How Much is a Human Life Worth?

by on March 22, 2013

John on the Late Late Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwjjWhLxf-o

Once when I like 10 years old, I was sitting in a school auditorium...I looked at all the people, and the (required) fire exits in the room. And I thought to myself that there weren't enough doors to save everyone in every situation. In order to do that, you'd have to make the whole building doors...but it wasn't worth it...so there must be some calculus to determine how much trouble / money a human life was worth.

I was right...and it's not an inhuman thing, it's important to know. And in this video, we talk about the monetary value of a human life. It's variable...depending on whether you're talking about selling the individual moments, or ending the life forever. But I don't think it should be...if we're willing to sell all the individual moments of our lives for $2M, why would we then value the act of not dying at far more than that? Maybe it's because we treasure our histories more than we treasure the moments yet to come, but that seems wrong to me.

SOURCES:
$130,000 - http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1808049,00.html
$500,000 - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52561-2005Jan31.html
$500,000 (for organs) - http://gizmodo.com/5904129/heres-how-much-body-parts-cost-on-the-black-market
$9,000,000 - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/business/economy/17regulation.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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