Chelsea Follett: Joining me today is Dr. Stephen Barrows, the Chief Operating Officer at the Acton Institute. Prior to his role Acton, he served as the Executive Vice President, Provost and Dean of Faculty at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was also a tenured Associate Professor of Economics and while at Aquinas, he taught undergraduate, graduate courses in economics, and he was previously also an economics professor at the United States Air Force Academy, and he is an expert on among other things, population economics, which is definitely a hot topic right now. So before we dive into that, how are you?

Stephen Barrows: I’m doing great, thanks Chelsea. It’s a pleasure to be here today.

Chelsea Follett: Thank you for joining me. So, with the world population, having just recently surpassed 8 billion people, there has been considerable debate about the consequences of this unprecedented level of population size and worries about population growth have been very much in the means recently, but of course, those aren’t new. Can you start us out by just walking through the history of concerns about population growth and where those come from?

Stephen Barrows: Yes, absolutely. Well, thanks. It’s a, like I say, it’s a topic of interest of mine, and when you think about population, you’re right, today there’s a lot of concern. In fact, individuals are repeatedly pointing to, say the damage that is done to the environment because of humanities impact on resources in the environment, and those concerns are actually traceable at least back to Thomas Robert Malthus. So Malthus was in the UK in the late 18th century. He wrote his famous book called ‘On the Principle of Population,’ and it went through several editions, and what Malthus was concerned about as he observed the environment around him is that as population continues to grow, it would grow at a geometric rate, and unfortunately, the resources of the Earth, particularly food would only grow at an arithmetic rate, and as a result, he said, look, there’s gonna be a limit to population that is limited by basically misery and starvation and famine and plague, and so there’s quite a bit of interaction by other scholars with Malthus’ work back during that time, and that continues today, where individuals almost call it a Malthusian zombie as it were, the concern that never dies, and Malthus did have some reasons to be concerned, he would see poverty and he would see lack of resources, but unfortunately he was short-sighted in not seeing the other side of the ledger. And that is what do humans bring to the table that help us overcome population pressures.

Chelsea Follett: And you wrote an article a while back, but it’s still very relevant in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology titled The Law of Population and the Austrian School. How Austrian economists interacted with Thomas Robert Malthus. Could you walk through some of the reactions from economists, the proto Austrians, the early Austrians, and the next generation to these Malthusian ideas? How were they received?

Stephen Barrows: Sure. So generally speaking, I’ll back up a little bit. Economists in general, tend to be a bit more optimistic about population growth than say ecologists, there are a variety of reasons for that, and not all economists are pro-population growth, but generally speaking, they see a different dimension to human activity than what you might find from environmentalists and other experts in different fields. So if you take a look at the Austrian school specifically, now this is a group of economists that are known for their promotion of individual ingenuity, entrepreneurship, property rights, a subjective theory of value, and if you go back to some of the earliest, What I call proto-Austrians, as you referred to individuals like Jean-Baptiste Say, Frederic Bastiat, they began to interact with Malthus’ work and acknowledged some truths behind what he was saying. So for example, there’s a well-known concept in economics known as the law of diminishing returns, and so as you take the resources of the Earth and begin to employ, say, agricultural land for the production of crops, you’re gonna use the most productive land first, and then eventually as you have to expand agricultural production, you use the less fertile land afterwards, and as you do that, yields tend to decline, and so there’s something very true about the concern of pressure on theorist resources in that regard, but at the same time, these proto-Austrians emphasize that human ingenuity is not static.

Stephen Barrows: Individuals actually adapt to their circumstances and find new ways to make the Earth’s resources more productive, and so even going back to those early proto-Austrians, they emphasized human ingenuity, they emphasized our reason and our ability to adapt to our circumstances in ways that you don’t see in the animal kingdom per se, we’re not just reacting to our environment, we’re actually thinking forward, and so that’s what some of the proto-Austrians had referred to.

Chelsea Follett: Right, and then the early Austrians continued to engage with Malthus’ arguments. How did they engage with them?

Stephen Barrows: Correct, so if you take a look at, say, the late 19th century, you’ll find individuals like Böhm-Bawerk and Friedrich Wieser, these are really the first generation of Austrians coming out of Vienna, and they emphasize other factors, of course, they would reiterate some of the things that were found in those proto-Austrians, so Böhm-Bawerk also emphasized that there’s something about the interest rate that regulates prices through time, and so when you think about it as population grows and you have to make use of resources in the environment, you will accommodate your future versus present time preference through what the interest rate effectively regulates that price, individuals trying to decide whether or not they’re going to invest in new production techniques that would increase output in the future.

