People place various levels of price on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. People take drastic measures in an attempt to increase and improve one's life. Unfortunately, money and economics have a great influence on the value of life. As presented in the text, the Jones-Lee Approach, the relationship between wages and risk, and the study with the smoke detectors, all show that even with health, as with material consumer products, people will purchase more when the price is cheaper. People actually place a higher value on life when the means of 'saving' that life are cheaper.
The limitations to this type of analysis are that money and numerical figures are not the only way people assess the value of life. Placing a monetary value on life depicts how people react to prices as they do with all goods they purchase. There are many other ways, however, to measure how much you value your life. Obviously, good health is a major factor of being happy and satisfied with your life. However, people also place family, friends, and self-realization very high on the list of value.
Every year, the United States allots a limited amount of money that may be spent on health care. Not everyone can be saved and cured, and the decision on who is, is left up to those in charge. The fact is, different people have different views on whose life should be valued more. Some may want to save a young child who hasn't had a chance to live their life over an elderly person who has lived a long fulfilling life. Others, however, would place the elder higher because they are wiser and more experienced, while the young child still doesn't know what is happening. I would predict that most people would choose the first option.
The value of life is very important to society today. It is important in every profession, culture, and home. The way economists place a numerical, dollar value on it is not the only way to measure it. To know that people will place a higher value on life if the price is cheaper, and will take more of a risk with their life if they can save time and money is somewhat disturbing. People need to look at the importance of their families and friends and stop turning to the faster, cheaper means of getting things.