Competitive Enterprise Institute honours U of T’s Pierre Desrochers with top award

Pierre Desrochers
Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 12:33pm
Sarah Jane Silva

Pierre Desrochers, associate professor of geography at the University of Toronto, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Julian L. Simon Memorial Award by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

Currently serving as the Interim Director of the Institute for Management & Innovation at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus, Desrochers will be presented the award at CEI’s annual dinner in Washington, D.C. on June 7 at the Marriott Marquis.

Beginning in 2001, CEI has honoured the legacy of free-market economist and professor Julian Simon by presenting the Julian L. Simon Memorial Award to an individual whose work supports the vision that man is the ultimate resource.

“Pierre is like Julian Simon in many ways in that he actually is data-driven; the facts help guide his research, and he looks for the facts that he needs to justify his research,” said Fred Smith, founder of the CEI and director of CEI’s Center for Advancing Capitalism.

“That’s why he’s been on our shortlist for a long time for this prize,” said Smith. “There are very few people in his field working to document what actually happened during the industrial revolution."

Originally trained in public policy, Desrochers eventually transferred to urban studies and geography after developing an interest in entrepreneurship, regional economic development and the geographical dimensions of technological innovation.

He has written a number of policy papers, and book reviews on topics ranging from forestry and climate change economics to housing and electricity distribution policy.

“This award is very meaningful to me because Julian Simon was a very strong influence on my thinking,” said Desrochers.

“I believe, paradoxically, that you can have your economic and environmental cake and eat it too, as long as we keep innovating, as long as we learn valuable skills, as long as we believe in doing better and doing more with less resources.”

Desrochers co-authored The Locavore’s Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet. He has also published over 200 op-eds and columns in publications such as The American, Salon.com, The Daily Beast, Spiked!, The Globe and Mail, the National Post, Reader's Digest (Canada), L'AGEFI, LeMonde.fr, major Quebec newspapers and several Quebec-based electronic outlets.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a nonprofit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principals of limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty.