Discussion Questions on Broome, "Cost-Benefit Analysis and Population."

1. Suppose one is doing a cost-benefit analysis on seat-belt laws. One of their effects will be to prevent people from dying, who would otherwise have died. Some of the people who do not die will go on to have children.

a. How is that fact currently treated within cost-benefit analysis.

b. In Broome's view, do the additional people add or subtract from the total value?

c. How should that fact be taken into account in our cost-benefit analysis?

2. What is "the intuition of neutrality" and what is Broome's argument against it?

3. Why is it implausible to believe that for some specific "neutral level" it is a good thing to bring people into existence whose well-being is above the neutral level and a bad thing to bring people into existence whose well-being is below the neutral level?

4. Since a life lived above the neutral level is by definition a good life, why isn't it obvious that it is a good thing to bring into existence a person whose life will be above the neutral level?

5. Why should we regard cost-benefit analysis as a theory of valuation rather than as a theory of public decision-making.

6. Why can't vagueness "save" the intuition of neutrality?