January 21, 2021

239. The value of pensioners in a COVID age

Last weekend, Lord Sumption, was talking about why a lockdown harms everyone when the virus mainly ills people who are old or who have with debilitating conditions. He suggested we shouldn’t have lockdowns, because the lives lost were of less value than the rest of us. He isn’t the first to suggest that some lives are worth more than others. In fact, he argues we place a value on human life to determine the extent of healthcare intervention. It’s called the Value of Prevented Fatality (VPF).  This week on the Debunking Economics podcast Phil Dobbie asks Prof Steve Keen whether we should consider the value of life in segments of society when developing policy on the pandemic. Some would see pensioners as a cost to society and, if you were being totally heartless, less of them would be a benefit to the economy. We look at just how flawed that thinking is.

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