Notes From Babel

Not all tragedies are preventable

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This article at Democracy in America makes a good point.  We have the technology to save kids’ lives by preventing the sort of fluke auto accidents—backing over children, such as in driveways, and especially by elderly drivers—that just seem like they ought to be preventable.  But implementing that technology would be extremely expensive relative to the number of lives saved:  $20 million per life per year.  It’s a great example of how our ability to identify externalities, and our desire to stamp them out, has outpaced our ability to mitigate them through sensible, market-driven solutions.  Instead, politicians seize on these kinds of issues, making hyperbolic statements like “There is no more tragic accident” than this, and defying anyone to resist any legislation necessary to eradicate it.

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Written by Tim Kowal

December 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm

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