PlymSpotter
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What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:53 am

This is a serious question, what is the 'price of a life' so to speak?

I'm interested because at the moment it would help with some of the work I'm doing on designs for my university course. As far as I understand there is a certain figure when there is no longer a cost benefit to make a design change that could save lives, I know this may be variable in some circumstances, but is there an actual formula which is used, or is it a set figure of how much a life is 'worth' in monetory terms?

Many thanks,

Dan Smile
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
MYT332
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:56 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
This is a serious question

Ohhhhhhh, really? I wanted to answer £2.50, I thought it was a guessing game!
One Life, Live it.
 
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AirPacific747
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:57 am

Quoting Myt332 (Reply 1):

Ohhhhhhh, really? I wanted to answer £2.50, I thought it was a guessing game!

Ah you're soooo funny.... not  Wink
 
777236ER
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:58 am

Depends on the life.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
BMIFlyer
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:01 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
what is the 'price of a life' so to speak?

Priceless  Wink


Lee
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:02 am

Quoting Myt332 (Reply 1):
Ohhhhhhh, really? I wanted to answer £2.50, I thought it was a guessing game!

OK, and thats MYT332 sold for £2.50 biggrin  Right, now what do I do with him, hmmm, suppose I'll have to feed him cat food and let him sleep outside in the kennel scratchchin 

In all seriousness though, its a question I have been pondering for a while now.

Dan Smile
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
exarmywarrant
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:05 am

I don't know if there is a specific figure, although I doubt it. The computations you refer to occur when a company (say, an automobile manufacturer) is deciding whether it would be cost effective to install a safety feature. They will, in some instances, calculate how much it would cost to install the feaure in all of their automobiles (including the cost of lost sales due to the higher selling price, if it is amortized that way), and then calculate how much they would reasonably be expected to pay out in lawsuits over the life of their cars, and determine which figure is lower.

Before everyone goes nuts about the "heartless" corporations, keep in mind that there is always something you can do to make a car safer. But eventually you get to the point where it is either too costly build or to operate (and therefore unsaleable) or too heavy to move!

All of life is compromise.
 
KROC
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:22 am

$500,000.

Signed, Joe Pistone
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:24 am

Quoting Exarmywarrant (Reply 6):

Thank you, yes that is exactly what I was meaning. Obviously life is priceless as Lee says, but there are compromises along the way in terms of design. Although I'm sure a perfect world would get quite boring after a while too.

Dan Smile
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
WrenchBender
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:19 am

Risk Analysis and Risk Assessment tools are commonly used in Aviation to analyze the 'problem' to see if it requires adressing or not.
Here are couple of links...
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg163.pdf
http://www.eee.bham.ac.uk/techsupp/riskoverview.html

WrenchBender
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Pope
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:35 am

The answer depends. As "a" father what he would pay to protect "his" child and the amount is infinite because the particular father derives intangible benefit from the presence of their child. But if the question is what is the value of a generic life to society the figure is much more calculable.

You could value life on a discounted cash flow basis (i.e. the present value of the expected future cash flow that life would generate). The problem here is what happens if those cash flows are negative. For example a person who suffers a catastrophic but not fatal disease or injury might require assistance for the rest of their natural life. This assistance could cost tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

You could value life based on its potential. The problem here is how do you determine what someone's potential is - what is the value of Einstein's life when he was 4?

You could assign an arbitrary value the way workers comp laws do.

I for one think that it's almost impossible to value life because the sheer number of variables involved.
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
jamesbuk
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:37 am

isnt it something like If (A X B) / C <= D i think it was at the beggining of Fight Club.

Rgds --James--
You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
 
BCNGRO
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:41 am

I recently read an article about that issue but now I can't find a link to it. Actually, it didn't say what was the price of a life (as if was to be sold on ebay, let's say) but how much the government would pay/invest (on road safety, for instance) to save one. It was based on Spain and if I remember correctly it was 300,000€ on average.
At the bus station, buses stop. At the train station, trains stop. At my desk, I have a work station.
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:51 am

Quoting Bcngro (Reply 12):
Actually, it didn't say what was the price of a life (as if was to be sold on ebay, let's say) but how much the government would pay/invest (on road safety, for instance) to save one. It was based on Spain and if I remember correctly it was 300,000€ on average.

That's very interesting, I'm not sure what to think, is it too high, is it too low. I actually think it could be about right for one life in those circumstances.

Dan Smile
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
TedTAce
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:23 am

The problem Plym, is there is no "right" answer. To the person loosing their life and the ones closest to them it's priceless and in a lot of cases people put less value on their lifes in light of the life that they love.

IE I'd gladly give my life to save that of my children, but there is no price I wouldn't pay to save my own. I think in Excel that's called an invalid circular reference.

When it comes to $$, the answer again depends on who you are asking.

To me the life of an Iraqi insurgent is worthless. The life of a child on the street in America is why I donate to Second Harvest and Toys for Tots to the tune of about $150/year.
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PlymSpotter
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:36 am

Quoting TedTAce (Reply 14):
The problem Plym, is there is no "right" answer. To the person loosing their life and the ones closest to them it's priceless and in a lot of cases people put less value on their lifes in light of the life that they love.

