Magazine July 6, 2020, Issue

Letters

(Lisi Niesner/Reuters)

Human Resources

I loved the mention of Julian Simon in the Week (May 18). However, as the quotation below from the Wikipedia article on The Ultimate Resource — Simon’s 1981 opus — shows, “the ‘ultimate resource’” is not, as NR’s editors wrote, “unforeseeable technological advancements,” nor “any particular physical object,” but rather “the capacity for humans to invent and adapt,” inexorably leading to the “unforeseeable technological advancements” that the Ehrlich fans had failed to consider. Another reason to welcome each and every birth.

Wikipedia: “The overarching thesis on why there is no resource crisis is that as a particular resource becomes more scarce, its price rises. This price rise creates an incentive for people to discover more of the resource, ration and recycle it, and eventually, develop substitutes. The ‘ultimate resource’ is not any particular physical object but the capacity for humans to invent and adapt.”

David W. Holmes
Blue Ash, Ohio

 

The Editors respond: We agree, but we think “unforeseeable technological advancements” can refer to the capacity to invent and adapt, and not just to the physical result. There had to be a technological advance in Edison’s head before he made a lightbulb.

 

Correction

“The Code and the Key” (David Mamet, June 1) said that Nebuchadnezzar sees the writing on the wall in Daniel 5. It is Belshazzar who sees the writing.

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Culture

The Fragility of the Woke

A TikTok video that recently went viral on social media showed a recent Harvard graduate threatening to stab anyone who said “all lives matter.” In her melodrama, she tried to sound intimidating with her histrionics. She won a huge audience, as she intended. But her video also came to the attention of the ... Read More
Culture

The Fragility of the Woke

A TikTok video that recently went viral on social media showed a recent Harvard graduate threatening to stab anyone who said “all lives matter.” In her melodrama, she tried to sound intimidating with her histrionics. She won a huge audience, as she intended. But her video also came to the attention of the ... Read More
Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More
Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More
Elections

The Winds of Woke

Before Thursday morning I had not heard of Thomas Bosco, and I am willing to bet you haven’t heard of him either. He runs a café in Upper Manhattan. From the picture in the New York Times, the Indian Road Café is one of those Bobo-friendly brick-lined coffee shops with chalkboard menus affixed to the wall ... Read More
Elections

The Winds of Woke

Before Thursday morning I had not heard of Thomas Bosco, and I am willing to bet you haven’t heard of him either. He runs a café in Upper Manhattan. From the picture in the New York Times, the Indian Road Café is one of those Bobo-friendly brick-lined coffee shops with chalkboard menus affixed to the wall ... Read More