Saturday, January 22, 2022


People are bad at evaluating risks, which is both true and the kind of thing dumbasses often say, thinking they have a devasting point about how stupid other people are when they don't. The main issue is there are benefit/costs of all behaviors that are personal and unknowable. There are more things than are dreamt of than in the numbers you made up for your fake cost benefit analysis, Nate.

Some people think skydiving is worth the risk because it sounds awesome, some people don't. Some people think going to work in a meatpacking plant in the middle of a pandemic is worth the risk, BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE ANY FUCKING CHOICE IF THEY WANT TO EAT, and some don't. I don't like to drive, in part because I think it's dangerous (it is!), but I've also arranged my life so I largely don't have to. Rarely driving is not especially costly for me, unlike many people. Do any of us have perfect measures of these costs and benefits? Of course not.

It is a funny thing how economist-types begin with the premise that people are rational decision makers with perfect information, and then love to come up with examples of people who are, to them, behaving stupidly. Sometimes in the same Econ 101 class! There were over 3500 covid deaths in in the US yesterday. No one knows their own personal risk, or the precise benefit of things like mask wearing, so it's hardly crazy that some people are a bit wary and hardly crazy that people think a bit of mask wearing might be the non-asshole thing to do.

Of course it isn't just the risk of death. Getting covid sucks for many even if there are no serious long term consequences! Extra bad if you have no or shitty health insurance and no sick pay! Extra bad if you have kids to take care of!