Economists as agony aunts

by Chris Bertram on October 11, 2003

The FT’s economist-as-agony-aunt column takes a look at the “costs and benefits of suicide”: .



dippy 10.11.03 at 1:43 pm

but surely there is a cost to holding onto an option that, in the wake of the updated information about the expected utility the would-be suicidee has about his future, makes him consider cashing it in?


Fabian Delecto 10.11.03 at 5:40 pm

More ego-centric economic utilitarian hogwash. The ego is not a bank or a stock investor. It doesn’t enjoy or profit from life, it IS life. Life is ebbing out of that man; tragedy has robbed him of his capacity to connect with things and thus experience the flow of life within him. Life is not his option, he is LIFE’s option, and life has had done with him, that’s it. The only pleasure left to him is the ultimate pleasure: death, ultimate alleviation of tensions, final non-sexual orgasm, yes, I call to you, gorgeous mistress, unparalleled conquest which destroys the conquistador, may you bless us with a beautiful seduction.


brayden 10.11.03 at 10:24 pm

Dear God, never let Tim Hartford volunteer for the suicide hotline. The number of jumpers would double overnight.

Now, why would we assume people attempting suicide are acting rationally?


Walt Pohl 10.12.03 at 3:29 am

The FT column is a joke, right? It reads like a joke to me.


andrew 10.12.03 at 7:58 am

Acute exogenous shocks have sunk many a profitable enterprise. Your life could stay irrational longer than you can stand to stick around.

Perhaps an emergency loan program of love, attention and sex should be created, charging most of their future earnings. They were gonna die anyway, so it’s win-win.


Laertes 10.12.03 at 8:14 pm

Economics geeks have a weird sense of humor.


William Sjostrom 10.13.03 at 12:49 pm

Lighten up, folks. The piece was primarily tongue in cheek. I used to work with Tim Harford, and he is one of the funnier people I know (I was going to say “one of the funnier economists”, but that would not carry much weight). On the other hand, I have never worked on suicide hotline, and would make a point of not recommending me for the job, but it would be interesting to see how much of the advice offered is implicitly option value reasoning.


spacewaitress 10.14.03 at 7:24 pm

Is there any way to view this article without entering a credit card number?

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