Population and Development in Poor Countries: Selected Essays

Princeton University Press
Free sample

Making the case that population growth does not hinder economic progress and that it eventually raises standards of living, Julian Simon became one of the most controversial figures in economics during the past decade. This book gathers a set of articles--theoretical, empirical, and policy analyses--written over the past twenty years, which examine the effects of population increase on various aspects of economic development in less-developed economies. The studies show that within a century, or even a quarter of a century, the positive benefits of additional people counterbalance the short-run costs. The process is as follows: increased numbers of consumers, and the resultant increase of total income, expand the demand for raw materials and finished products. The resulting actual and expected shortages force up prices of the natural resources. The increased prices trigger the search for new ways to satisfy the demand, and sooner or later new sources and innovative substitutes are found. These new discoveries lead to cheaper natural resources than existed before this process began, leaving humanity better off than if the shortages had not appeared.

Originally published in 1992.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 14, 2014
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Pages
484
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ISBN
9781400862177
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Business & Economics / Economics / Microeconomics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In his long and distinguished career as a writer and scholar Julian Simon came to be known as one of the leading--and most controversial--authorities on population economics. An immensely productive writer, his work is unified by a basic core belief: that human intellect and ingenuity are ever-renewable resources in the use and preservation of natural resources. Inevitably, Simon's position provoked the hostility of doctrinaire environmentalists, both in academia and in the movement at large. However, Simon's arguments were invariably built from facts and powerful evidence that stood him well in many high-profile public debates.

The first part of Simon's autobiography takes the reader through his childhood, his years as a midshipman and then as an officer in the Navy, plus a stint in the Marines, and his experiences as a copywriter in an advertising firm. Simon's plan after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago was to be an entrepreneur, which would afford him enough money to care for his parents and allow him free time for writing fiction. He ran a small mail-order business for two years, during which time he wrote his first book, "How to Start and Operate a Mailorder Business, "which has since gone through seven editions. Deciding to seek a professional career, in 1963, he accepted a position at the University of Illinois.

Although he spent thirty-five years of his life as a faculty member at three universities, his autobiography contains almost no discussion of departmental affairs or university politics, topics about which Simon had little or no interest. Rather, after the personal chronology and experiences, the book includes substantive chapters on research methods, population economics, and immigration. It also explains how Julian Simon became the economist he was. He analyzes crucial periods in his life when he developed his ideas on fundamental issues.

Written in an engaging and amusing manner, Julian Simon's autobiography is a combination of personal memoir and professional contribution to important ideas in economics, research methods, and demography. His observations and personal reflections will interest the general reader on a humanitarian level as well as environmentalists, sociologists, and economists on a professional level.

“Ideas of economic democracy are very much in the air, as they should be, with increasing urgency in the midst of today’s serious crises. Richard Wolff’s constructive and innovative ideas suggest new and promising foundations for much more authentic democracy and sustainable and equitable development, ideas that can be implemented directly and carried forward. A very valuable contribution in troubled times.”—Noam Chomsky

"Probably America's most prominent Marxist economist."—The New York Times

Capitalism as a system has spawned deepening economic crisis alongside its bought-and-paid-for political establishment. Neither serves the needs of our society. Whether it is secure, well-paid, and meaningful jobs or a sustainable relationship with the natural environment that we depend on, our society is not delivering the results people need and deserve.

One key cause for this intolerable state of affairs is the lack of genuine democracy in our economy as well as in our politics. The solution requires the institution of genuine economic democracy, starting with workers managing their own workplaces, as the basis for a genuine political democracy.

Here Richard D. Wolff lays out a hopeful and concrete vision of how to make that possible, addressing the many people who have concluded economic inequality and politics as usual can no longer be tolerated and are looking for a concrete program of action.

Richard D. Wolff is professor of Economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is currently a visiting professor at the New School University in New York. Wolff is the author of many books, including Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It. He hosts the weekly hour-long radio program Economic Update on WBAI (Pacifica Radio) and writes regularly for The Guardian, Truthout.org, and the MRZine.