Stephen Barrows: The interest rate naturally regulates those preferences, and so that alone helps us to accommodate some of the pressures that you find in population growth, and then similarly, Friedrich Wieser had pointed out that in his own day, there was a significant increase in yields on the land and the produce of the land, and that was by virtue of technology improvements. And so once again, they would emphasize that human beings are unique, and whether it be the market prices through the interest rate or their own technology advances, that would also help the Earth become more productive at the hands of individuals.

Chelsea Follett: And then when you get to the second generation of Austrian economists, what was their response?

Stephen Barrows: So the second generation, and by those individuals, I think of the folks like Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Murray Rothbard, economists like them had pointed out some of the same things that their predecessors had pointed out, but there are a few other things that I thought were kind of unique to the 20th century Austrians. And that is for one thing, they really emphasize in more and more the division of labor. So when you think about it, the division of labor has been an important factor in human progress and economic progress, dating all the way back to Adam Smith’s explanation of the importance of the division of labor in a pin factory, so in the wealth of nations, he pointed out that an individual trying to make pins can only make a few a day, but if you divide up those tasks of pin-making across individuals doing specific tasks, they can make many, many more.

Stephen Barrows: Well, the same true principle holds across all types of production, and so individuals being unique with unique gifts and talents, if they specialized in what they do best, you can have things, production that benefits population as a whole. And so Mises pointed this out that the division of labor helps us to overcome the pressures on the Earth’s resources because individuals can specialize and be more productive.

Stephen Barrows: Now, Murray Rothbard, one of the things that I found to be particularly interesting is that he said that if you talk about over-population, that actually presupposes an optimum population. And so the question becomes, well, what is the optimum population? And is it fixed? And the answer is, well, no, not really, because the environment is changing all of the time. You have individual knowledge and technology changing constantly, and so the so-called optimum population or whatever that might be, is also constantly changing, so when people refer to over or under population, it really is just a theoretical concept and nothing that we can really tangibly point to in our concrete experience, and so I thought that was a really helpful note that Murray Rothbard had pointed out. So again, these like all of the Austrians, Mises and Rothbard, emphasized that the free economy, making use of the division of labor, an emphasis on private property rights, that kind of socio-economic environment helps us to overcome the law of diminishing returns which a growing population would create pressures on the Earth’s resources.

Chelsea Follett: So economists have been pushing back on this idea in various ways, but one of the more recent prominent examples is of course, the bet between the late University of Maryland economist, Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich. Could you remind our listeners about that?

Stephen Barrows: Yes, absolutely. By the way, there’s a great book by Paul Sabin on this topic called ‘The Bet,’ and it goes to the history of this bet and the interactions between Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich. So of course, Ehrlich being an entomologist who had written ‘The Population Bomb’ back in 1968, made all sorts of apocalyptic predictions about mass famine and so forth, and Julian Simon around the same time had also investigative population and initially had thought the population growth was detrimental to the Earth’s resources, and as he began to examine the empirical data, he saw that his concerns were misplaced, that in fact population growth is associated with economic improvement over time, and so as they began debating back and forth, it got to the point where Julian Simon had proposed a bet and said, look, I believe that over time, the way that we can measure whether or not, population growth is gonna be harmful is what’s gonna happen to the price of resources, so if you think about population growth and the demand on the Earth’s resources, one of the basic economic concepts is that as demand increases, if supply is fixed, you will see the price of things go up.

Stephen Barrows: Simon said, that’s not the full story. As prices increase, individuals are gonna be incentivized to find new supply, and they’re also gonna need to be incentivized to substitute their demand towards other resources and accommodate those price increases, and so he thought that over time the population growth would actually create incentives to innovate and you’d see those prices fall. Well, Ehrlich took him up on the bet, he offered the choice of five, I think different commodities to create a price index from those commodities, and over a 10-year period, watch what happens to the price index, and it went to the period, which I think 1980 to 1990. And yeah, Simon had bet that the price index would fall, and Julian, excuse me, Paul Ehrlich said that it would rise and of course, it ended up being that Julian Simon was correct and Paul Ehrlich lost the bet. So there was really no commentary after that except that Paul Ehrlich wrote the check and Simon was happy to have been proven right.

