What is a human life worth?

Discussion in 'Economy' started by midcan5, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    What Should a Billionaire Give – and What Should You?

    By Peter Singer

    "What is a human life worth? You may not want to put a price tag on a it. But if we really had to, most of us would agree that the value of a human life would be in the millions. Consistent with the foundations of our democracy and our frequently professed belief in the inherent dignity of human beings, we would also agree that all humans are created equal, at least to the extent of denying that differences of sex, ethnicity, nationality and place of residence change the value of a human life....

    In the same world in which more than a billion people live at a level of affluence never previously known, roughly a billion other people struggle to survive on the purchasing power equivalent of less than one U.S. dollar per day. Most of the world’s poorest people are undernourished, lack access to safe drinking water or even the most basic health services and cannot send their children to school. According to Unicef, more than 10 million children die every year — about 30,000 per day — from avoidable, poverty-related causes."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/m...?em&ex=1166763600&en=008e5238d37554dc&ei=5070
     
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  2. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    I like the article. I glanced through it but I think that I will read it more carefully later. The following paragraph caught my attention:

    Interestingly, neither Gates nor Buffett seems motivated by the possibility of being rewarded in heaven for his good deeds on earth. Gates told a Time interviewer, “There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning” than going to church. Put them together with Andrew Carnegie, famous for his freethinking, and three of the four greatest American philanthropists have been atheists or agnostics. (The exception is John D. Rockefeller.) In a country in which 96 percent of the population say they believe in a supreme being, that’s a striking fact. It means that in one sense, Gates and Buffett are probably less self-interested in their charity than someone like Mother Teresa, who as a pious Roman Catholic believed in reward and punishment in the afterlife.

    I like to hear that Atheists and Agnostics give. To what extent do they give privately and/or publicly? Is there a different motivation in those that give secretly and those that give publicly? Businesses and organizations (as well as charities) brag about what they donate. Their motivation is probably to attract customers (or donations). Individuals brag about what they give. It is probably to attract admirers. I remember a story about a lady who waved a check in the air during church service because she had a poor-quality pen and needed to have the ink dry on the check more quickly. I don’t intend to “knock” Christians and Christianity. I know some great Christians. I’m interested in ethics and motivations, and I am merely mildly intrigued by this article.
     

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