Bias Against the Unseen

Economist John Lott on why many doctors oppose guns:

Doctors see the bad things that happen and it motivates them to do what they think is good. Take away the guns and those bad things won’t happen. However, what the doctors don’t see is the acts by guns that keep others from showing up in their emergency rooms. They are well motivated, but seeing only part of the picture causes them to misdiagnose the cure.

Bias against fully considering unseen consequences influences many public policy positions and, I suspect, explains why many intellectuals support the minimum wage, rent control and strong FDA regulations.  These anti-market intellectuals don’t, I believe, give proper weight to the jobs that were never created because of minimum wage laws, the buildings that were never constructed because of rent control, and the pharmaceutical products that were never developed because of the great expense of complying with FDA regulations.

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