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01:57 pm: The foul calculus

I keep staring at the world, and thinking how the value of life is so incredibly low.

The measured value of non-human life is zero dollars. Birds, tortoises, buffalo … whatever you pick … the “cost” of buying their meat, fouling their habitat, or driving them out includes exactly $0 worth of value based on the fact that any sentient being would generally prefer (edge cases aside) “living” as opposed to “dying.” There is a slight consideration for the fact that all sentient beings prefer “not suffering” rather than “suffering,” but that’s mostly due to some security foul ups that allowed documentation of how we treat factory farmed animals. Meat costs a little bit more because, as a society, we put a teensy bit of value on not having to know about the suffering of untold billions of creatures. We got shown the pictures, so we insist on regulation … but so long as we didn’t have to look – we didn’t care. Merely killing them “humanely,” is free. I.e: Animal life has zero value.

Go further, and realize that the value of human life is really approximately zero dollars as well. This is most recently and obviously true in the BP gusher – in which The Corporation’s negligence led directly to the deaths of 11 men … but it’s also true across the board.

As yourself “how much would you have to pay me to kill myself?” Assume, if you want the game to go anywhere at all, that you are allowed to give that money – tax free – to your closest relative. You don’t get to pick which one though … you’re dead. If you’re a law enforcement officer, that value appears to be between $200k and $300k. It’s lower for soldiers … about $100k.

For ease of comparison, if the BP gusher was flowing at 60,000 barrels per day, and if oil sold at $80 per barrel, BP is killing 48 soldiers per day (a company every few days) until they get the damn thing capped.

Originally published at chris.dwan.org. You can comment here or there.

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