Gale Pooley

Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth & Poverty


Superabundance in the Washington Times

A relentless advance toward superabundance
Escaping grinding deprivation has been the aspiration of humanity since the dawn of time. Now that many of the planet’s peoples are blessed with sufficient means of survival — and some with plenty — a trendy narrative threatens to turn the dream into a nightmare.

Superabundance Day

Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Gale Pooley's new book "Superabundance" is officially released today. It tells the story of population growth, innovation, and human flourishing on an infinitely bountiful planet.

The Greatest Inequality in America

The rich are 58 times richer than the poor.
Your perspective will determine what you see. If you compare yourself to someone today, you will always be a loser because it is easy to find people that are better off than you. If you compare yourself to people who lived in the past, you will always be a winner.

Refrigerator Abundance

For the time to earn the money to buy one refrigerator in 1956, you get over 13 today. While U.S. population doubled in the last 66 years it takes 85 percent less time to give everyone a refrigerator.
The next time you open your refrigerator to enjoy a cool beverage or a frozen dessert, thank all of our fellow human beings who work to discover and create little bits of knowledge each day that show up in the innovation abundance all around us.

Are We Running Out?

From 1980 to 2020, every one percent increase in population corresponded to a four percent increase in personal resource abundance and an eight percent increase in global resource abundance.
The quantity of things is important, but it’s the value of things that count. And value can change as fast as people can change their minds.

Elon Musk’s Learning Curves

Can he do for electricity what he's done for rockets and cars?
Musk is growing car and rocket knowledge every day. If he really wants to advance humanity let’s hope he can turn to generating green clean electricity knowledge next.

Work Less, Earn More, Live Longer

From 1856 to 1981 men in the U.K. got 174,720 more hours to enjoy life while incomes rose 383 percent.
In 1856 men in the U.K. had a life expectancy of around 58 years, or 502,860 life hours. According to a study by Professors Jesse Ausubel and Arnulf Grübler, over the course of their lives, these men typically spent around 30 percent of their time, or 149,700 hours working.

Cordless Drills on Sale: Buy One, Get 41.8 Free

Since 1961 when they were first introduced, the time price of a cordless drill has fallen by 97.7 Percent
Technically speaking, the first “cordless” drill was called a bit and brace drill invented hundreds of years ago. You can still buy one of these classics at Amazon for around $57.

Elon Musk Gets an A in Econ. Janet Yellen Gets a D-

63 million more Americans would increase GDP per capita by $20,000 and GDP by $12 trillion.
Elon Musk and Julian Simon are right. Janet Yellen and Thanos are wrong. More human beings create much more wealth for all of us to enjoy, if given the freedom to innovate by learning and discovering new valuable knowledge to share in free markets. Invest in people. We pay the highest dividends.

Visualizing Global Resource Abundance

Think pizzas. Personal resource abundance is the size of the slice. Global resource abundance is the size of the pie. Global resource abundance is the product of the size of the slice multiplied by the size of the population.

Nailing Innovation

Nail productivity has increased by 349,900 percent, in the last 250 years.
Professor Daniel Sichel from Emory Riddle University has published an interesting paper on nails. He found that before the Industrial Revolution, it took about a minute for a skilled blacksmith or nailsmith to produce one hand-forged nail. Today, a worker can produce 3,500 nails per minute.

Cornpreneurs Save Us From Davos Elites

Since 1936 U.S. population increased by 157.8 percent while corn yields increased by 573.1 percent.
You may want to try a worm with your next meal, but there is no reason to think we are running out of corn or the land to grow the food for making appetizing steaks, wings, and chops.

You get 22 bicycles today for the time price of one in 1910.

We have 345 percent more people on the planet today than 1910, but we are enjoying 9,725 percent more global bicycle abundance.
In 1910 you could buy a bicycle for $11.95 from the Sears Roebuck catalog. This sounds like a good deal until you realize that blue-collar hourly compensation (wages and benefits) was 18 cents an hour. This means that it would take 66.4 hours to earn the money to buy one bicycle.

Visualizing Christmas Abundance

The time price of an LG 65" OLED TV has fallen over 75 percent in five years.
Enjoying a beautiful display has become 305.8 percent more abundant, growing at a compound annual rate of around 32.3 percent a year. If this trend continues, the 65 inch display in 2026 will cost around 16.77 hours of work.

Kitchen Appliance Abundance

Comparing time prices in the 1980 Sears catalog to Walmart in 2020 indicates a 729 percent increase in abundance.
As you prepare your dinner this evening, take a moment and thank the many kitchen appliance innovators who have given every home an extra 47.63 hours of life to enjoy.

The Reason We Are So Rich Is That There Are So Many of Us

Larger markets allow fixed costs to approach zero in total cost per unit.
Adam Smith understood this back in 1776. If you want to get rich, have lots of people you can sell to. Large markets also allow people to develop their skills and specialize in such things as drug and software development.

How Learning Inverts the Supply Curve

With every doubling of total units sold, unit costs drop between 20 and 30 percent.
In economics the law of supply decrees that as price increases, the quantity supplied also increases. In other words, the classical supply curve is upward sloping. This is true in a world with no learning. But every time an additional unit is produced and acquired by a consumer, producers get better at making it and consumers get better at using it. Both parties are learning and growing the knowledge base.

More Interesting Thoughts About Time Prices

Time Prices can provide deeper perspectives.
Time prices offer a number of useful tools to provide additional perspectives on changes in abundance over time. Thinking in time can make much more sense than thinking in money.

Apple Created $103 Trillion in Consumer Value

We know the price of an iPhone, but vastly underestimate the value it creates for humanity.
ale University economist and co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics, William Nordhaus, estimated that producers capture around 2.2 percent of the benefits of technological advances. That would leave 97.8 percent of those benefits to the consumers of those products.