Michael Shellenberger decries the fanaticism and danger of too many of today’s ‘climate activists.’ (HT Tim Townsend)

Arnold Kling understands much better than does Jason Furman the case for free markets. A slice:

Furman comes close to making what I call the straw-man argument against libertarianism and for technocracy. That argument goes:

  1. Libertarianism relies on markets.
  2. Markets are optimal only under conditions of perfect competition.
  3. The conditions for perfect competition are rarely satisfied.
  4. There are many instances of market failure.
  5. Therefore, libertarianism does not work.

This argument constantly emanates from economists of Harvard and MIT and their disciples. Students and journalists, who are inclined to resent markets and despise libertarians, feel vindicated when they hear this argument. They come away believing that markets are never any good, even when professors who teach this way, like Jason Furman, are less dogmatically anti-market.

What is wrong with the argument? Step (2) is a swindle. It sneaks in the assumption that markets have to be optimal in order to be preferable to government intervention.

Instead, long ago I offered the aphorism “Markets fail. Use markets.” That is, I readily concede that the market economy is not at some theoretical optimum. The question is what will lead to improvement. I believe that government intervention will often make things worse. Meanwhile, entrepreneurial innovation and creative destruction tends to solve economic problems, including market failures.

James Pethokoukis offers some worthwhile thoughts about capitalism and inequality.

Bjorn Lomborg is here a bearer of good news.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Northwestern University law professor John O. McGinnis argues that the U.S. Supreme Court should have an easy time preventing race-based discrimination at U.S. universities. A slice:

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear two cases on Oct. 31 about whether universities have illegally discriminated against Asian-Americans. In both cases, Students for Fair Admission asks the court to overturn Grutter v. Bollinger, the 2003 case that held the pursuit of diversity satisfies the strict scrutiny required to overcome the constitutional presumption against discrimination under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

But the justices can put a stop to racial preferences without reaching the constitutional question. Universities are required to abide by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is unambiguous about preferential admission on the basis of race. The provision reads simply: “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Here’s the abstract of a new paper by Angelo Maria Pezzullo, Cathrine Axfors, DespinaContopoulos-Ioannidis, Alexandre Apostolatos, and John P.A. Ioannidis: (HT Jeffrey Tucker)

The infection fatality rate (IFR) of COVID-19 among non-elderly people in the absence of vaccination or prior infection is important to estimate accurately, since 94% of the global population is younger than 70 years and 86% is younger than 60 years. In systematic searches in SeroTracker and PubMed (protocol: https://osf.io/xvupr), we identified 40 eligible national seroprevalence studies covering 38 countries with pre-vaccination seroprevalence data. For 29 countries (24 high-income, 5 others), publicly available age-stratified COVID-19 death data and age-stratified seroprevalence information were available and were included in the primary analysis. The IFRs had a median of 0.035% (interquartile range (IQR) 0.013 – 0.056%) for the 0-59 years old population, and 0.095% (IQR 0.036 – 0.125%,) for the 0-69 years old. The median IFR was 0.0003% at 0-19 years, 0.003% at 20-29 years, 0.011% at 30-39 years, 0.035% at 40-49 years, 0.129% at 50-59 years, and 0.501% at 60-69 years. Including data from another 9 countries with imputed age distribution of COVID-19 deaths yielded median IFR of 0.025-0.032% for 0-59 years and 0.063-0.082% for 0-69 years. Meta-regression analyses also suggested global IFR of 0.03% and 0.07%, respectively in these age groups. The current analysis suggests a much lower pre-vaccination IFR in non-elderly populations than previously suggested. Large differences did exist between countries and may reflect differences in comorbidities and other factors. These estimates provide a baseline from which to fathom further IFR declines with the widespread use of vaccination, prior infections, and evolution of new variants.

Wall Street Journal columnist Allysia Finley decries the demonization of Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo. Two slices:

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo stirred a hornet’s nest when he released an analysis of state death and vaccine records that showed young men experienced an 84% increased risk of cardiac death within four weeks of receiving an mRNA vaccine. Actually, that’s unfair to hornets. They aren’t as mindless or vicious as the self-anointed experts attacking Dr. Ladapo.

Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and one of America’s leading Covid scolds, condemned Dr. Ladapo’s study as “baseless, reckless, and irresponsible” because it seemingly contradicted the expert consensus that myocarditis caused by vaccines is “typically mild and fully resolves in nearly all affected” (emphasis added).

The latter is probably true, but Dr. Ladapo’s study shows that some young men may experience severe effects. And it’s far from clear, as Dr. Ladapo notes, that the benefits of the mRNA vaccines for young, healthy men—who were at low risk to begin with, and the vast majority of whom now have some immunity from prior infection or inoculation—outweigh the risks.

…..

Or recall how Dr. Fauci and former National Institutes of Health director Francis Collinsconspired to discredit the authors of the Great Barrington declaration, which urged focused protection on the vulnerable while liberating young people from lockdowns. “There needs to be a quick and devastating published take down of its premises,” Dr. Collins wrote to Dr. Fauci

Mr. [Holden] Thorp participated in the takedown of this approach too, writing that the “risky and misguided course” of “opening of colleges and schools has accelerated the spread of the virus and will mean untold suffering among both students and the people to whom they are now spreading the virus.” Imagine how much bigger youth mental-health problems and learning loss would be if the “consensus” hadn’t been challenged.

The Telegraph‘s editors are correct: “China’s ‘zero Covid’ policy is an exercise in autocratic hubris.” Two slices:

More than a year after most of the world dropped the majority of pandemic restrictions and sought to live with the virus, China remains mired in an ultimately fruitless battle to eradicate it entirely.

The Communist Party’s “zero Covid” policy has become an exercise in autocratic hubris, a belief that the strength of a political system can be measured by its ability to subjugate a respiratory disease in a densely populated country of 1.3bn people. The hardships that have been inflicted by this approach have been considerable, with millions trapped in their homes, often without sustenance, and businesses unable to operate.

People suffering mild or even no symptoms are forcibly removed to quarantine camps. There have been protests but as in any dictatorship these are quickly snuffed out. Indeed, as the Party’s 20th congress opened in Beijing yesterday, Xi Jinping was unapologetic and vowed to pursue the policy.

…..

The fear now is that if they try to live with the disease, there will be widespread deaths among the unprotected elderly and sick. In addition, retaining the strictest of measures allows the party to exert total control over the populace. These “digital handcuffs” have been used to stop protests that have nothing to do with the virus.

Add a Comment    Share Share    Print    Email

Previous post:

Next post: