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The Anti-Economic Way of Thinking

Want proof that even some Nobel-laureate economists sometimes write as if they’ve never come within a hundred lightyears of the economic way of thinking? Take a look at this latest New York Times column by Paul Krugman. Note especially this line:

Once we knew that a deadly virus was on the loose — and we now know that several officials warned Trump about the threat in January 2020 — the appropriate policy response was clear: do whatever we could to slow the rate at which the virus was spreading.

As Anthony LaMesa tweets: “I’m sorry, but shouldn’t an MIT-trained *economist* know better than to write this sentence?” And as Jay Bhattacharya adds:

Find a person who loves you the way that Paul Krugman loves zero covid and lockdown. He apparently thinks none of their tremendous harms, nor their inefficacy, should count in deciding whether to implement them.

Unfortunately, Krugman isn’t alone. Four years ago, much of humankind went mad with the notion that humanity has one thing and only one thing to fear: contact with covid. All of a sudden, men, women, and children were compelled by government force, and pressured by newly sprung social norms, to act as if our preference rankings are, or ought to be, such that avoiding contact with covid is first and foremost and so powerful that no amount of such avoidance is too much – that no additional cost, no matter how great, could outweigh the additional benefits, no matter how small, of further attempts, no matter how futile, to avoid exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

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