Viscusi analyzed the relationship between age and the value of statistical life and he found the amount rises over time. For example, Viscusi says a year-old has a higher value of statistical life than an year-old. Not because they have more life left, but they have more money and they're willing to spend more money to reduce risk to the life," said Viscusi. Viscusi's estimates of the VSL are regularly used by government agencies to place a dollar value on reduced mortality risks.
He has served as a consultant to the U.
Department of Justice on issues pertaining to the valuation of life and health. In the Carter administration, he was Deputy Director of the Council of Wage and Price Stability, which was responsible for White House oversight over all new federal regulations. He has served on different panels of the Science Advisory Board of the U. Environmental Protection Agency for over a decade. Viscusi is the founding editor of the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, which he has edited since Explore further.
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Why Americans Insist on Putting a Price Tag on Life
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Do smokers cost society money? Apr 08, Jun 18, In order to cover rental payments and maximize profits, r ent-paying tenants needed to find ways to make the land over-perform. This drove a predictable obsession with increasing agricultural productivity, which in turn revolutionized English agricultural production and later initiated the Industrial Revolution. Petty was tasked with surveying the land Oliver Cromwell had confiscated in his conquest of Ireland. He planned to turn these seized lands over to his soldiers and other supporters. When Petty drew up his map, however, he added new information, designating parishes according to their potential future profitability.
This allowed Cromwell to work out more accurately how much each soldier should receive. He estimated the total economic output of workers in England, and then that of the average worker.
The Price of Life by Nigel Brennan
He priced all sorts of aspects of events and activities. These early efforts were largely unsuccessful. There was simply too much open land and too few willing workers, Cook writes. Once indentured servants made money, they opted out of waged labor, and bought their own farms. As a result, colonial America remained—unlike England at the time—non-capitalist in its economic orientation, while being highly repressive of people who happened to not be white men.
The early American slave economy, Cook contends, was largely non-capitalist too which is not to imply that it was any less monstrous. In the colonial era, most of the South produced tobacco, which can be cultivated on a much smaller scale than sugar or cotton. The slaves who worked tobacco plantations were, according to Cook, infrequently bought and sold.
This was to change dramatically with the rise of cotton in the early nineteenth century.
Enslaved human beings, in other words, were increasingly seen, and treated, less as a form of family property than as liquid financial investments, a transformation that contributed to the unleashing of a giant internal slave market. At the same time, the arguments for and against slavery were being cast increasingly in economic terms. In the s and s, moral statistics were wielded both to defend and attack the institution of slavery. For instance, a racist Massachusetts physician named Edward Jarvis, relying on numbers from the U. Jarvis later found large incongruities in the underlying data, however, and published a correction warning that his numbers were bunk; the damage, however, could not be undone, and his argument spread like wildfire in the South as a defense of slavery.
In contrast, by the s and s, slavery was less often debated on moral than on economic grounds, as Cook shows. These rising prices would also ensure, he contended, that slaves would be treated well. Those who critiqued slavery similarly based their arguments on economic statistics. Slavery was clearly economically irrational. This change in thinking corresponded, Cook emphasizes, with the growing capitalization of American economic life. In the North, capitalization was driven by the railroads, and in the South, by the rise of cotton slavery.
The Civil War, Cook writes, was therefore less a war between a capitalist North and pre-capitalist or feudal South, but between two capitalist polities, undergirded by different types of capital. It was only the latter, of course, which had literally capitalized humanity itself.