How much is a human life worth?
This is an interesting question, and one that is much more loaded than most people realize. However, I am asking in terms of money. A million dollars? Two million? Or, is it simply priceless, and therefore money cannot even come close to giving an answer to the question?
The answer to this question is challenging, and ultimately a determining factor in the way we believe our fellow human beings should be treated. If every human life is priceless (people who have not committed any serious crimes or who are not vegetables without any consciousness), then there should be NO monetary limit on what it takes to keep that person alive. Obviously, a person so valuable would not be left to die if they did not have the monetary resources to feed or house themselves.
On the other hand, if a human life does have a precise monetary value, what is it? Whatever number you give, it affirms that you think that is the maximum amount that should be spent to help the individual in question. If you say a million, and someone has an aggressive form of cancer that causes a million dollars to be spent on them before they have beat it, then at that point the money would cease flowing unless the person could provide it him/herself. Otherwise, the individual would have to go die.
There is no escaping this dilemma. Either a person has a monetary value, or they do not. There's no third alternatives that will lead to an adventurous escape.
You cannot place a value on human life,mainly for the reasons you have stated in your forum. Everyone is going to have a varied opinion to this question. For example a person tries to commit suicide - one would obviously surmise this individual placed no value on their life. They do not succeed- do we then not render aide because we conjecture this life was not valued ? The human condition is too complex to give this question a black and white answer.
In the case of suicide, it would depend on if the person was fully in charge of their faculties and made the choice to kill themselves. If they are unsuccessful, I think we have an obligation to save them because they could suffer for a very long time before finally eventually going.
Human life has a value and we are often asked to assess it against other lives and other factors. Such as when deciding who gets a donated organ like a heart or kidney and who doesn't, or who a doctor will treat and who they refuse. If human life was really beyond value, people would not be out there dying of preventable illness and disease.
IMHO the value a community places on a person's life is demonstrated by what they do, not what they say. We could all save more lives by paying more tax or charitable donations to life-saving groups, and most of us choose not to or donate much less than we could really afford.
I could not place a estimated monetary value upon you or a fellow Hubber you're priceless. I still get sad about losing our Ernest. I know Canada offers compensation for victims and one can sue for more. Some seem pitiful but that's how gov't is the loss of one means nothing when they have umpteen million in their nation or one they consider 'thorns' in their side
I am not sure how much of a monetary value can be put on a human life. I know that right now my medical bills are astronomical! Stage 4 breast cancer and the radiation treatment alone is $1000 per day, 5 days a week and for 6 weeks. I have been insured my whole life, but at this point, cannot honestly say that my premiums in total have been close to what my current bills are. It does make me feel guilty. I feel like I am costing too much, but would never think that about someone else- It must sound very weird, I guess.
I know that I won't be going through any expensive chemo or more surgeries-just won't do it. Maybe it comes down to each person knowing when enough is enough and realizing that you have to face facts. Some things are just not curable.
But it is, and should be, an individual decision.
As a side note, actuaries very easily can place a value on a human life. When my husband died in 1985, the actuaries clearly stated that his value, beyond future earninng potential, was worth $8.00 per day X average life expectancy. That is what they valued his contribution to our family as a husband and father of three young children was. Pretty disgusting, I thought, and still do...
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