger of our time" and by reframing "the central debate of our time: whether people are good for our planet or not" (Moore, 1998). Whether one agrees with his views or not, an overview of his key arguments is an important step towards a clearer understanding of the intellectual history and significance of one of the most salient and sensitive themes emerging on the public agenda during the second half of the 20th century.