What is a human life worth?

SgtSpike

Site Admin & Server Owner
Staff member
This always makes for some interesting conversation... :)

Some say that a human's life is priceless. I say there's a price that each and every person could identify for themselves as to what another human's life is worth.

Take the following scenario, as unrealistic as it might be: Say that an unknown person, somewhere in the world, is being held captive, and will be killed if you do not pay some ransom. You do not know this person now, nor will you ever know this person in the future.

Also say that the ransom must be paid out of your own money. You cannot ask for donations or contact your rich uncle to pay for it - it must be paid in full by you. You CAN get a loan to cover for the money, but this loan follows you everywhere and cannot be erased through any sort of bankruptcy procedure. You would have to pay on it a reasonable minimum payment for the dollar amount of the loan until it was paid off. As a technicality, say the loan has an APR of 5%, and you must pay a 6% minimum payment each year.

Now, would you be willing to pay $50 to save this unknown person's life? I sure would.
What about $100?
What about $500?
What about $5000?
Now these amounts might not affect your life drastically, but what about an amount much higher?

What about $50,000? This would be equivalent to about $900/month in payments for the next 5 years. Would you do it?

What about $500,000?

What about $5,000,000? This would mean you'd be in debt for the rest of your life, and your entire paycheck would go towards paying interest on the loan, unless you somehow managed to make more than $300,000/year.

Now, this isn't meant to be a political discussion, more of a philosophical or psychological discussion. So what is your answer? What is the most you would pay to save a random person's life? Do not respond with "I couldn't put a specific number on it," because that's a lamesauce answer. :p
 

ultimateironman

2 year Wielder of Das Banhammer!
This is why they ransom the person to someone who cares about them personally.

all i'll say is i wouldnt think twice about putting my life on the line to save a random person's life. but i cant put a dollar amount on it.
 

SgtSpike

Site Admin & Server Owner
Staff member
ultimate, you broke rule number... uh... the last rule!
Do not respond with "I couldn't put a specific number on it," because that's a lamesauce answer. :p
I suppose I should answer my own question though. Honestly, I couldn't see myself going past $10,000, at least at this point in my life. I don't have any free cash, and a loan beyond that would put excessive burden on me and my family, to the point where I might not be able to put food on the table every night. I would love to help someone else continue living life, but not to the point where I get evicted out of my own house or can't feed my family.

*shrug* Not a perfect answer, but that's what I'm going with.
 

FrothingLuck

Most Disliked Since 2015!
Not a single dollar. In all honesty, since its someone I don't know and have a 1 in 6 billion chance of ever having to meet that said person I'm okay with them dying. Terrible I know, but I just can't see myself giving away money just to save 1 person. Perhaps if the body count was higher I would be more than willing to put that price on them. The person dying isn't human to me. They aren't humanized. I don't know there life story, I don't know who they are, what there childhood is like nothing. This might be a bad example, but the death of a storm trooper in Star Wars didn't matter to anyone in the audience because they couldn't pair the face to anything (I'm talking after clone wars). They weren't real people to the audience. The only thing the audience cared about are the characters with faces. Think about it, the average viewer hated Darth Vader until they saw his face. Something in the human face releases a bond within us, it makes us sympathize with them. Just my two cents... or no cents as the case may be.
 

Valkorian

Member
It's an interesting question.

I personally would pay nothing more then 50 euros, considering that's basically ALL I can spare.

If I had the money to spare, I might raise the price. I'm one of those people that enjoys making peoples happy (an advantage when interested in psychology) for no reason or return (and trust me, selfish gits don't return much :p)

Once you start looking at the world in the way I do, you realize how arbitrary the world actually is. "I was happy" is a view of opinion.

"The grass is green", even something as fundamental as that, can be argued. If you think about it, the grass is every colour but green, seen as the grass is soaking in every light BUT the green light, reflecting it away, so that's why you see the colour green when you look at grass.

Or simpler, colourblind people? I have a friend who's colourblind, and whenever someone takes a picture of me, and they have the flash on, I go colourblind for a few seconds (not fun, let me tell you.)

So really "What is a human life worth" has no answer. There is no single definition. A human life is worth whatever people say its worth, nothing more nothing less. There's very little in this world that is set in stone.
 

FrothingLuck

Most Disliked Since 2015!
It's an interesting question.

I personally would pay nothing more then 50 euros, considering that's basically ALL I can spare.

If I had the money to spare, I might raise the price. I'm one of those people that enjoys making peoples happy (an advantage when interested in psychology) for no reason or return (and trust me, selfish gits don't return much :p)

Once you start looking at the world in the way I do, you realize how arbitrary the world actually is. "I was happy" is a view of opinion.

"The grass is green", even something as fundamental as that, can be argued. If you think about it, the grass is every colour but green, seen as the grass is soaking in every light BUT the green light, reflecting it away, so that's why you see the colour green when you look at grass.

Or simpler, colourblind people? I have a friend who's colourblind, and whenever someone takes a picture of me, and they have the flash on, I go colourblind for a few seconds (not fun, let me tell you.)

So really "What is a human life worth" has no answer. There is no single definition. A human life is worth whatever people say its worth, nothing more nothing less. There's very little in this world that is set in stone.
I dislike this answer. While it is a thinly veiled attempt to sound deep I can assure you that you do not see the world any differently from anyone else. You also state that 'There is no single definition of how much a human life is worth." While this is true, you are not answering the question. SgtSpike asked how much is it worth to YOU. According to you, you "would pay nothing more then 50 euros" while admirable, it contradicts your statement about how you enjoy "making peoples happy". If you truly were this generous, people-pleasing soul you portray yourself to be, you would give until you could not possible give anymore.

