Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Howard Steven Friedman's "Ultimate Price"

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.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life, and reported the following:
Page 99 of Ultimate Price focuses on different ways that we can value our own lives. It explains the survivor needs method and compares it to the replacement income needs calculation. The page concludes by referring back to the Value of a Statistical Life and describing the differences in both the amounts (Value of a Statistics Life is much larger than the typical life insurance policy) and the difference in purpose.

This test works reasonably well for my book so I would say it gets a solid passing grade though not an A. As we would expect, there are many other pages in the book that would give a better understanding of the book itself since, on page 99, I am right in the middle of a detailed discussion. Readers will get some understanding that I am looking at how life is valued from different points of view by the discussion of the life insurance methods and the comparison with the Value of a Statistical Life. The reader will likely fail to understand the breadth that my book covers and potentially get the false impression that it is narrow in scope. Readers will also immediately recognize that the text is clearly written for a lay audience but provides a substantial amount of scientific rigor to allow readers to understand the details underneath the calculation.

Ultimate Price examines the different ways that human life is valued from civil courts to criminal courts to for-profit companies to health insurance and life insurance and even discussing victims compensation funds. The key principles in the book are that price tags are put on human life all the time, usually using calculations that we can all understand. These price tags are often unfair resulting in some lives being less valued and consequently less protected. We need to ensure that life is priced fairly, so that human rights and human lives are always protected.
Visit Howard Steven Friedman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue