Protest Cost-Benefit Analysis
So I guess it falls to economists (or former economists like me) to do the grim Trolley-Problem math of evaluating the public health experts' decision in terms of lives lost/saved.
But it turns out that the math comes down largely in favor of the public health experts' decision.
Suppose that this change lasts for 50 years -- about the same amount of time since the last big protest wave, in 1968.
That's 220 lives saved per year, or 11,000 total lives saved.
BUT, now remember that police killing victims are much younger than COVID victims on average!
The median police killing victim is 35.
(Yes, calculations like this are why everyone hates economists!)
This is more than 60,000.
1. Lives saved from police are the ONLY benefit of protests
2. A maximum estimate for protest-caused COVID deaths
3. A very modest effect of protests on police violence
These are VERY conservative assumptions!!
Police violence IS a huge public health hazard.
But people saying that the danger of COVID-19 obviously outweighs the benefits of protesting need to check their assumptions -- and their math.
Economist answer: Who cares. Cost-benefit analysis isn't about passing judgment on who deserves death. A life saved is a life saved.
Answer: I don't know. What discount rate do you want to use? The real interest rate? (It's zero anyway)