Since 1970, Julian Simon has been challenging the doomsayers and their conventional beliefs in a series of controversial popular essays based upon his technical scholarly research. These have been his central message: Raw materials and energy are getting less scarce. The world's food supply is improving. Pollution in the United States has been decreasing. Population growth has long-term benefits, even though added people are a burden in the short run. The United States needs more immigrants. These essays are the core of Population Matters. The central vision is of human being who, on balance, create more than they destroy, if they have adequate incentive to create and guarantee protection of the fruits of their labors. The debate on these questions concerns the effect of the number of people on the standard of living. Simon sees the following mechanism at work: Population growth and increased income expand demand, and prices of natural resources are forced up, triggering the search for new supplies. Eventually new sources and substitutes are found, and humanity is better off. How quickly this happens is critical; and here the presence of economic liberty and respect for property are of central importance. There is no doubt that Julian Simon has influenced the professional consensus on these questions. But he does not preach complacency, nor does he think that new resources and economic advances are inevitable. He reminds us that institutions that protect property and reward initiative must be protected. Above all, we must remember that the ultimate resource is people, whose exercise of will and imagination for their own benefit inevitably benefits us all. Those who have read and enjoyed Simon's other books or his writings in the popular media will find this a spirited examination of the compelling issues of our day. Some of the most provocative essays in the volume have never before been published. Social and physical scientists may be stimulated to rethink some of their assumptions, and the general reader will be engaged by the force and style of his arguments.
Julian Simon was known for his methodical, and often controversial, writings challenging conventional beliefs about overpopulation, pollution, disappearing farmland, and the scarcity of energy sources and raw materials. But throughout his works is a common theme: that responsible, unbiased research and examination of the data is indispensable to formulating a well-informed and accurate opinion. "The Art of Empirical Investigation" teaches student, professor, researcher, and those interested in ascertaining the truth about social issues just how to proceed. "The Art of Empirical Investigation" is a textbook on the basics of social-scientific research. It discusses all the important empirical methods used in social science, and its examples, drawn from a wide variety of academic and applied fields, illustrate the use of each method in its most appropriate context. The actual decisions a researcher must make at every stage of a project are emphasized, as well as obstacles to knowledge--such as observer bias, deception, unreliability of data, and sampling costs--and how to overcome them. Presupposing nothing, the book introduces the reader to the foundations of empirical social-science research, regardless of a specific field. It also makes an important contribution to beginning researchers' understanding of an operational definition of causality, which cuts through philosophical obscurity and teaches the researcher how to decide whether or not a given relationship is causal. James E. Katz contributes an introduction written for this new edition, in which he explains why, after over three decades, this remains one of the best books on research methods around. Written in a clear, informal style, "The Art of Empirical Investigation" is a must for the student and teacher of the social sciences, researchers, and journalists. Julian L. Simon (1932-1998) was professor of business administration at the University of Maryland and Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute. His books, as author or editor, include "Population Matters, Hoodwinking the Nation," and "The Economics of Population: Key Classic Writing," all available from Transaction. James E. Katz is professor of communication at the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies at Rutgers University. He is the author of "Machines That Become Us" and "Connections," both available from Transaction.
In his long and distinguished career as a writer and scholar Julian Simon came to be known as one of the leading--and most controversial--authorities on population economics. An immensely productive writer, his work is unified by a basic core belief: that human intellect and ingenuity are ever-renewable resources in the use and preservation of natural resources. Inevitably, Simon's position provoked the hostility of doctrinaire environmentalists, both in academia and in the movement at large. However, Simon's arguments were invariably built from facts and powerful evidence that stood him well in many high-profile public debates.

The first part of Simon's autobiography takes the reader through his childhood, his years as a midshipman and then as an officer in the Navy, plus a stint in the Marines, and his experiences as a copywriter in an advertising firm. Simon's plan after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago was to be an entrepreneur, which would afford him enough money to care for his parents and allow him free time for writing fiction. He ran a small mail-order business for two years, during which time he wrote his first book, "How to Start and Operate a Mailorder Business, "which has since gone through seven editions. Deciding to seek a professional career, in 1963, he accepted a position at the University of Illinois.

Although he spent thirty-five years of his life as a faculty member at three universities, his autobiography contains almost no discussion of departmental affairs or university politics, topics about which Simon had little or no interest. Rather, after the personal chronology and experiences, the book includes substantive chapters on research methods, population economics, and immigration. It also explains how Julian Simon became the economist he was. He analyzes crucial periods in his life when he developed his ideas on fundamental issues.

Written in an engaging and amusing manner, Julian Simon's autobiography is a combination of personal memoir and professional contribution to important ideas in economics, research methods, and demography. His observations and personal reflections will interest the general reader on a humanitarian level as well as environmentalists, sociologists, and economists on a professional level.

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