The quote, "Once you start looking at the world in the way I do..." perplexes me the most. What makes your viewpoint so original? Is it because you have oversimplified the world by saying "there is no direct answer to anything"? You insinuate that you are so different, but to me you sound like a teenager who thinks he has the whole world figured out (surely you must with such an oversimplified view of things.) While I do enjoy your example of why grass is not green, you are delving away from the overall issue. You, as of now, are just arguing semantics.

So to conclude, your overly simplified viewpoint of the world is not an original thought-provoking idea nor does it answer the question put forward. Try to answer why you would only pay 50 euros next time, instead of why you are a good person because you gave 50 euros.
 

oliverw92

Retired Administrator
I would pay all the money i could without putting myself into debt. This amount would obviously be variable - at the time i would have to take into account different circumstances etc. So at this very moment in time, I would pay up to £1800 because that is all the money i give and still survive independently myself.
 

Valkorian

Member
I dislike this answer. While it is a thinly veiled attempt to sound deep I can assure you that you do not see the world any differently from anyone else. You also state that 'There is no single definition of how much a human life is worth." While this is true, you are not answering the question. SgtSpike asked how much is it worth to YOU. According to you, you "would pay nothing more then 50 euros" while admirable, it contradicts your statement about how you enjoy "making peoples happy". If you truly were this generous, people-pleasing soul you portray yourself to be, you would give until you could not possible give anymore.

The quote, "Once you start looking at the world in the way I do..." perplexes me the most. What makes your viewpoint so original? Is it because you have oversimplified the world by saying "there is no direct answer to anything"? You insinuate that you are so different, but to me you sound like a teenager who thinks he has the whole world figured out (surely you must with such an oversimplified view of things.) While I do enjoy your example of why grass is not green, you are delving away from the overall issue. You, as of now, are just arguing semantics.

So to conclude, your overly simplified viewpoint of the world is not an original thought-provoking idea nor does it answer the question put forward. Try to answer why you would only pay 50 euros next time, instead of why you are a good person because you gave 50 euros.
I can see why you dislike it. However, it was not an intention to sound "deep", or say that I'm a good person because of this (I personally believe I can be quite... difficult), nor do I believe I have the entire world figured out (now wouldn't that be spiffy?)

I mean the "look at the world the way I do" is an interesting, and rather narcissistic comment. I didn't mean it in such a way, but it unfortunately came out so. I have had some... interesting friends over the years, and it's given me an insight into the widely different opinions there in life. I'm not saying my viewpoint is original, I'm sure many people before me have thought like this, unfortunately I've seen quite a lot of people fail to try and understand another persons viewpoint before acting/reacting. I say "the way I do" to imply that I've thought about this, rather then something I've picked up off the top of my head, my apologies if it came across in a different manner.

I was more answering the question "What is a human life worth", because that is a curious factor, and I viewed the question Spike asked as a theoretical question to help get one thinking, rather then the subject of the question (it is to a manner, but as I said, I viewed the core question as "What is a human life worth?")

Valk
 

W8in

The god of uselessness.
FrothingLuck said:
Not a single dollar.
Frothing, me and you agree on this subject. :)

*getting suspicious* SgtSpike, you weren't asked to write an essay about this by any chance? :)
 

SgtSpike

Site Admin & Server Owner
Staff member
Nope, no essays. I just like asking interesting questions. You should ask my family - I harass them with such questions often. :p
 

Alostmoneyg

Former Server Moderator and Ban Appeal Moderator
I would pay about 5 - 10 thousand dollars for some mercenaries to go and forcefully get that person back. Or i would dare chuck norris and get round house kicked for questioning him.
 

Kane256

New Member
I read in one of my textbooks (so it must be true :rolleyes:) that a study done a while back using the correlation between workplace risk and salary amount to extrapolate a value we put on our own lives. If I remember right this was about $3mil USD. this was a few years ago now though so the value may have changed (inflation and recession).

Also we should consider that if we were just saving any random persons life on the earth that means that we are including the 95% percent (or whatever it is) that live below the poverty line. do we REALLY value their lives to the same amount?? (I'm not saying we don't by the way).

Also to consider what if we where to hypothetically be saving someone like Hitler, how much would you pay then?

Or someone like Martin Luther King or John F Kennedy? Would it be worth going into debt and sacrificing the rest of your working life to save someone who could do so much good for humanity?

To answer the actual question, I personally wouldn't be willing to give up more than a few thousand to save a random person, considering the risk of saving some genocidal maniac or loser drug dealer.
 

W8in

The god of uselessness.
Now, this isn't meant to be a political discussion, more of a philosophical or psychological discussion. So what is your answer? What is the most you would pay to save a random person's life? Do not respond with "I couldn't put a specific number on it," because that's a lamesauce answer.
The exact amount i would pay, carefully calculated, is about....Tree Fiddy.
 

xstargamingx

Potato Overlord
Staff member
Well it depends on how healthy they are.
Will healthy skin and organs,
They could be worth as much as $600,000! : DDD

But I guess your asking how much I'd be willing to pay to SAVE them, so. . .
:/ I don't have much but to save someone, I'd pay as much as I could at the time.
The person may not mean anything to me, but they mean something to someone else.
For all I know, they're a husband/wife, or a mom/dad, or maybe they're just a therapist that helps save other people. *shrug*
And if they were some druggie or something,
maybe that experience would change them for the better. .

I'd like to put emphasis on my "I'd pay as much as I could at the time."
This does not mean enough to put me in debt, and it does not mean everything I have.
It means that once I pay the ransom, there is still enough left for me to have a house and support a family (if I have one).
 
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