The 100 Greatest Trends Of The Twentieth Century

julian simon

There have been many economists nicknamed Doctor Doom.

But we’ve only heard of one Doomslayer.

Julian Simon (1932-1998) was a leading proponent of human progress and ingenuity. In 1980 he made a famous wager against the bearish Paul Ehrlich that commodity prices would decrease over the decade, which he won.

One of his last publications, co-authored with Stephen Moore, was It’s Getting Better All the Time: 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 years.

Although this book is controversial, with critics saying Simon uses misleading timelines and ignores things like inflation when convenient, it contains many undeniably great trends. We picked out our favourites, with permission from publisher Cato.

Eradicating the killer diseases throughout the ages

Getting more fun out of life: recreational spending

Air travel makes the world a smaller place

People travel much more than they used to

The Green Revolution proves Malthus wrong

Thank you for not smoking: Americans quit the habit

The diffusion of democracy and human rights

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