Gary Becker and Richard Posner of the University of Chicago have now started a weblog, believe it or not. The format is a little daunting, in that the first thing you see today is a pair of essay-length replies to previous essay-length postings. Also, they were both on today’s Wall Street Journal editorial page, unfortunately available to paid subscribers only. Reading the dead tree edition, I was struck by Posner’s argument that it is irrational to neglect remote but catastrophic possibilities such as tsunamis in previously quiet regions and asteroid strikes anywhere. The amounts spent might well be wasted money, but the consequences of failing to avoid the disaster are insufferable.
What struck me is that he should have given credit to Blaise Pascal, who first advanced this argument as Pascal’s Wager.