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#323472 - 03/28/20 01:24 PM What is the value of a human life?
logtroll Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10149
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What should the government spend to save a life?

This is a very sensitive topic that is most often side-stepped. But it applies many areas of our lives - healthcare in general, wars, crime, poverty, gun rights, end-of-life medical treatments, dealing with pandemics, overpopulation...

Is it just one of those subjects that cannot be rationally discussed? Why?

Is it inextricably bound up with our obsession with money? Or our refusal to accept death as a part of life? Hard to say, because we are totally in the closet on this one.
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#323491 - 03/28/20 06:10 PM Re: What is the value of a human life? [Re: logtroll]
chunkstyle Offline
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Registered: 10/02/07
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I think the stakes are much higher than the value of individual life Logs. The existential threat is how much value is organized human existence itself? For both political factions the answers seems to be 'nothing that impedes GDP or my 401'

So what should be the costs of organized human existence?. Any other cost comparisons would be captured within this question would it not?

Interestingly, Rolling Stone is trying to answer that question with a new running feature. A rough read but at least it tries to address the question by accurately describing the current reality.

'Will it be enough? Is World War III at the door? But instead of a nuclear holocaust it’s an economic clash over our endless consumption of resources — food, forests, the ocean. They were stolen and then resold to us by the merchants of death. And in those big shiny skyscrapers, where they keep all their money, selling us on the fantasy of limitless growth and endless gratification, they were heard saying to one another, “What does it matter? I.B.G.Y.B.G. — I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone.”

The Price of Greed How much fight do we have left?

My current world view is were in a 'game over' situation as our political economics are too large to overcome and our populace not able to grasp with the harshness of it's reality. Nihilism is in the air of both political parties.

Neither political factions getting behind any support required for the crises at hand.

Anyway, trying to commodity an individual life here at the rant should be interesting to watch.

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#323523 - 03/29/20 07:06 AM Re: What is the value of a human life? [Re: logtroll]
NW Ponderer Offline
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Registered: 09/09/11
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There's a very old ethical exercise that addresses this question, in a way. If you assume that you are in a lifeboat after your ship has sunk with 5 other people (young, old, rich, poor, disabled), but the boat only has room for 5 safely without risking sinking (and everyone drowning), how do you determine which five should be allowed to live? There are various other levels of determination (lack of food, injuries, etc.) that are injected into the scenario to make it more complicated, to explore various aspects of "social value".

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#323531 - 03/29/20 02:28 PM Re: What is the value of a human life? [Re: NW Ponderer]
logtroll Offline
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I started this thread with vague intentions - mostly wondering at how we allow an issue of such huge import to float around without really paying much attention to it. It's basically taboo, along with seriously considering population control or questioning someone's religious beliefs.

I see a need on many fronts for a decision matrix tool that assesses and evaluates the triple-bottom-line benefit/cost relationship of one action vs another. I'm inclined to think that such a tool should not be used in an absolute way to make decisions, but more as a way to better be aware of scale and relativity. We humans get floundered in our thinking easily when more than one or two variables are in an equation. Not every variable can be determined precisely, but reducing the complexity can go a long way toward settling on an answer.
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#323554 - 03/29/20 05:28 PM Re: What is the value of a human life? [Re: logtroll]
NW Ponderer Offline
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Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
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This is the kind of think thread I love. Thanks for that.

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#323561 - 03/29/20 06:46 PM Re: What is the value of a human life? [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
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The first article considers the difference between 200,000 and 2 million Americans dead. Fundamental innumeracy: Economists should understand exponential growth, though I guess most economic parameters grow linearly. I think it's going to be a LOT more than 2 million when all the hospitals get overwhelmed. That will happen shortly. In some it already has.

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#323705 - 04/01/20 04:21 AM Re: What is the value of a human life? [Re: chunkstyle]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline
It's the Despair Quotient!
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 15728
Loc: Whittier, California
Originally Posted By: chunkstyle


My current world view is were in a 'game over' situation as our political economics are too large to overcome and our populace not able to grasp with the harshness of it's reality. Nihilism is in the air of both political parties.



In your view, does that soften the ground for revolution or does it dash all hopes entirely?
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#323707 - 04/01/20 04:50 AM Re: What is the value of a human life? [Re: Jeffery J. Haas]
Greger Offline


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Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 16843
Loc: Florida
A revolution isn't a one time event, it's an ongoing process. The r/evolution is currently underway, we r/evolutionaries just lost a battle. But the war rages on as it has raged throughout the history of mankind. Marx and Engles saw the pattern. Only when all human life is valued the same will we break away from it.
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#323711 - 04/01/20 02:18 PM Re: What is the value of a human life? [Re: pondering_it_all]
CPWILL Offline
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Registered: 12/26/19
Posts: 332
Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
The first article considers the difference between 200,000 and 2 million Americans dead. Fundamental innumeracy: Economists should understand exponential growth, though I guess most economic parameters grow linearly. I think it's going to be a LOT more than 2 million when all the hospitals get overwhelmed That will happen shortly. In some it already has.


I think that is a more important planning consideration than "what is the cost of a life" in this scenario. The trick here is to try to walk the line of shutting down economic activity only enough to keep the number of cases requiring hospitalization below the local hospital carrying capacity. Any option that doesn't include maintaining the ability to control the disease ends in further economic damage, anyway.


Edited by CPWILL (04/01/20 02:20 PM)
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#323728 - 04/01/20 06:50 PM Re: What is the value of a human life? [Re: logtroll]
jgw Offline
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Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 3237
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
I have always considered this sort of thing to be a slightly different take on; "Thee or Me". Normally a person would consider whoever being sacrificed/ignored/abused/killed for whatever could be them under different circumstances. This works but there are exceptions.

That happens when those being considered could not possibly be me/you/she/him/her, etc. because it would be impossible. Folks with that attitude fall into the camp of Nazi, Racial Supremist, etc.

Just saying............

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