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The Bet - Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth's Future (Anglais) Relié – 3 septembre 2013


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The Bet In 1980, economist Julian Simon challenged biologist Paul Ehrlich to a bet. Their wager on the future prices of five metals captured the public's imagination as a test of coming prosperity or doom. This book weaves the two men's lives and ideas together with the era's partisan political clashes over the environment and the role of government.


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Amazon.com: 31 commentaires
27 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fascinating and (surprisingly!) entertaining 16 août 2013
Par friedpollakman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book is essential reading for environmentalists, economists, students of public policy, and anybody interested in modern history. It tells the story of a bet between an environmentalist and an economist. As an environmentalist, it has made me question assumptions about the relationship between population growth and scarcity that has been a driver of the environmental movement for the last 40 years. If folks on both sides of environmental politics would read this book, we might be able to actually move forward.

What made this book such a treat to read, however, is the entertaining style in which it is written. It is loaded with anecdotes about Paul Erlich and Julian Simon, who made the bet that is the centerpiece of the story, and the people around them that populated the political landscape. For example, I loved the description of Jimmy Carter's White House maintenance staff, nicknamed the "thermostat police," visiting people's offices to make sure they hadn't reset the thermostats, and of President Carter sweating through cabinet meetings to set an example for the rest of the country. This kind of amusing story gives the rather serious topic a lighter side, too.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Excellent book comparing ideas and people 1 janvier 2014
Par sien - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
The Bet (2013) by Paul Sabin is a really fine book that looks at the different beliefs of the ecologist and author of The Population Bomb Paul Ehrlich and the economist Julian Simon and their famous bet on the price of natural resources.
Sabin is an academic at Yale who teaches environmental history. He introduces the book by describing his own environmentalism which is a very honest and clear way of clarifying his own biases.
The book then looks at Paul Ehrlich’s rise to fame as a prophet of doom. Ehrlich’s childhood, career as a butterfly biologist and his rise a ecological activist is catalogued. Ehrlich’s book ‘The Population Bomb’ and his series of dire predictions and rise to fame in the 1960s and 1970s is described with insight.
Sabin then looks at Julian Simon’s childhood and career. Interestingly both Simon and Ehrlich grew up in suburban New Jersey to upwardly mobile Jewish parents. Simon went to Harvard then obtained an MBA and then a PhD at the University of Chicago. Simon initially worked on using marketing to reduce population growth but then investigated the assumption that increased population was a problem and came to the opposite conclusion.
Next the rise of environmentalism in the 1970s is described. The creation of the Environmental Protection Agency by Richard Nixon and the passage of various other laws and the rise of Jimmy Carter and his own environmental beliefs along with the oil crisis are discussed.
The book then gets to the famous bet between Simon and Ehrlich where Simon challenged Ehrlich to pick 5 metals that he thought would rise over the next decade. Ehrlich comprehensively lost the bet after declaring that taking up the bet would be easily getting free money. The Reagan presidency and Reagan ‘s scepticism of the benefits of further environmental regulation is summarised.
Sabin also points out that while the general thrust of the Carter was toward environmentalism and Reagan toward the market that Carter deregulated the energy industry substantially and Reagan signed on to the Montreal Protocol to reduce CFCs.
Then the increasing polarization of environmental debates between pro-market optimists and environmental catastrophists is nicely described. The contribution of Bjorn Lomborg in fact checking the debate, coming out generally on Simon’s side and then being demonised by environmentalists is added to the discussion. Despite being substantially wrong Ehrlich was far more successful in winning prizes and notoriety than Simon.
Sabin concludes the book by praising the contributions of both Ehrlich and Simon while pointing out that Ehrlich was categorically wrong. He credits Ehrlich with allowing increasing environmental regulations to be passed while crediting Simon with pointing out that the price mechanism and human ingenuity have shown Malthusians to be wrong for the past 200 years. Sabin would like to see more of a fusion between the two positions.
It’s an excellent book that both environmentalists and others will enjoy and get a lot from. Sabin has done an excellent job in writing a very readable, interesting book.
19 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Betting on our planet 12 août 2013
Par David - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book is about a small bet on a big topic. In practice, the bet between Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich was about the prices of a basket of commodities. But the bet was really about the relationship between humankind and earth: were humans making their planet unlivable? Ehrlich, best known as the author of "The Population Bomb" thought that higher commodity prices would be a sign of increasing strains on natural resources, and proof of the growing precariousness of human existence. The economist Simon, on the other hand, but his money on technological innovation - even if commodities became scarcer, new techniques and technologies would lead to adjustments and demands and prices.

Sabin's book is well-written, making this dramatic and important subject easy reading. He appreciates both the big picture - what was really at stake in this bet - and the small details about the two bettors and how they came to make that wager.

It's a great book for students and teachers, for environmentalists and economists, and for anyone interested in the fate of human life on earth.
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Bet Pays Off 11 août 2013
Par Steven Moss - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
For those of us who lived through the "population bomb" threats of the 1970s, followed by the "Reagan Revolution" of the 1980s, The Bet offers an opportunity to revisit a formative period of environmental history that continues to influence today's debates. For those just learning of the ideological and political tussle between Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon and their respective camps, The Bet establishes a compelling framework that provides insights into a critical conversation that remains unfinished.

Is the world about to end, or become deeply damaged? Or will progress, as ushered in through free-market capitalism, save the day? We continue to live with these profound questions, just as we did forty years ago. It's essential that we find ways to examine and discuss earth's potential pathways, and to choose the right routes. The Bet offers both a cautionary tale and possible signposts indicating how to productively engage in the complex challenges that aren't going away.

This is a must-read for environmental historians, environmentalists, capitalists, and anyone who cares about the future of the earth.
11 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Worthy Wager 13 août 2013
Par Flynn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Sabin's book expertly lifts a portrait of two men (and one bet) into the anxiety of the present. The wager, about resource scarcity, took place more than 30 years ago, but the issues it raised remain as sharp and as pressing as ever. Is the world on the verge of a new dawn, or in its twilight? Will innovation seed the greater good, or will we run out the hourglass? Sabin's exploration of The Bet is a terrific book nor only for economists or historians but for anyone looking to find their place in the future of the big blue marble.
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