Yes, to the family of somebody killed then any amount of money should have been spent to prevent this, and if it should have been easily preventable then negligence has occurred and the company/ designer is going to be having a law suit coming their way.

Dan Smile
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
Jpax
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:41 am

$42

The message you were about to post is too short and probably not of any higher value to the topic at hand. You should think long and hard before posting a message in this forum and make it detailed and a valuable addition to the topic discussed.
 
Thom@s
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:47 am

Quoting Jpax (Reply 16):
$42

Based on the answer to the meaning of life is it?  Wink

Thom@s
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Charger
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:03 am

Quoting Exarmywarrant (Reply 6):
don't know if there is a specific figure, although I doubt it. The computations you refer to occur when a company (say, an automobile manufacturer) is deciding whether it would be cost effective to install a safety feature



Quoting Exarmywarrant (Reply 6):
Before everyone goes nuts about the "heartless" corporations, keep in mind that there is always something you can do to make a car safer



Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 15):
and if it should have been easily preventable then negligence has occurred and the company/ designer is going to be having a law suit coming their way.

Ok I agree that life is priceless, but my question has to do with these "heartless companies". Where does there liablity end and the consumer's begin? Obviously if I produce a car say that gets into a minor accident and bursts into flames because of bad design, and kills everyone, I am surely liable. But what about the consumer's who take a car, speed along a crowded highway, get in an accident and cause serious injury or death? Is the car manufacturer responsible because maybe if the car had side airbags someone wouldn't have been injured, or killed? I have actually read about lawsuits where something like this has taken place and the family of the person killed tried to sue the manufacturer. I personally don't think it's there fault, and the driver should be solely responsible.
Another example, I have an old JEEP that I use to plow my driveway in the winter. On both sunvisors are big yellow stickers, that clearly say " Speeding around corners or tight bends may cause this vehicle to roll over". Now , I know that my JEEP has a much higher center of gravity than a regular car and I know that if I went around a corner fast enough that my JEEP would flip over. But if I did am I responsible because I did it, or is JEEP responsible because they knew it could happen? Hyperthetically I could sue JEEP and claim that I didn't know how fast I could drive around a corner, the sticker just says don't speed.

So just where does the MAnufacturer's responsibility end and the consumer's begin?
 
FlyDeltaJets87
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:37 am

According to a judge in one post by N1120A in another thread:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 2):
I actually saw a story some time ago on how a judge ordered that in lieu of extended jail time, a guy who killed a little girl in a similar manner [drunk driving accident] was forced to write a weekly check for something like $1 or $10 to her family for something like 2 years so he would keep what he had done on his conscience.

So only somwhere between $104 and $1040 according to this judge.
"Let's Roll"- Todd Beamer, United Airlines Flight 93, Sept. 11, 2001
 
ordryan28
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:10 am

it's priceless in my opinion, or free, because you don't have to pay for the proper protection.
Whoever said winning is not everything never fought cancer.
 
exarmywarrant
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:33 am

Quoting Charger (Reply 18):
So just where does the MAnufacturer's responsibility end and the consumer's begin?

Unfortunatley, with the attitudes of today's juries, it becomes less a question of responsibility, as a matter of "the victim of the accident needs money, and the manufacturer has plenty of it".

Juries nowdays decide with their heart in these cases, rather than with their head, in far too many instances.
 
BCNGRO
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:34 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 13):
That's very interesting, I'm not sure what to think, is it too high, is it too low. I actually think it could be about right for one life in those circumstances.

I didn't find the article I was talking about but I found another one. It says avoiding the loss of a life on the road in Chile is worth $300,000. Still it doesn't say if the anybody would be willing to spend such a relatively large amount of money for that prupose... I guess the government would do so if they were completely sure that an X improvement on a Y road would save that life. The problem is, I guess, being 100% sure that that money would really avoid that loss (maybe the driver was to be drunk and would have killed himself 10km further on that road, who knows)...

It's a difficult issue, I don't know if those numbers are too high or too low either. I guess it's not easy to tell. Obviously, if it was my life it would be way too low!!

http://www.puc.cl/noticias/anteriores/prensaUC/pub196.html (in spanish only).
At the bus station, buses stop. At the train station, trains stop. At my desk, I have a work station.
 
steve6666
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:34 am

There have been various econometric research papers over the years that have estimated this using various CBA techniques or variations on that theme. If its for Uni you're probably best advised to research those papers and be able to critique, quote and reference them - and I'm sorry it's ten years since my undergrad Economics so I can't remember the references offhand.

The short answer is that I seem to recall a low estimate of approx $1.9-$2.0m and a high of around $10m.
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NWDC10
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:48 am

What Is The Price Of A Life? Precious enough that One has died for you. Robert NWDC10
 
Jpax
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RE: What Is The Price Of A Life?

Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:53 am

Quoting Thom@s (Reply 17):
Based on the answer to the meaning of life is it?

Absolutely!

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