Scarcity or abundance?

I discussed this topic in a letter that appeared this week in the Alibi:

I feel compelled to respond to the letter to the editor outlining the myriad, alleged justifications for population control and using government power to reduce populations. They are all based on the faulty assumption that we are running out of (insert natural resource here).

The reality is far different and was largely settled back in 1980 when free market economist Julian Simon made a wager with Paul Ehrlich who continues to make a living spreading fear about “overpopulation” and other supposed crises.

The two men bet on a mutually agreed-upon measure of resource scarcity over the decade leading up to 1990. Simon had Ehrlich choose five commodity metals. Copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten were chosen and Simon bet that their prices would decrease, while Ehrlich bet they would increase. Ehrlich ultimately lost the bet, and all five commodities that were selected as the basis for the wager continued to trend downward during the wager period.

Prices of these and other commodities fluctuate in the short-term, but over the long-term, humans use the one unlimited resource that exists (human ingenuity) to find and put new resources to use for human benefit. The centuries-long trend is for more people to live more comfortably where their governments allow them to do so.