Free To Choose Network | Johan Norberg's New and Improved - Paper
Johan Norberg's New and Improved
Wednesday, January 25, 2023

In the Middle Ages, Europeans wrote on parchment made from animal skin. A single Bible required the skin of 250 sheep. As literacy swept Europe, scarcity became an issue. In this episode of Johan Norberg’s New and Improved, Norberg shares the story and lesson of paper.

Europeans switched from writing on animal skins to cotton parchment and then paper, each time employing a new technology that could feasibly meet demand. But with every shift, new industries emerged causing unprecedented demand and a fear of depleted resources.

Some hoarded paper as far back as the 1800s, fearing a depletion of wood for paper, but today the forests of Europe and the US are each bigger than in 1990. Once again, human ingenuity solved the problem, and now, screens have replaced a need for paper almost entirely.