Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The next Julian Simon

I confess I haven't read Huber and Mills' Bottomless Well. But thanks to Tyler Cowen at the Marginal Revolution, I now know what it is about (yes, I trust Tyler's reading). In Tyler's words:

1. The cost of energy as we use it has less and less to do with the cost of fuel. Increasingly, it depends instead on the cost of the hardware we use to refine and process the fuel. Thus, we are not witnessing the twilight of fuel.

2. "Waste" is virtuous. We use up most of our energy refining energy itself, and dumping waste energy in the process. The more such wasteful refining we do, the better things get all around. All this waste lets us do more life-arrirming thing better, more clearly, and more safely.

4. The competitive advantage in manufacturing is now swinging decisively back toward the United States...[information technologies]

6. The raw fuels are not running out. The faster we extract and burn them, the faster we find still more. Whatever it is that we so restlessly seek -- and it isn't in fact "energy" -- we will never run out. Energy supplies are infinite...

Of course the above is hated by many environmentalists. Somehow this reminds me of the famous bet between Paul Erlich and Julian Simon.

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