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Human lives are priceless

Old 26th Jun 2020, 06:29
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Human lives are priceless

Recently this interesting extract of an article in The New Daily by Michael Pascoe was sent to me in relation to the value of human life. Of course we all know that aviation is different and safety is more important that cost.

“I wrote in another place three years ago that an Australian life was worth not more than $4.2 million, on average, according to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Young lives were worth a bit more and we’re also prepared to pay more to avoid particularly painful and gruesome deaths.

The latter is a factor in our willingness to spend disproportionately large amounts trying to minimise the already very low risk of death by shark attack, while doing very little to counteract that much more successful serial killer, the common ladder.

Sharks killed just two of us the year before that article, but ladders averaged 23 deaths a year over the decade to 2012.

The statistics are useful in busting two of the more common myths regularly regurgitated by media: “Human life is priceless” and its close relative, “If it only saves one life, it’s worth it”.

The reality is that human life is constantly being priced – every time a road is designed, every time another safety regulation is mooted, every time an expensive new drug is considered for government subsidy, every time a court decides appropriate compensation for wrongful death. Abacuses of actuaries are constantly on the case.

If it was true that “life is priceless” and “if it only saves one life, it’s worth it”, all our cars would be speed limited to 30 kilometres an hour and every intersection would at least have traffic lights, if not a flyover.”

You could forget horse riding and rock fishing, bicycles would be kept to walking pace, and anyone attempting to mount a motorcycle would be shot to save them from falling off.

As we routinely price lost life, rational economics would also have us pricing saved and improved lives.”
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 08:51
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Hi Dick,

Is that a 'typo' .....should that read 'than' cost.....or 'that cost'...??

Curious is all....not bein' 'nasty'.....hoo me???
Cheers
Griffo

p.s. Tks again for the 'R'........
xx
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 09:56
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Cognitive Bias

“Cognitive Bias” is a completely uncontroversial and well-known human attribute. The human mind naturally overestimates the probabilities of events that have awful consequences: Events like shark attacks and aircraft crashes. (The ‘mystique of aviation’ has been coined previously to describe the effects of that bias in aviation regulation.)

In sensible societies, finite risk mitigation resources are allocated on the basis of objective risk and cost benefit analyses, rather than perception affected by cognitive bias. When that doesn’t happen, the outcome is unnecessary cost and damage through disproportionate resources being allocated to mitigating the perceived, overestimated risks rather than the actual risks that would more effectively be mitigated.

Cognitive bias and the yawning gap between the talk and the walk about aviation safety risk and regulation are the main (but not only) reasons for the parlous state of general aviation in Australia (in whatever way “general aviation” might be defined).

In Australia, lives, livelihoods and life’s passions are sacrificed in the name of ‘aviation safety’ on a regular basis, when the cost of that sacrifice is either not justified by the cost or - worse and tragically - paid in return for no causal mitigation of any safety risk. It makes me sick to the stomach to reflect on - for example - the people who’ve committed suicide because of the enforcement of colour vision ‘standards’ that existed only in the minds of zealots. And that’s just the tip (albeit the most ghastly part) of the iceberg.

Last edited by Clinton McKenzie; 26th Jun 2020 at 21:15. Reason: To correct a spelling error.
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 13:01
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We are each owed a death, our lives aren't exactly in our hands........such is life!-)
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 01:22
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In sensible societies, finite risk mitigation resources are allocated on the basis of objective risk and cost benefit analyses
Perhaps we once had a sensible society Clinton, did an aviation safety course where it was explained that the need (cost) to introduce a life preserving mod would be balanced against the predicted number of lives it may save. If it were otherwise we wouldn't have vehicles driving head on at a closing speed of between 200 and 260 kph and separated in their passing by a couple of feet.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 01:02
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AAHHH.... 'E' roadspace..?

Cheeerrrsss.....
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 02:14
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Now now Griffo, DO NOT mention THE question that shall not be asked...
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 05:19
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That figure is most likely hypothecated by Govt at birth when our parents sign our birth certificate, which is then registered as a human resource that is used as collateral for "public" debt. Like any big business, Govt has basically three sets of books, the budget, actual figures for the year, and the complete annual financial record that includes revenue from all sources, plus assets. The value of a life depends on various factors like whether they're married, age, sex, racial origin, etc. Basically all the stupid questions you have to answer when filling out Govt forms and censuses. Those factors enable Govt to keep a track of the value of all their assets which include you, me, and our kids. Businesses, pets and cars are also registered, probably for the same reason. Now, the really tricky part is that we are what you'd call plant, income producing assets, and we are registered as collateral for public debt that's incurred by Govt, supposedly on our behalf. Govt rack up mountains of public debt with us liable for repayment, while they shift profitable public assets over onto the Govt owned corporate books where the profits remain with the GOC, instead of going into consolidated revenue. So, in short, that's the highest value of a normal Australian, but I doubt it'd be the price they'd put on someone like Dick.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 05:53
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Originally Posted by Manwell View Post
Those factors enable Govt to keep a track of the value of all their assets which include you, me, and our kids. Businesses, pets and cars are also registered, probably for the same reason.
You seriously think the government wants to "keep a track of the value of" my pet cat?
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 10:35
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Man well, you are talking nonsense. An Actuary can give you the figures. They calculate risk vs. cost all the time. That is their profession. How do you think insurance premiums are set?.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 13:41
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Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
How do you think insurance premiums are set?.
I reckon that's an easy question: To the maximum an insurance company believes the market will bear.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 22:22
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Gerry, yes, but the underwriters still need to know the underlying long term risk and costs otherwise they have no foundation from which to bargain.

For example, the benchmark for RPT aircraft public liability insurance is the price and probability of an aircraft crash in the center of the London commercial. district on a weekday summer lunchtime. For a US domestic carrier it’s the same on Manhattan.


It is obvious that all aviation regulation and airspace design should be based on such work, yet it isn’t in Australia.

An actuary is a business professional who deals with the measurement and management of risk and uncertainty


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actuary



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Old 29th Jun 2020, 04:47
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Originally Posted by nonsense View Post
You seriously think the government wants to "keep a track of the value of" my pet cat?
Cats aren't required to be registered yet, but they will be eventually.
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Old 29th Jun 2020, 04:50
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Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
Man well, you are talking nonsense. An Actuary can give you the figures. They calculate risk vs. cost all the time. That is their profession. How do you think insurance premiums are set?.
I sure thought it was nonsense too when I first started looking into it, but I can assure you it makes perfect sense of what's happening in reality.
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Old 29th Jun 2020, 08:02
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So the four guys who died at Mangalore were "worth" $16.8 Million - clearly not because no-one (in authority) has lifted a finger to do anything about it.
Perhaps it would be better to make a life value assessment based on the amount of bad press the Minister does or does not attract?
1. Mangalore = 2 GA trainers = nil press coverage = no interest
2. (Hypothetical) Wagga = 2 Rex Saabs = plastered all over the news outlets = refurbished control tower

Do not enjoy being a cynic, but..............
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