Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Worth It

I was reading Paul Heagen's Memorial Day blog entry "Do we Live like we are Worth It?" and it struck me how do we value a person's life or worth?   Unfortunately, this comes into play in the legal system when tragedy, mistake, sin, error and randomness occur in life. It even comes into play in making corporate cost/benefit decisions. I remember R.R. (who was a CEO of an airline) said to me, that each passenger was $1 million of liability upon a crash.

Various government agencies use life values for policy decisions - EPA $6.8 to $9.1 million; FDA $7.9 million; Dept of Transportation $6 million; In the court room there is a need to quantify life in terms of what human capital earning power is diminished by the accident or fatality.  You can estimate your life value with this calculator.  For the mathematical and statitically inclined, Vicusi analyzes the risk premium of injury prone occupations to calculate how we value life - $7 million in 2002.

So time and money seem to be most quantifiable variables available for quantifying the worth of life.  However this assumes that aging reduces the worth of your life (less time, less earning power).  But what is an older person's wisdom worth?  One comment, action or example that could change the life worth of someone else?  My career at Accenture constantly reminded me of how much one hour of my time was worth. And that billing rate increased exponentially with the skill level  and value delivered with the advice.

So as we age, our billing rate increases to infinity.  Hence the reason - every minute counts!

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