The “value of a human life” and Supply Chain Choices

A New York Times article (February 20, 2011) describes estimates of the value of a human life across US government agencies – $ 9.1 million by the EPA, $ 7.9 million by the FDA, $ 6 million by DOT, and a number between 1 and 10 million recommended by the OMB. The impact of these estimates is the justification for specific labels on drugs by the FDA, the need for warning labels on cigarette packages with cancer victim pictures by the FDA, stronger roofs on cars by the DOT etc.  These examples suggest that design choices and associated risk is calculated by using estimates of their value – and thus may be significant. But should this choice of the value of human life be allowed to vary across US government agencies and thus have different effects across industries ? Should it also be allowed to vary across time (moving up or down) and across decisions ? How should private industry supply chains incorporate these estimates into the choices across companies ?

About aviyer2010

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