Illustration of tradeoffs in car safety

In this video, Milton Freidman explains the tradeoffs between making cars more safe versus the cost of doing so.


The questioner, who hasn’t thought the issue through very well, illustrates the confusion on the issue. He objects to Ford designing the Pinto car to exclude a $13 part and in doing so costing 200 lives a year. The breakeven point is $200,000 per life.

Let’s look at those numbers.

Let’s stipulate those facts and numbers are correct. Don’t know if that is the case, but let’s assume so. Don’t know if that supposed memo actually exists, but let’s assume so.

That means it would have cost Ford $40,000,000 to put that part in all the 3,076,923 Pintos they built.

Dr. Freidman devastates the questioner by pointing out this is not a moral argument of principle. What the questioner is arguing is the value used. He believes the $200K number should be higher.

And that is the debate.

What value would you pick?

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Where do you draw the line on tradeoffs?

John Bredehoft ponders the question in his post, A steering wheel desk – where do you draw the line between personal and corporate responsibility?

Under discussion is a portable desk you can set up while in the driver’s seat. The illustration at Amazon makes it clear it fits over the bottom of the wheel and would make turning impossible even if you could handle dumping everything on your lap.

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Selective enforcement for killing protected birds

Previous post mentioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave permission for a permit to move forward which would allow a wind farm in Goodhue County, Minnesota to kill up to 8 or 15 eagles a year for the next 30 years.

In addition to the uneconomical and unintended-consequence-causing energy that is produced, we are staring at a highly selective enforcement of federal laws against killing eagles and migratory birds.

Official permission to kill eagles?

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You can apply for a federal permit to kill a bunch of eagles

You read that right.

Looks like it is possible to get permission from the feds to set up an operation that expects to kill several eagles every year for the next 3 decades. Thirty years.

What do you have to do to get blessing to file such a permit?

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