Kuran on Simon: A Fitting Epitaph
By Bryan Caplan
What turned out, sadly, to be our last meeting took place in early January 1998, in Chicago, during that year’s convention of the American Economic Association. Between sessions we decided to walk downtown. Julian had just come out of a session he considered “boring,” so I joked that “perhaps the quality of the session would have been higher if the AEA had more members.” Taking me completely seriously, he replied, “With more trained economists, more inefficiency-reducing ideas would be produced. And some bright economist would come up with a better mechanism for weeding out papers that say little.”
I don’t know what I regret more – that Simon didn’t win the Nobel prize, or that I never got to meet him. Alas – no matter how big the population of the world gets, there will never be another Julian Simon.