Re: Theory vs. Data

Date: Wed Jun 28 2000 - 12:09:06 MDT

Robin Hanson <> wrote:
> Damien Sullivan wrote:

> >water systems break after an earthquake or storm that disease rates go up.
> >So it's rather hard to believe that spending on public water systems
> >doesn't improve health.
> An earthquake or storm large enough to break water systems is no small thing.
> *Lots* of bad things happen because of such an event, so the question is
> which of those many things is as fault for disease.

When the disease is cholera and other diseases spread by contaminated water,
the culprit seems pretty clear.

And right now we're seeing life expectancy in Africa drop because of AIDS. If
we developed a cure or vaccine for AIDS, and spent money to use it, life
expectancy would go back up. The world had lots of diseases as bad as AIDS:
smallpox, tuberculosis, cholera... gone now, and we live longer.

> >If someone says they can't measure it, we're inclined to think their
> >measurements are bad.
> Well of course that's the attitude that preserves theories in the face
> of any contrary data.

Off the top of my head, economists have decided they've been consistently
overestimating inflation for decades, and announced that the gap between
measured imports and exports over all countries has grown to 3%.

But I'll try to look at your old posts.
-xx- Damien X-)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:14:41 MDT