We live in a world where public authorities are keen to point out the benefits of their policies, but not the costs. Take the coronavirus lockdown, for instance. Scientific government advisors were eager to point out that they were following the best of the available evidence and that everything they were doing was kosher. And, if your only metric is how many people die directly from COVID-19, then they probably have the right idea. Making sure that people stay in their homes for all but the essentials is probably the way to prevent transmission.
But when it comes to the evidence from the economy, they seem to be turning a blind eye. Now that business has been shut down for months, how many people’s health will suffer as a result of a lack of income in the future? What effect will a recession have on people’s ability to pay for healthcare? What medical breakthroughs now won’t happen because of scientific policymakers’ actions to shut down labs? It doesn’t seem like these issues have been thoroughly thought through.