Chelsea Follett: Right. And more recent research has continued to vindicate Simon’s thinking for those who follow this podcast and still are not familiar with the Simon abundance index, I urge you to check it out, as well as my colleague, Marian Tupy’s book ‘Superabundance’ that delves deeper into this, but…

Stephen Barrows: Absolutely, if I could… Could I elaborate on it. I mean…

Chelsea Follett: Oh please do.

Stephen Barrows: I can’t endorse enough Tupy and Pooley’s book. ‘Superabundance’ is terrific, and I haven’t read part three, but I’ve gotten through all the rest of it, and once again, they point out so incisively how the Earth’s resources are actually becoming more abundant and the thing that I find particularly helpful about how they demonstrate this is, if you think about abundance versus scarcity, one of the effective ways of measuring that is through how much time does it take for a person to work to acquire certain fundamental resources, whether it be food or housing or transportation or what have you, and so if you measure in terms of time, you see that over time, individuals have required less time to acquire their basic fundamental needs, and this is consistent over decades, even centuries, and they point this out so very well from so many different angles. So if anybody… Again, as Chelsea points out, I would strongly encourage people to take a look at that book or the sources that she cites, because it really does demonstrate how the Earth’s resources from an individual standpoint, we’re becoming wealthier over time.

Chelsea Follett: Which brings us to the question of why that is? What is the relationship between population and prosperity. And I know this is a topic of interest to you as well. So how would you explain that relationship?

Stephen Barrows: Yes. So I would say this, when people think of population growth, I think too often, they think in terms of stomachs and not minds. Okay, so let me elaborate on that a bit. Population, we do know that human beings have needs, and so they’re gonna need to consume for their survival, for their well-being, and so when you think that the Earth is a finite thing in terms of its concrete material sense, it’s finite, but when you add the concept of the human mind, you have something that’s infinite, there’s no limit to ideas and ingenuity, and when you combine the human mind with finite fixed material resources, you can turn those material resources into an effectively infinite potential. And so that’s why when you have population growth, if you think first in terms of human minds rather than stomachs, you can see that human beings, more of them bring more ideas, and history has demonstrated time and time again that ideas trump the stomach as it were. The mind trumps the stomach. We find ways to provide and make use of the fruits of the Earth to help us grow and be prosperous.

Chelsea Follett: And there’s another ingredient to that story too, right, because people have always had ideas, that’s only when you have the freedom to actually put those ideas into practice and test them in a market system that you can get the sustained innovation…

Stephen Barrows: Absolutely.

Chelsea Follett: That’s helped us fight resource scarcity.

Stephen Barrows: Absolutely, so when you take a look at different types of economic systems, and namely, I’m thinking in terms of those which promote individual private property and the defense of private property and the ability of people to make use of their property and their gifts and talents to innovate and improve their condition versus those environments where property is not respected, the individual human freedom is not respected, you see that certainly an environment where you have free commerce, free exchange, and the defensive private property rights in the rule of law, that’s what enables people to innovate and to prosper. So yes, time and again, we see that to be the case.

Chelsea Follett: And then you get phenomenal dematerialization where we can do more than less rising crop yields through advances building off of the Green Revolution, but shifting to where we are today in the popular press, there is a lot of doom and gloom around this issue. How would you describe the current popular thinking on this topic?

Stephen Barrows: Yes, unfortunately now the popular thinking, again, thinks of individuals primarily as consumers as opposed to creators, and we now have this thing called the so-called Carbon legacy. Now, of course, we all need to be good environmental stewards, we need to address environmental problems, but it’s now becoming part of the collective psyche that human beings are a burden, at least that’s what you find in the apocalyptic environmental literature, which is then sometimes promoted in various forms of media, and unfortunately that has… Initial studies indicate that that has influenced people’s willingness to have children, or at least their expressed willingness to have children. So that’s a concern. If you take a look at the dangers associated with population decline, there’s a whole another set of challenges that have come with that, and so individuals unfortunately, are I think being dissuaded from the goodness of population growth because of this apocalyptic languages being used. Your so-called Carbon legacy. In fact, I think there was an article that was published in a British newspaper about five years ago that said, the best thing that you can do to fight climate change is to not have children or something along those lines, which that’s a wrong way about thinking about human beings.

