« Selling the Tote: some sums | Main | Unemployment tops 5.6 million »

October 13, 2009


Paul Dacre

Would you like to come and work for me at the Daily Mail? We really appreciate people who can turn the daily health scare story into the daily health scare headline!


Hi Paul Dacre! Nice to see Boris is looking after your old sidekick Veronica.



Using this kind of idiot logic the guy is committing mass murder by not banning outright all traffic in London.


@ Costello - banning all traffic would indeed save lives. The reason we don't do this is that the benefits of the few lives saved would be outweighed by the gross inconvenience caused to millions.
The argument against my post is along these lines - that we should tolerate a few deaths and lower IQs as a price worth paying for the freedom to drive around London without paying a congestion charge.
I don't know if such an argument would be empirically correct - I'd welcome some illustrative numbers - but it would be logically valid. (I live in Rutland, so I have no dog in the race either way).
Contrary to the babble of sentimentalists, life is not the only value - or at least, statistical lives are not.


"the benefits of the few lives saved would be outweighed by the gross inconvenience caused to millions"

Good argument for forced organs removal.


@ Ortega. I think there are two possible differences:
1. People have a right to their organs in a way they do not have a right to clean air.
2. Forced organs removal would not, in fact, be a utilitarian good. The pain of the donor, plus the widespread fear of being the next forced donor would outweigh the benefits to individual recipients.

Traffic Exchange

I myself do not know much about Internet marketing, PPC and advertising, that is why I hired a marketing firm to help me with it. I used a company called “primerealadstate.com” For over a year now they have helped my sales and website traffic increase god knows how much! They are great to work with and not that heavy on the pocket either… Check them out and let me know what you think.


Is that a nice red you were drinking, Chris?

Paul Sagar

"Such emissions, however, are quite strongly associated with pre-natal health, "

Shome mishtake, shurely?

Or else Johnson is in fact helping the children of london by pumping their mothers' full of such emission!

Paul Sagar

"2. Forced organs removal would not, in fact, be a utilitarian good. The pain of the donor, plus the widespread fear of being the next forced donor would outweigh the benefits to individual recipients."

Next move from the anit-utilitarian:

What if the Government does it in secret, on a top-secret operation, and nobody knows about the organ-snatchers?

Namely: what if we set-up the thought experiment in such a way that you don't just get to state that the calculations come out in such a way that the utilitarian thing to do is, happily, the same one that non-utilitarians want to do?

I want to know what utilitarians say about secret organ-confiscation by the state. Or, say, a programme of organ confiscation that only targets healthy tramps, who have no family, and who nobody will stick up for.

Cos it's when you set-up the thought experiement this way that utilitarianism gets into trouble. No, i'm not just going to let you state that the calculations come out happy-happy.

alex oswald

''statistical lives'' now there's a phrase! when yours and those of your family are so described I venture to opine that you may be a bit miffed by that tag. Instead of tinkering with bendy buses and congestion zones perhaps the great pooh-baah should look a bit closer at his under performing clique of cronies, fellow sycophants and jobsworths. Save the London council tax payers more grief in the wallet dept and perhaps inch-out some much needed credibility where none exists up 'til now.
Who knows, come 2012, with a stay at a fat farm, a decent haircut and a suit that he hasn't slept in he might not look like the burst sofa who appeared in Beijing. Finally...with initials BJ I'm sure he had an interesting time at those posh schools and colleges.


How about the statistic that says the most dangerous environment for a child is that of a single mum and her live-in partner (who is not the child's father)? Surely we could save countless children from violent and sexual assaults, and murder, if we banned all mothers from living with anyone but the genetic father of their kids? A small price to pay I'm sure you'll agree.

Won't somebody think of the cheeeeldren??????


Cor, there is a lot of whining in this thread, isn't there? It is hardly a controversial statement that atmospheric lead and particulate pollution from motor vehicles is bad for children - we've known this for 30 years or thereabouts. You have to draw the consequences of this fact.

Here, those consequences are that there will be a significant and measurable impact on the health of children in London, in exchange for a fairly small marginal increase in the convenience of driving in London (which may disappear entirely in a traffic jam, like most attempts to make driving in London more convenient).

If you agree with this trade-off, this unavoidably says something about your preferences and moral sentiments. You may not like this, but if we're being rational, we've got to confront it.

Alan crisps etc

Sometimes after reading blogs I want to kill people...so why not ban...

someone had to say it.


"Boris Johnson is threatening to kill some children and worsen the educational outcomes of many more."

All I can say after reading that is: "He's got my vote".

Mr Leatherhead

Gordon Brown is killing troops by sending them to Afghanistan on a mission which is unclearly defined and has no measurable success criteria,
This is not a statistical possiblity (vis.. your Boris proposition)it's actually happening every day!

Custom Term papers

Excellent entry! I'm been looking for topics as interesting as this. Looking forward to your next post.

Term Papers

A great constructive article will help to understand the issue.

Ugg london

Never frown, when you are sad, because you never know who is falling in love with your smile.


nice post and equally good comments.

Study in UK

This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work

Bidet Seat

nice reading this story

Discount Belstaff Jacket

I follow you VIA GFC and I love your blog!

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad