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What’s The Price Tag On A Human Life?




A homeless person is seen during the coronavirus pandemic on April 12, 2020 in New York City.
A homeless person is seen during the coronavirus pandemic on April 12, 2020 in New York City.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

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That may seem like a cold and abstract question, but for governments, companies and sometimes families, it’s a question that must be grappled with. And oftentimes, whose life is being examined has an impact on the answer. 

"Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life" by Howard Steven Friedman (University of California Press)

In his new book, “Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life,” data scientist and health economist Howard Steven Friedman dives into how these different actors calculate the monetary value of people’s lives and the implicit or explicit assumptions driving this decision making. 

We take a closer look at these issues, as well as the ways they’ve become magnified by the coronavirus pandemic.

Guest:

Howard Steven Friedman, data scientist, health economist and adjunct associate professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University; his new book is “Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life” (June 2020, University of California Press); he tweets @howardsfriedman