Chelsea Follett: Right and people who otherwise want children are being dissuaded from having children based on a false premise. A false sort of declensionist narrative, then that’s concerning to their own happiness as well.

Stephen Barrows: Absolutely.

Chelsea Follett: So there’s clearly a gap then, between this alarmist message about the relationship between population growth and environmental stewardship, saying more people are harmful to the planet, it’s unsustainable, you shouldn’t have children, and they’re just a burden, versus the view that more and more economists have expressed in different ways. What do you think accounts for this gap and how can we narrow it?

Stephen Barrows: I think there’s something almost our instincts, because we do see that we live in a world where we can’t have everything we want, economics is largely based on the premise of you have a scarce environment and prices are then regulating that scarce environment and the supply and demand for various goods and services. And so I think people think in terms of that tension, that we’re all competing over a fixed pie, and they don’t think in terms of collaboration, cooperation, competition, causing the pie to grow, and you had reference Dematerialization which, another great book out there, McAfee has a book, I’m blanking on his first name at the moment, but yes, he talks, ‘More From Less’ is his book, and he points out that we have actually reached the point where we decoupled in many respects, economic growth from the use of resources, and if you think about all the different things that we have created over the past several decades, such as you know the smartphone, just think of all of the material objects that we no longer have to produce because we all have it in the palm of our pocket, palm of our hand.

Stephen Barrows: So this Dematerialization phenomenon is yet again another example of human ingenuity overcoming some of the challenges that we face on a materially finite planet. So hopefully as through the good work that you’re doing with HumanProgress and the Cato Institute, the publications like Superabundance, we need to counter the narrative, because unfortunately, the negative narrative is not correct.

Chelsea Follett: And it can have some very negative effects beyond even depriving people from having the number of children that they want and enjoying that or depriving the world of the economic growth and the new ideas those children would have produced. There are also, I know you pointed out in talks you’ve given about this, the negative policies that have come out of this way of thinking, like China’s one child, then two child, now, three child policy, and you can see with the current trends of births per women also potential impacts on implications for the global dependency ratio. Inflation. Could you walk through some of the economic implications of declining birth rates, and also talk about some of the negative policies that we’ve seen come out of this way of thinking.

Stephen Barrows: Sure, of course, you reference the most horrific, which was the grave violation of human rights in China with its long-standing one child policy and now even still limiting children to three children, I suppose that’s an improvement, but nevertheless, it’s too little, too late. They should remove the policy entirely, and frankly, they’ve already reached peak workforce and likely peak population, and I am quite bearish on China’s future because I think that it’s already kind of been baked in, they can’t suddenly say, wow, we need a bunch of more 30-year-olds. Sorry, that time has passed, you’re not gonna get a lot more 30-year-olds unless you get a large number immigrants coming at that age, and so yes, there are these unfortunate policies, history, there’s been forced sterilizations in history by various governments like India, and that’s been terribly unfortunate from a human rights standpoint, but then from an economic standpoint, it does create all sorts of other distortions and harms.

Stephen Barrows: One of the things that has been pointed out in this case, a great book called ‘The Great Demographic Reversal,’ Goodhart, and I forgot his colleagues, co-author’s name, but they point out that as you see, that not only does population growth matter, but the shape of the global population matters. It matters whether or not the distribution of people in your population skew young or old. And as you have individuals change that as the population changes shape, you’re gonna actually have potentially some inflationary pressures, which is to say fewer workers producing and yet an older demographic still consuming, and as you have that phenomenon, you could see then prices rise. And I think we’re finding in China and other places, you’re just not seeing the same kind of lower wages, competitive wages, because you have lots of workers in the workforce, and you don’t, of course, have the ingenuity and productivity in the division of labor you would have had you not had those kinds of policies.

Chelsea Follett: And do you give… I know you gave a seminar this year for Acton University called the Triumph of Population Growth, and you speak on these issues regularly. What kind of reaction do you get when you push back against the over-population narrative?

