Extract from email
Subj: Curiouser and curiouser
Date: 23 April 2001
...Well I'm even more stunned than before - it seems that all statistics (and so policies) on four billion people have been put together with nobody at all asking whether changes are due to demographic changes, rather than changes for real people. So I'm writing all this up, encouraged by Ravi Kanbur....He said maybe Sen, the Nobel prizewinner should have been looking at this. Utterly bizarre, since I'm just saying something anybody in the pub might say. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that unless social scientists can prove the effects are always small, social science theory has to agree that they cannot say anything about what's good for people in countries with variable mortality rates, without knowing who survives. Like doctors, they might want to tell people their survival chances as well as benefits for the survivors.
And I've got the task of trying to say this politely! Surely economists haven't really left this out?