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Simon, Julian (1932–1998)

Julian Simon was one of the most underappreciated economists of the 20th century. Born in New Jersey, Simon earned his BA in experimental psychology from Harvard University and, in 1961, his PhD from the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business. He died on February 8, 1998.

Although Simon wrote on an unusually wide range of topics—including statistical methods and mental depression—Simon's greatest contribution to economics is his refinement of the idea that humans are “the ultimate resource.” Simon argued there are no resources without human creativity to figure out how to use them and human effort to actually do so.

Petroleum, for example, is certainly not, by its nature, a resource. If it were, Native Americans would long ago have put it to good use. But ...

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