Stephen Barrows: So it’s interesting, I get a couple of reactions sometimes in the context of where I’m giving the lecture, you find people who are generally favorable to the message that population growth is a good thing, and so they’re happy to hear somebody give concrete examples of why that’s the case and maybe help them articulate why that’s the case, but what I actually appreciate the most when I give this kind of a lecture is when I find an individual who has maybe been persuaded by the so-called Carbon legacy that people are imposing upon the planet. When I give them the statistics and the data and show them why it is good for the economy, good for the planet to have more individuals solve problems and create. I’ll have them come up to me and say, I’ve never heard that before. And it actually, in one case, I had an individual saying, “You know, I’ve thought that we’d wanna have more kids. But I said, I can’t do that because it’s gonna be bad for the planet. Now I feel like I can actually have another child.” I’m like, “Well, that’s great.” So you can be as pro-data list as you want or not, but you don’t want individuals to make those decisions on the basis of a false narrative, and so it’s great to find individuals who come up to me and say, “Thank you, I had not realized how the common narrative out there about population growth being harmful is actually not the case.”

Stephen Barrows: And I will say this is of course, in the aggregate, you can find certainly instances where population can be a burden in the local economy, instances where individuals are malnourished, all those things are real, and so we don’t want to conflate the macroeconomic reality with certain specific circumstances, but it is good to hear people be persuaded that human beings are good for the Earth and economic prosperity.

Chelsea Follett: And it’s shocking that there are so many people who’ve never even heard that argument when there’s nothing close to a consensus among economists, as he pointed out that over-population is this terrible problem the way many people imagine. What do you think accounts for this disconnect and how can we overcome that and help more people to engage with these economic arguments suggesting that this impending doom may not actually be a real concern.

Stephen Barrows: I think there’s a number of potential reasons, psychological, and otherwise, I’m sure that individuals are generally attracted and negative stories and apocalyptic stories are attention-grabbing, and so I think there’s just that natural phenomenon that people tend to be attracted to the negative news. There’s another thing, I think it was Michael Shellenberger in his book, Apocalypse Now, had pointed out that there is a subset of people within the environmental movement who have actually kind of turned it into a quasi-religion. It gives them the reason for being, it gives them a purpose, it gives them a focus that then they spread with Evangelical zeal, and so when you have those voices really promoting an apocalyptic, “If we don’t stop population growth now we’re all doomed”, then I think that some people will hear that message and they don’t have enough counter-voices to suggest otherwise.

Chelsea Follett: Right. And of course, it’s not all environmentalists, you do have people like Shellenberger and then the eco-modernists, I think is the label they prefer, who have a less pessimistic view of humanities ability to protect the environment with innovation. What got you interested in this topic initially, I know that it’s something that you have been studying that you’ve been interested in for a while now?

Chelsea Follett: I don’t know exactly the origin of my interest, except to say when I began to look at the negative messages about population growth, it didn’t strike me as being correct, and full disclosure, I happen to have five children in my own life, I’ve shown myself to be pronate in that regard, but in the end, I just thought, this seems to be an awfully negative view the the human person, and so as an economist I would look at this and say, you know, I think this is just not correct, and more economists like myself need to be the counter voice that says, Hey, don’t look at individuals first and foremost as a consumer, look at an individual as a co-creator, we work together, the division of labor, we actually have improved our condition, and frankly, the empirical facts tell us otherwise. Over time, we see tremendous prosperity accompanying population growth, and we need to think first and foremost as individuals as creators and not simply consumers.

Chelsea Follett: While there certainly is a lot of alarmism around this topic and a lot of undue negativity, there may also, we may be reaching a bit of a turning point where more people are starting to see the positives as well. If you look at the UN’s announcement, when we passed 8 billion people in the global population, it actually described it as a positive thing, and I saw more and more news coverage of that milestone, that was positive compared to what I would have expected, given the way rhetoric on this topic usually is, but that might be just my subjective impression. Do you get the sense that people are starting to question the alarmist over-population narrative as well?

Stephen Barrows: You know, I do get that sense. And again, I don’t know whether that’s sort of a selection bias on my part because I’m looking for some of those things, but I will say that I do think one of the things that might be causing people to shift… So for example, I think it was in 2015, the New York Times published a mini-documentary called, I think it was the failed Population Bomb fears or something like that. So they had acknowledged that there was this huge fear mongering back during The Population Bomb with Paul Ehrlich and it just never materialized. The Population Bomb that never was. And so I think people are realizing, first of all, all of the negative prophecies of hundreds of millions of people dying of starvation, never happened. So they’re pausing. Why did this ever happen? And now you’re seeing, especially in the developed world, countries get concerned about low fertility rates and what that means for social insurance systems, or what that means for public policy in general, and so people are now at least looking at the other side of the equation, what does it mean, if we have declining population, places like Japan, Singapore, etcetera. So I think that could be motivating people to stop and say, maybe population growth isn’t the concern that we once thought it was.

