Ignore economists on virus – lives are at stake

The Australian’s Judith Sloan has taken a timely dig at her own (and my) economics profession, claiming “economists have not shown themselves in a very good light” during the coronavirus outbreak.

Sloan notes that some economists have argued that the costs of the coronavirus lockdown will exceed the costs of the virus itself. Some have even suggested that the health costs of the pandemic may be reduced via the power of herd immunity. While others have concluded that it may be better to allow older people to die, as they would have done so sooner rather than later anyway. Instead of listening to economists, Sloan argues that medical experts should be given the floor:

Economists don’t have any knowledge about the medical aspec­ts of pandemics and the power of herd immunity is just being assumed. Economists are good at making assumptions.

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