The blind economist

The title of this post is a take on Bjorn Lamborg’s book. If you haven’t read it, don’t fret. Neither have I. I did however take a peek at the talk he delivered at TED 2007. Now it is on youtube and I could have embedded it, but it is my blog and I reserve the right to spare you from content I disapprove of šŸ™‚

I tried to leave a comment on youtube, however they have a 500 character limit on comments and what I had to say was more substantial. So here it is:

I’ve heard a bunch about this guy. This is the first time I’ve heard him speak. His assumptions are fallacious. Would we let economists (or any other “ists”) decide which problems in our families should be fixed first, based solely on the cost-benefit analysis? Replace ‘families’, with towns, cities, communities, socities … you get the idea. Point is, a cost-benefit analysis approach to life doesn’t really work. Some might say “well isn’t that what evolution is all about?”. WRONG! Evolution is about ‘trial and error’. A priori one cannot decide what is the inherent worth of any given solution. He says $150 billion a year for global warming is a lot of money to spend. Well yes. A lot of money was spent fighting Nazism and a lot of money was spent holding back communism.

Question: Should all problems/solutions to be worked on be “prioritized” according to a cost-benefit analysis?

Answer: NO

Maybe I’m completely wrong, but I have a bad feeling about Mr. Lomborg’s “solutions”.

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