Chelsea Follett: Yeah. I think that that makes a lot of sense. What do you think… You then hear the flip side concern, sometimes you hear people talking about a potential population collapse, and it’s certainly true that in advanced economies today birth rates are below replacements and they’re falling just about everywhere, and so if all the countries in the world become wealthy one day as we would hope, they might all end up on that same trajectory, and you could end up even with global sub-replacement fertility at some point. We’re not there yet, that’s a very long-term concern obviously, but some people also will talk about that in a somewhat alarmist way, as though it were an immediate concern, what do you think about the potential effects of falling birth rates and population decline. What’s your take on that?

Stephen Barrows: So I do think… So a couple of things. I do think because population growth is good, population decline creates a set of challenges that need to be addressed. I do think that through innovation, individuals and societies can adapt to falling populations, so for example, or let’s say also aging population. So in Japan, they’ve taken steps to increase the viability of an individual working in the workforce into very old age, so even in manual labor jobs which require a lot of strength, they’ve created innovative-like exoskeletons to help individuals who you wouldn’t normally see working in an environment like that to be able to continue to work even though their bodies may not by themselves, be able to handle that kind of work. And so there’s innovative responses that the marketplace can do. At the same time as a general rule, low fertility rates do create concerns because you have a lack of new ideas coming in the pipeline, so to speak. Innovation often comes from the younger ages, and you find a decline as you get older, and that’s just sort of the natural cycle of humanity, and so hopefully we won’t see global population decline because I don’t think we’ve ever seen gradual global population decline in history. We’ve seen shocks to population, plagues, etcetera, but we’ve never seen steady decline across the globe, and we nobody really knows what that entails.

Chelsea Follett: Right, and that would certainly represent a dramatic reversal from what we’ve been seeing recently, all the evidence of population growth going hand in hand with the decline in extreme poverty. It’s interesting to see how that would play out. Why…

Stephen Barrows: If you think about it… Think about it this way, I keep asking myself, well, what happens if the global population starts to decline as a whole. And you have problems, well, you look to people to solve problems, right, you look to people to find out solutions to your problems, and as you have fewer people to tap from, you don’t have the kind of ingenuity and innovation and division of labor that you have before, so that’s why, hey, population growth is a good thing, and you wanna have people to help solve problems.

Chelsea Follett: Absolutely, and it’s important to point out again that this is hypothetical right now, birth rates are declining, but the actual population itself is still growing and will be for some time. Some growth is baked in. And two, and on a sort of positive human progress that all of this whole conversation has been very much in line with the ethos of human progress. Why do you believe that humanity is our most valuable economic resource?

Stephen Barrows: Yes, so a couple of things. And coming from a Christian background, I see humanity as the most important resource because there’s an inherent dignity to us as created human beings. So that certainly is at the top of the list, and at the same time, you have co-creators, individuals who are there to observe their environment, innovate, serve one another through the marketplace, ’cause that’s what… That’s what work is, you’re serving others through your labors, and as much as the rest of the created order and the environment are positive things, human beings have the ability to use their reason, and if the environment is right, they have property rights, they have their human rights respected, they can create prosperity, not only for themselves, but for others as well, just like Adam Smith used to say, it’s through our own interest that we end up serving others in the process.

Chelsea Follett: Right, I don’t think anyone thinks human beings are merely valuable for economic reasons but why do you think, economically speaking, from your economics backgrounds, human beings do also remain the most important, a factor for economic prosperity?

Stephen Barrows: Yes, well, in the end, the Earth itself is basically inert right, it’s not gonna create prosperity for anyone. You may have other species that are living in their own environment, beavers that are building dams and doing things that are good for themselves, but in the end, those beavers aren’t gonna create skyscrapers for you, they’re not gonna create an iPhone for you, they’re not gonna actually plant a field for you. And so human beings do that by the act of their will, their mind, their human ingenuity. They’re the only ones that can actually contribute to that kind of progress.

Chelsea Follett: I hope that view more and more widespread. Thank you so much, Stephen.

Stephen Barrows: Yeah, you bet. It’s been a pleasure Chelsea, thanks for inviting me on.

Chelsea Follett: Thank you.