Wednesday 11 August 2010

You can't write satire anymore

I wrote:
Sometime soon, we'll see a report showing that the social costs of skiing are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. It wouldn't be hard to produce a number that large. First, show frequent skiers are more likely to have accidents than recreational skiers.

Then, make the critical assumption that nobody could ever rationally decide to take risks - health is all that matters. Frequent skiers then are by definition irrational, and irrational people enjoy no benefits from their ski outings, no matter how happy they appear.

With this "zero benefits" assumption, every dollar spent on skiing by these harmful skiers is a social cost, as is the time these folks spend skiing. Add the realised costs from those folks who do have skiing accidents and you'd quickly have a number in the hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions.
Today Farrar points to the Herald drumming up more support for mandatory ski helmets. They started this push a few weeks ago.

A quick tally of comments there: 27 opposed to mandatory helmets, 2 favouring mandatory helmets for kids, 1 favouring compulsory private insurance for skiers, and 8 favouring mandatory helmets. Of the 8, 3 cited costs to the public health system as being the reason. I'm glad to see reasonably strong opposition. But we'll see how that number changes if ACC commissions some shonky outfit to tally the social costs of skiing.

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