How much is a human life worth? Individuals, families, companies, and governments routinely place a price on human life. The calculations that underlie these price tags are often buried in technical language, yet they influence our economy, laws, behaviors, policies, health, and safety.
These price tags are often unfair, infused as they are with gender, racial, national, and cultural biases that often result in valuing the lives of the young more than the old, the rich more than the poor, whites more than blacks, Americans more than foreigners, and relatives more than strangers. This is critical since undervalued lives are left less-protected and more exposed to risk.
Howard Steven Friedman explains in simple terms how economists and data scientists at corporations, regulatory agencies, and insurance companies develop and use these price tags and points a spotlight at their logical flaws and limitations. He then argues against the rampant unfairness in the system. Readers will be enlightened, shocked, and, ultimately, empowered to confront the price tags we assign to human lives and understand why such calculations matter.
Bio: Howard Steven Friedman is a statistician and health economist for the United Nations. He has worked with major organizations including UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNDP, and UNESCO. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
- The Value of Human Life
- Inequity and Inequality
- Public Health System
- September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
- Boston Marathon bombings
- Stop and Frisk Program