Wednesday 28 April 2010

Colby is annoyed

Colby Cosh is annoyed with a typical healthist report in Alberta noting the social costs of traffic accidents. Of course a world without traffic accidents would be preferable if we could simply wish it so at zero cost. But in the real world, we're typically trading safety against other goals like getting places in reasonable time. The latter has benefits, and if we base policy solely on the goal of harm minimization, we do violence to optimization.

Some day there needs to be a report on the harms of harm reports that reckon the costs of X against a counterfactual of costlessly avoiding X. The public hear the numbers, assume that they've accounted for benefits forgone, and public opinion shifts towards greater regulation.

No comments:

Post a Comment