Economists have decided that the value of an American life is, well, just not worth what it used to be. The price of an American is worth about $6.9 million, down $1 million in the last five years, according to an AP report. Remember that scene in Fight Club where Ed Norton explains that his company has a formula to determine if it’s worthwhile to do a recall on a deathtrap car? Apparently the government has a similar formula for figuring out if it’s worthwhile to enact safety policies:
Consider, for example, a hypothetical regulation that costs $18 billion to enforce but will prevent 2,500 deaths. At $7.8 million per person (the old figure), the lifesaving benefits outweigh the costs. But at $6.9 million per person, the rule costs more than the lives it saves, so it may not be adopted.
This is the result of the Environmental Protection agency “reevaluating” how much a life is worth. So this means a lot of environmental regulation, especially where the causes are harder to trace like asthma or pollution-related deaths, is just not worth it given the declining value of an American human. On a weird side note, apparently we’re worth more than our grandparents. The AP article says that the elderly are worth “38 percent less than that of people under 70.”