Covid-19 Lockdown Cost/Benefits


An examination of over 100 Covid-19 studies reveals that many relied on false assumptions that over-estimated the benefits and under-estimated the costs of lockdown. The most recent research has shown that lockdowns have had, at best, a marginal effect on the number of Covid-19 deaths. Generally speaking, the ineffectiveness stemmed from individual changes in behavior: either non-compliance or behavior that mimicked lockdowns. The limited effectiveness of lockdowns explains why, after more than one year, the unconditional cumulative Covid-19 deaths per million is not negatively correlated with the stringency of lockdown across countries. Using a method proposed by Professor Bryan Caplan along with estimates of lockdown benefits based on the econometric evidence, I calculate a number of cost/benefit ratios of lockdowns in terms of life-years saved. Using a mid-point estimate for costs and benefits, the reasonable estimate for Canada is a cost/benefit ratio of 141. It is possible that lockdown will go down as one of the greatest peacetime policy failures in modern history.

Full paper here.

Wittgenstein not in favor of prospective new German government. In particular the Greens

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Public and Private Occasions

Wittgenstein got to know Hansel after attending a class on logic that Hansel was giving to prisoners who hoped upon release to train as teachers. Both were imprisoned in Cassino/Italy.



Cambridge, after November 23, 1929

Thanks for your letter. I don’t agree with you, you know that. And I will briefly say why not. I consider both parties indecent. The red one appears less onerous to me only insofar as its indecency is in keeping with the times, whereas that of the others is moreover one that is retrograde. That is I would mention in passing the greens & blacks haven’t even gotten so far yet. Further: All of these parties lack religion but the greatest danger for religiosity seems to me to lie with the green party, in roughly the same sense in which the lukewarm is more distant from the warm than is the cold, though that sounds paradoxical; but you also know where it comes from.” Open hostility to religion seems more promising to me than the other disgusting conviction, which is on personal terms with religion & with God & drags it down to its own level. I am not dumb enough to believe that a “noble atheism” rules in the red party, instead there too everything is cloaked & false, but by a slight degree less well cloaked & therefore less dangerous to the soul than a conviction that manages to be apparently on good terms with the highest ideals. It would be a long matter to explain why the party system in other countries, for example in England, is at least not yet a disgrace to every decent human being; but in our special situation I believe that all parties are hopeless & that the only extremely faint hope rests on the few, who do not believe that something good can nevertheless come from supporting an indecent thing. That is, I believe that in this case it is not right to choose between two evils but to repudiate equally, since all misery comes about precisely through this that no one has enough character to radically stress the demand of decency & doesn’t in the end make a deal after all. …

Excerpt from “Ludwig Wittgenstein – Public and Private Occasions“. Edited by James C. Klagge and Alfred Nordmann.