As I sat down for breakfast this morning I turned on ABC Good Morning America to only hear that due to rising energy prices, rising food prices and drastic climate change that by the year 2010 life on earth will be a living hell. The reporters insisted this was based on the best science available, and also that it was obvious that as population rose, and food became scarce that violence would increase so that kids will fear for their life.
But, they insisted, if we act now we can do something to change this outcome. To help galvanize the effort ABC is starting a website which will host video interviews, scientific documents, and various activist agendas.
We are desperately in need of a Julian Simon type thinker to effectively counter these arguments. It is important to stress that Simon was NOT a head in the sand, or blind optimist, thinker. In reality, while Simon was an optimist, his optimism was grounded in an understanding of the world we live in, its tensions, and the creative potential of individuals to resolve conflicts between people and over resource use. It is this creative potential of individuals to discover what is in their interest to discover, that is the ultimate resource in Simon's way of thinking.
There are several people working on the edge of Simon type research that I am aware of:
Bjorn Lumberg is one obvious choice given his stance on the environment.
Robin Hanson and/or Tom Bell would be other examples with their focus on the social epistemological relevance of "betting markets".
Bryan Caplan is another example with his current work on family size and child rearing.
Who would be your nominees to engage the argument, to offer alternative interpretations, and effectively counter the Earth 2010 claims?