The value of Human Life seems to be depreciating as well, according to the EPA. In fact, you just lost nearly a million dollars in value: from 8.04 million to 7.22 million (we use decimal values because this is science stuff, and science stuff is precise. Just trust us.). Remember that monologue about auto manufacturer recalls in Fight Club? This from an article originally appearing in the Washington Post:
To grasp the mind-bending concept of a Blue Book value on life, government officials say it is important to remember that they are not thinking about anyone specific…They might know, for instance, that a new cut in air pollution will save 50 lives a year – though they don’t know who those people might be. Still they want to decide whether saving them is worth the cost, officials say, and it helps to assign a dollar value to each life saved.
This apparently is not the first time the EPA has tried to lower the value of human life. “In 2003, it tried to count senior citizens’ lives as worth less than those of other adults. After a loud outcry from seniors, the agency backed off.” Which is a fun mental image.
From the same article, we have the best research suggestion of the year:
But how do you put a dollar value on a life, even in a generic sense?
It wouldn’t work for researchers to survey Americans at gunpoint and ask how much they would pay not to die.
I disagree. That idea is categorically awesome. I once again want to be a scientist when I grow up.
But hey, don’t knock the EPA too much. According to the article, “their value for life remains one of the highest. Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation raised its value – but even after the increase, it stood at $5.8 million…”. Which explains a lot, really.