*The Bet*

The author is Paul Sabin and the subtitle is Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future.  I found this book informative, charming, and highly readable.  Here are a few excerpts:

Ehrlich later described his political development as a “natural progression.”  “I didn’t stand up one day and say ‘My God, I’m going to get everybody to stop [fuck]ing.’  It’s sort of one thing led to another.”

But Julian had a very different temperament:

…Simon also helped support himself in college with the winnings he took away from a regular poker game, often staying up until dawn during his senior year.  He did not suffer fools lightly, but his close college friends thought him a terrific companion.  Simon was curious and funny.  He was interested in a broad range of people…

And my favorite part is this (with apologies to Bryan Caplan):

“You can’t choose your relatives,” Simon later wrote.  “But one can imagine.”  His dream family consisted of a roster of famous theorists, some of them notable conservatives: “William James as my father, Hayek as my uncle, Milton Friedman as my older brother, Theodore Schultz as my thesis adviser, and David Hume as my idol.”

Recommended (who was the dream mother?).  There is a good WSJ review of the book here.

Addendum: Here is a new research paper on testing the Prebisch-Singer hypothesis about resource prices over time.


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