(Source: Mark Perry at the American Institute for Economic Research)
Over that period (1980-2018), the world’s population rose by 71.2 percent, yet the average working time required to earn enough money to buy 50 kinds of energy, food, raw materials, and metals fell by 71.6 percent. Put differently, the amount of effort required to buy 1 basket of the 50 commodities in 1980 bought 3.5 baskets in 2018. As we will explain, abundance occurs when the nominal hourly income increases faster than the nominal price of a resource. Furthermore, when the abundance of resources grows at a faster rate than population increases, we call that relationship “superabundance.” This relationship between population growth and the abundance of resources is deeply counterintuitive, yet it is no less true.
Marian L. Tupy is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, coauthor of Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know: And Many Others You Will Find Interesting, coauthor of the Simon Abundance Index, and editor of the website HumanProgress.org.