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Wealth, Natural Resources, and the Environment

George Reisman

Presented at: TJS 1991

Date: Aug 04, 1991

The four lectures cover the following topics:

1. Wealth and Its Role in Human Life. Wealth and goods. Economics and wealth. The limitless need and desire for wealth, or human reason and the scope and perfectibility of need satisfactions. Progress and happiness. The objectivity of economic progress: a critique of the doctrines of cultural relativism and conspicuous consumption. The objective value of a division-of-labor, capitalist society.

2. Wealth and Natural Resources. The law of diminishing marginal utility and the limitless need for wealth. “Scarcity” and the transformation of its nature under capitalism. The ineradicable scarcity of human labor. The limitless potential of natural resources. The energy crisis. The limitless potential of natural resources and the law of diminishing returns. Diminishing returns and the need for economic progress. Conservationism: a critique.

3. The Ecological Assault on Economic Progress. The hostility to economic progress. The claims of the environmental movement and its pathology of fear and hatred. The actual nature of industrial civilization. The environmental movement's hatred of it. The toxicity of environmentalism. The collectivist bias of environmentalism. Environmentalism and the externalities doctrine. The economic and philosophic significance of environmentalism. Environmentalism, the intellectuals, and socialism.

4. Environmentalism and Irrationalism. Environmentalism, the intellectuals, and socialism continued. Irrational skepticism. The destructive role of contemporary education. The cultural devaluation of man. Objectivism as the intellectual antidote to environmentalism.


Parts: 4

Handout: none


  • CD, 2018 (En)