Discussion Questions on "Values, Risks and Market Norms"

1. Anderson argues that cost-benefit analysis is an inappropriate way to evaluate risks to life and health because "market mechanisms are insensitive to many ethical distinctions which we should and do make in deliberating about risk" (p.54).  What does she mean?  Do you think she is right?

2.  Anderson suggests an argument (p. 55) that people behind a veil of ignorance would support a policy of pursuing the most cost-effective policies.  Why?  What is the argument?

3.  How does Anderson define a commodity value?  Why aren't health and life commodity values?

4.  On page 60 Anderson argues that there is an ambiguity in the claim that workers find the existing level of risk "acceptable."  What are the two meanings of "acceptable"?  Does the argument in defense of cost-benefit analysis rely on an equivocation over the meaning of "acceptable"?

5.  What do you think of the argument in footnote 15?

6.  On page 63, Anderson sketches an alternative way of assessing risks that avoids using cost-benefit analysis.  What is it?  How well do you think it would work?

Discussion Questions on "Preference, Belief, and Welfare"

1.  What is the difference between the ex ante and ex post approaches to cost-benefit analysis?

2.  What is the most important objection to the ex ante approach?

3.  What is the most important objection to the ex post approach?

4.  Is there any way out of the difficulties?