Economics

Economics articles featuring analysis of the global censorship industrial complex, impacts on public health, free trade, liberty, and policy.

All Brownstone Institute economics articles are translated into multiple languages.

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There Was No Exit Plan from “Slow the Spread”

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During this time of insanity, some of us went about our lives as best we could and ignored the restrictions. The rest of the world is now coming to terms with the understanding that the “precautions” don’t do much. At best what is going to happen anyway, happens. If there is no off ramp then the change is either permanent or it will go on until failure is evident and people stop caring. Then they will go back to normal one by one.

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Which Pandemic Response Achieves the Greater Good?

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How do individuals know what’s best for them? While the scientific knowledge, theoretical or technical expertise of one person, or one profession, may help shed light on what’s best for individuals, it can never be enough. Only individuals themselves have the unique knowledge that all others do not have, about their individual-specific ever-changing circumstances, constraints, needs and preferences. 

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Another Round of Lockdowns in China

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What’s occurring in China is brutal, but it’s not necessarily surprising. In many ways, the Chinese people have always been prisoners, regularly subjected to cruel and unusual punishments. Now, though, the people of Xi’an are literal prisoners, quite literally sealed off from society. When will they be freed? A week from now, a month, a year? Sadly, we don’t know.

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Is Anyone Going to Accept Responsibility for This?

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This is the model that will consume all public discussion of the pandemic response in the future: seeking but never finding anyone to bear responsibility. This is typical for episodes in history that are characterized by mass frenzy and distorted fanaticism. Once the mania is gone, it is hard to find anyone who is willing to accept responsibility for feeding it and acting upon it. 

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Canada’s Accidental Biosecurity State

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The Covid policies we see today in Canada are the product of pretending for two years that Covid can be stopped, that no trade-offs exist when it comes to Covid, and shunning debate on even the most obvious trade-offs and alternative Covid policies. The lack of attention to the human and economic costs of Canada’s Covid response has been appalling. 

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American Happiness and the Wisdom of George Will

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Will brings to mind Oxford’s Sunetra Gupta (or she brings to mind Will) when he writes that “The interconnectedness of the modern world, thanks in part to the jet engine’s democratization of intercontinental air travel, deters the weaponization of epidemics that the connectedness facilitates.”

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Their Schools Shut, So Why Not Let Teens Work?

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It’s time we stop congratulating ourselves for taking away respectable professional opportunities from kids. Their lives have been utterly wrecked during this pandemic response. A slight consolation would be to celebrate when the kids want to work, earning money, feeling valuable, and finding some meaning beyond mere compliance with schoolmasters and bureaucrats. 

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Blinded by a Blizzard of Numbers: A Review of Spiegelhalter and Masters

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There is much to dislike in Spiegelhalter and Masters’ book on the plague year, but considering the partisan and authoritarian nonsense, garbage advice, and terrible statistical blunders we’ve grown used to, the book comes across as fairly balanced. They have some clear blind spots (vaccines, effectiveness of lockdowns, Vitamin D) but there are much worse things to read than Covid by Numbers. 

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