Thursday, April 22, 2021

Costs of lockdowns are more than 3 times higher than the benefits

Essay from a Canadian economist concludes"

...the cost/benefit ratio of lockdowns in Canada, in terms of life-years saved, is between 3.6–282. That is, it is possible that lockdown will go down as one of the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history.

1.  The benefits of lockdowns are small because:
  • Even without lockdowns, vulnerable people take care of themselves by isolating, so the effects of lockdowns are small.
  • Covid deaths are concentrated among the elderly, with fewer years ahead of them.  The following table shows the value of a statistical life ranges from $14 million for toddlers down to $2 million for an 85 year old.  

2.  The costs of lockdowns on an economy are much larger than the fall in GDP (Canada's Gross Domestic Product graphed below):

The hidden costs of lockdowns include

...costs through lost civil liberty, lost social contact, lost educational opportunities, lost medical preventions and procedures, increased domestic violence, increased anxiety and mental suffering, and increased deaths of despair.

THE BOTTOM LINE comes from Henry Hazlitt's timeless classic, Economics in One Lesson:
The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

And when we do that, the answer is very clear:  the costs of lockdowns are probably an order of magnitude higher than the benefits.



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