what is the value of a human life

Discussion in 'Economics' started by nutmeg, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. The Environmental Protection Agency set the value of a life at $9.1 million

    The Food and Drug Administration declared that life was worth $7.9 million

    The Transportation Department has used values of around $6 million
    Professor Viscusi’s work pegs it at around $8.7 million in current dollars.......

    Say that companies must pay lumberjacks an additional $1,000 a year to perform work that generally kills one in 1,000 workers.

    It follows that most Americans would forgo $1,000 a year to avoid that risk — and that 1,000 Americans will collectively forgo $1 million to avoid the same risk entirely. That number is said to be the “statistical value of life.”


    “The reality is that politics frequently trumps economics,”

    cont on link..



    I'm sure we could spend all day splitting hairs on the value of life between Jethro Bodine and Dick Fuld but I'd like to see the justification between countries, after all we risk a 9.1 million dollar life of a soldier in a foreign country.

    Of course my arguement is ridiculous.:cool:
  2. The Military's Method

    ON Feb. 1, an American soldier - who was married with three children - was killed in Iraq.

    The benefits to this serviceman's family, depending on how long each member lives and whether he or she goes on to college, could amount to about $1.9 million over their lifetimes.

    Note: I don't understand this one.

  3. Depends. A white life is worth 100x an Arab life, but a Jew's life is worth 1000x an arab life.
    We all know this.

    (ps. we spread democracy!!!!!)
  4. I suppose I'm just thinking out loud with this thread but I do have a question.

    How does the Professors conclusion on the statistical value of life justify with the volunteer army with low pay?

    Do we assume there is a magic number in risk/reward and work out the statistics in reverse.

    Automotive air bags: $598,463
    Smoke detectors: $628,618
    Auto safety features: $4,198,517
    Top-grade tires: $6,031,019

    Automotive air bags: $598,463

    The Transportation Department has used values of around $6 million

    Now if an airbag kills your child, 10 lives are saved in the process.

    How many people have been killed by airbags?

    I don't know.


    How many lives have airbags saved?

    82% of the worlds population.

    As you can tell, I'm getting tired of my own research. :cool:
  6. in Mexico's border it is $3000- $4000...to take someones life.

  7. Professional Contract Killings at Prices You Can Afford.


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  8. average lifetime earnings of a person less taxes at this point is somewhere around 1 mil i'd go to guess (40k / 40 yr - 33% tax and i round down a bit) and that is probably overestimating. so the value of a life declines rapidly as one ages in my opinion- which begs the question why do we waste so much money on the medical care for people in the last 2 years of their lives. i say if we want to adopt obamacare we should at least be responsible about it and cut off all care for people over 70 years old since they get very little use out of all that wasted money anyways.
  9. Well, you have to consider that simply asking the question eliminates the human moral and sentimental value of life and implies that there should be a logical value. Under those guidelines then we are talking purely in terms of logical stats and finance. My argument should be considered in those terms only as it doesn't reflect my actual opinions with regard to human life.

    In this case all men are not created equal as it were.

    The value of a human life is directly related to either the earning power of the individual or the projected economic output of the individual. The first would apply if I'm trying to decide how much my life is worth to my family. The latter is how much my life is worth to society as a whole.

    I would argue that the only realistic way to estimate either number is in present value terms and assuming constant average inflation and normal investment returns. In this case, all of the numbers in the OP are significantly high.

    To continue the argument on the assumption that all men are not created equal, a low wage earner is less valuable than a high wage earner, and a younger person is more valuable than an older person. If we are referring directly to soldiers and make the assumption that the average soldier is 22 years old and makes the equivalent of about $50K when considering free housing, bonuses, health, and other benefits.

    If we assume that the soldier would get normal 3% annual increases and retire at 65, then he has a present value to his family of about $750,000.

    OTOH, the recent MD grad will be worth somewhere closer to $2.5MM.
  10. Only if he refuses to treat Medicaid and Medicare patients!:D
    #10     Feb 17, 2011