Perhaps the most controversial aspect of valuation is the attempt to ascribe a financial value to a human life. Understandably, for ethical, religious or philosophical reasons, many people oppose the valuation of something commonly perceived as priceless, and argue that no monetary figure could possibly compensate entirely for the loss of a life.
Despite the reluctance of some, determining the value of a life is necessary for policy makers and those involved in health and safety. As resources are finite and not every premature death can be realistically avoided, decisions in improving public health through medical procedures or safety regulations are being made. Without this information it may be difficult to target spending and resources effectively.
This document first appeared as a blog on the Global Value Exchange.