[ExI] value of a human life, was RE: Same Sex Marriage (was Re: Call To Libertarians)

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon Feb 28 19:08:58 UTC 2011

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Stefano Vaj

>> For every gram of cocaine you hold in your hand, someone has likely been
killed to get it there.

Mmhhh. As much as I am against prohibitionism, this sounds a little
emphatic, and likely to overestimate the number of murders, or to
underestimate the number of cocaine grams in circulation.

Any hard data in this respect?

Stefano Vaj

Wiki says annual world cocaine consumption is about 600 tons per year.  This
can likely get us an order of magnitude estimate.  If we use the 1 murder
per gram ratio, that's 600 million murders per year or about a tenth of the
world population murdered per year.  This sounds high to me.  My (admittedly
uneducated) estimate would run to somewhere in the order of 600 to 6000
murders per year over cocaine, so that for every 100 to 1000 kilos of
cocaine you hold in your hand, someone has been killed, even if we ignore
the practical difficulty of holding a ton of cocaine in one's hand.

If we use that criterion  to tackle the difficult ethical question regarding
the dollar value of a human life, I would start with the estimate that
cocaine is worth (well it was when I was a teenager) about 100 bucks a gram,
and there has been inflation but simultaneously far more new suppliers from
what I hear, so let me use 100 US bucks a gram, so a human life is worth
between 10 million and 100 million bucks.


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