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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 127 of Steven Pinker’s important 2018 book, Enlightenment Now (footnote deleted; link added; first bracket added; second bracket original to Pinker): The doctrine of sustainability assumes that current rates of use of a resource may be extrapolated into the future until it rams into a ceiling. The implication is that we must switch to a renewable resource that can be replenished at the rate we use it, indefinitely. In reality, societies have always abandoned a resource for a better one long before the old one was exhausted. It is often said that the Stone Age did not end because the world ran out of stones, and that has been true of energy as well. “Plenty of wood and hay remained to be exploited when the world shifted to coal,” [Jesse] Ausubel notes. “Coal abounded

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… is from page 127 of Steven Pinker’s important 2018 book, Enlightenment Now (footnote deleted; link added; first bracket added; second bracket original to Pinker):

Quotation of the Day…The doctrine of sustainability assumes that current rates of use of a resource may be extrapolated into the future until it rams into a ceiling. The implication is that we must switch to a renewable resource that can be replenished at the rate we use it, indefinitely. In reality, societies have always abandoned a resource for a better one long before the old one was exhausted. It is often said that the Stone Age did not end because the world ran out of stones, and that has been true of energy as well. “Plenty of wood and hay remained to be exploited when the world shifted to coal,” [Jesse] Ausubel notes. “Coal abounded when oil rose. Oil abounds now as methane [natural gas] rises.”

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Don Boudreaux
He is a professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Previously, he was president of the Foundation for Economic Education.

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