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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I'll bet on it

In 1980, Julian Simon proposed a bet to anyone who would take him up on it. He proposed betting that the price of any natural resource would go down over the long term. Doomsayer Paul Ehrlich eagerly accepted the bet and picked a bundle of five metals and a period of 10 years was agreed to as the length of the bet. Simon won handily ten years later, with the prices of all the metals dropping dramatically.

In today's column, John Tierney discusses a bet he's made with Matthew Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. Simmons agrees to bet that the price of oil per barrel will triple in five years.

On the one hand, I admire Simmons for putting his money where his mouth is, but on the other hand, I feel sorry for him because there is almost no doubt that he's going to lose. As long as the Feds don't enact some truly stupid policies, there is no way that prices will triple over the long run.

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