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CONCENTRATED BENEFIT over DIFFUSE INJURY



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Appendix M CONCENTRATED BENEFIT over DIFFUSE INJURY by John W Gofman M D Ph D and Egan O Connor November 1993 The law of Concentrated Benefit over Diffuse Injury can be stated as follows A small determined group working energetically for its own narrow interests can almost always impose an injustice upon a vastly larger group provided that the larger group believes that the injury is hypothetical or distant in the future or real but small relative to the real and large cost of preventing it 1 The Surprising Aspect of This Law Many scholars have written about this extremely important axiom before it is not original with us The fact that narrow special interests are always at work for their own benefit at the expense of others is not at all surprising given human nature And it is not surprising that the beneficiaries select what appears to be the strategy of least cost to themselves The surprising aspect is the failure of so many victims especially in peaceful democracies to appreciate the aggregate consequences which inevitably accrue when each small injustice has such a high chance of prevailing 2 The Real Scope of the Injury We regard Concentrated Benefit as the most harmful law of all humanity Is this correct The terrible feature of this law is that each incremental injustice has a very high chance of prevailing So even when new injuries or injustices truly are small the aggregate abuse can accumulate to tragic proportions after the axiom of Concentrated Benefit has operated on behalf of various narrow interests again and again and again We often wonder at the vast abuse which the general public has failed to prevent Tyrannies wars genocides mass starvations proliferation of nuclear weapons intimidation by well armed international and local thugs corrupted democracies corrupted markets massive thefts via inflation inadequate schools unnecessary poverty destruction of wildlife and gross pollution to name a few Why do people tolerate this severe abuse when they so



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