Thursday , November 26 2020
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# Some Links

Summary:
Nick Gillespie talks with the great t.v. and documentary producer Bob Chitester. My GMU Econ colleague Bryan Caplan writes insightfully about how to adjust prevention to differences in levels of danger. A slice: Should we infer, then, that the War on COVID is prudent after all?  Hardly.  Sure, non-linearity makes sense when you raise a high risk.  But approximate linearity still makes sense when you raise a low risk.  If you disvalue a 1% risk of death at 0,000, would you really require far more than 0,000 for a 1.1% risk?  Would you really require far less than ,000 for a .9% risk?  Remember, non-linearity is symmetric: If X increases faster than linearly, X should also fall faster than linearly. Remember, moreover, that you face a long list of risks.  They add up to a scary

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Should we infer, then, that the War on COVID is prudent after all?  Hardly.  Sure, non-linearity makes sense when you raise a high risk.  But approximate linearity still makes sense when you raise a low risk.  If you disvalue a 1% risk of death at \$100,000, would you really require far more than \$110,000 for a 1.1% risk?  Would you really require far less than \$90,000 for a .9% risk?  Remember, non-linearity is symmetric: If X increases faster than linearly, X should also fall faster than linearly.

Remember, moreover, that you face a long list of risks.  They add up to a scary sum, but taken individually, even broad risks (e.g. “all accidents” or “all contagious disease”) are typically modest.  So while it might be wise to take great efforts to halve your total risk, taking great efforts to halve any specific risk remains foolish.

The burden of proof is on those who wish to continue what seems to be a failed experiment with lockdowns. However, the rhetoric of those critical of the Great Barrington Declaration has shown a concerning amount of inconsistency. We are told that lockdowns are only temporary, but also we need to hunker down for the long haul. Lockdowns are only to relieve hospital capacity but also we need to stay locked down until cases are lower. We shouldn’t reopen society but also society is already reopening so the Great Barrington Declaration is baseless. Don’t politicize Covid-19 but also we should be wary of the Great Barrington Declaration because Libertarians like it.

“They know they have an uphill battle,” said the Mercatus Center’s Brent Skorup. “Most of Google’s services are offered for free to consumers, so authorities will need compelling evidence of anticompetitive agreements or harm to consumers.”

The Amazing (James) Randi has died. (I met him at a party in northern Virginia about seven or eight years ago and relished my conversation with him.)

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He is a professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Previously, he was president of the Foundation for Economic Education.