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"Timely — and, frankly, sometimes shocking. . . . Ultimate Price exposes a system rife with troubling assumptions and inequality that reduces each human to a data point. Well-written and readable, the book avoids being overly academic while still presenting a meticulously researched argument of why we all should take the time to understand how our own lives are priced.”—BuzzFeed

“A timely and valuable study of how society values individual lives.  Friedman gets to the heart of society priorities.  Indispensable reading.”—Kenneth R. Feinberg, Former Administrator of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund

“This gripping book is essential reading on a topic that you’d like to avoid but can’t.”—Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and other best-selling books

How much is a human life worth? Individuals, families, companies, and governments routinely place a price on human life. The calculations that underlie these price tags are often buried in technical language, yet they influence our economy, laws, behaviors, policies, health, and safety.

These price tags are often unfair, infused as they are with gender, racial, national, and cultural biases that often result in valuing the lives of the young more than the old, the rich more than the poor, whites more than blacks, Americans more than foreigners, and relatives more than strangers. This is critical since undervalued lives are left less-protected and more exposed to risk.

Howard Steven Friedman explains in simple terms how economists and data scientists at corporations, regulatory agencies, and insurance companies develop and use these price tags and points a spotlight at their logical flaws and limitations. He then forcefully argues against the rampant unfairness in the system. Readers will be enlightened, shocked, and, ultimately, empowered to confront the price tags we assign to human lives and understand why such calculations matter.

Howard Steven Friedman, a leading statistician and health economist, is an expert in data science and applications of cost-benefit analysis. He teaches at Columbia University.

Dr. Paul Thurman, a multiple teaching and service award recipient, has extensive advisory and management experience helping a variety of global firms realize value from innovative business, operations, and technology strategies. He has held senior positions at Booz Allen Hamilton and American Express, and has served public and private sector clients on six continents.

Event date: 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Event address: 

Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780520343221
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to Ship to Your Home
Published: University of California Press - May 5th, 2020