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Tag Archives: cost-benefit analysis

Krikorian’s “Category Error”

During our last debate, an audience member asked Mark Krikorian if his arguments for restricting immigration of foreigners were also arguments for restricting the child-bearing of natives.  You might think that Mark would insist that native babies are somehow better than foreign adults.  How hard could it possibly be to craft such an argument?  However, Mark adamantly refused to compare the worths of different kinds of people.  Instead, he informed the questioner that...

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Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty: The New Republic

I’ve been waiting to read the fifth volume of Murray Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty for over 30 years.  Now my former student Patrick Newman, professor at Florida Southern College, has miraculously undeleted this “lost work.”  Patrick’s quasi-archaeological efforts are nothing short of amazing, but how does the actual book hold up? In the first four volumes of Conceived in Liberty, Rothbard tells the story of the American colonies’ rise, rebellion, and victory...

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Oksana Boyko Interviews Henderson on RT

The interview went 28 minutes and is here. I won’t do my usual time-stamping because I’m busy with other things. What I will point out is that approximately the first half is on my Wall Street Journal article, co-authored with Jonathan Lipow, that analyzed the findings of the major cost/benefit analyses of lockdowns and other measures that were in response to the coronavirus. We get into an interesting discussion of the value of a statistical life. It also gave me a...

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The Data Are In: It’s Time for Major Reopening

Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, an influential economic analysis from the University of Chicago concluded that the likely benefits of moderate social distancing would greatly exceed the resultant costs. The New York Times and the Washington Post recently cited that study as evidence that the use of strict lockdowns to control the virus’s spread has been justified, and that current efforts to “open up” social and economic activity around the U.S. are dangerous and...

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What I’m Doing

1. The U.S. political system is deeply dysfunctional, especially during this crisis.  Power-hunger reigns in the name of Social Desirability Bias.  Fear of punishment aside, I don’t care what authorities say.  They should heed my words, not the other way around. 2. Few private individuals are using quantitative risk analysis to guide their personal behavior.  Fear of personally antagonizing such people aside, I don’t care what they say either. 3. I am extremely...

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What I’m Thinking

1. Getting people to be rational about politics is an uphill battle during the best of times.  During a global hysteria, it’s hopeless. 2. Due to this doleful realization, I refrained from discussing the lockdown when it first emerged.  The best course, I deemed, was to wait for readers to simmer down. 3. Since many have now simmered down, here’s what I was thinking three months ago. 4. I was convinced that coronavirus was a dire threat by early March, but I opposed...

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Too Terrified to Talk About It

I recently compared the fear of contracting coronavirus to the fear of sexual harassment accusations: Am I really comparing the risk of contracting coronavirus with the risk of being accused of sexual harassment?  Verily, because the parallels are loud and strong. In both cases, people use social distancing for risk reduction.  In both cases, the risk of most specific interactions is low.  At the same time, however, people encounter an endless succession of risky...

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Reflections on the Krikorian-Caplan Soho Forum Debate

Thanks again to Gene Epstein and Reason for sponsoring last week’s immigration debate between myself and Mark Krikorian.  Thanks to Mark, too, for debating before an unsympathetic audience.  The resolution, you may recall, was: The current pandemic makes it all the more necessary for the federal government to tighten restrictions on immigration. Here are my extra thoughts on the exchange. 1. I was stunned that Mark did not think we should limit immigration to help...

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