Does a human being have a dollar value?

Silent Sunday - Early morning in Melbourne

In the past I haven’t done posts like this, but during this pandemic I keep asking myself does a human being have a dollar value?

Does a human being have a dollar value?

Extraordinary Times

During these times it is hard not to get a little depressed. We are living through an extraordinary time and we need to be up to the task ahead to get through, but I am constantly seeing the failing of that.

We keep hearing things like ”Coronavirus is a hoax” or “what about my rights”. It all seems to be about the individual or business, and not about society collectively.

The question I keep asking myself is how much is a human life worth?

According to these people who don’t think we should do everything we can to make it safe for everyone a human life is not worth as much as their rights or freedoms. Businesses should be allowed to open regardless of the cost to those who could die.

The world has seen many pandemics in the past and I have to say I am grateful that we have the modern technologies that are allowing us to get through this far better than we did in previous ones. However, the main difference seems to be that people think they have more rights now or something. Places like Facebook give them a platform to find others that give them the courage, if you could use that word, to decide that they don’t need to tow the line.

If we don’t work together we won’t get through this with minimal deaths.

Government Leaders

One of the biggest problems I see is how our leaders are all fighting with one another. The different political parties, the federal government against the states. The federal government keeps saying that health is a matter for the states. Okay so if it is then why criticise how the states are handling it?

Our Prime Minister has done nothing to bring the people of Australia together. He is good at saying one thing and doing another. One thing I think he is failing at is bringing people together, to help us feel like we are all in this together. That we all have to do our best to help get through this.

Instead, he wants to push our Premier into opening up the state earlier. He did this after the first time and when our state leader did that, look at what happened, we ended up in a second wave. There were other factors, but you can’t help wondering if that wasn’t part of the problem.

This isn’t easy, and I feel for the people who may lose their businesses and for those who have lost their jobs, but how many more will be lost if we ignore the experts? A third wave would be devasting, so we need to pull together and do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen. The economy will recover. It may take time and it will, no doubts, look very different, but history shows us it will happen.

Lives or Money

Really this is what it comes down to. How much is a human being’s life worth?

Is it worth getting the economy going again in spite of many people dying?

I don’t know about you, but I would rather deal with less death.

Here is an article that looks at the Spanish Flu in Australia, Centenary of Spanish flu pandemic in Australia. There are a lot of similarities.

Does a human being have a dollar value?

So after that perhaps something a little lighter.

From The Woman’s Book

To end this post I thought I might give you another quote from The Woman’s Book, Contains Everything a Woman Ought to Know, apparently.

I found this gem and thought you might like it too. Remember this book was published in 1911 and it all about the woman’s role in the home.

The Duty of Cheerfulness:-

Cheerfulness is one of the most valuable of possessions; it is really the sunshine of life, the promoter of health and happiness. To be able to keep up the spirits of those around us not only adds to the brightness of the home, but helps to make all duties comparatively light and easy. It is a woman’s duty to make the life of the home as happy and gay as possible, and however depressed she may sometimes feel she ought to struggle again the feeling and not damp the spirits of those around her.

No one can be more trying than the person who continually gives way to low spirits, going about with a martyr-like expression, and making a habit of airing her grievances at every meal or family gathering. Such a person is a constant source of irritation to the other members of the household.

I’m not going to lie, thank goodness times have changed in that regard. What do you think?

The photos

I’m including photos today from my city. A place I look forward to getting out and taking photos of once again when we get through this pandemic.

Does a human being have a dollar value?

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    1. Yeah, I’ve read somewhere that there is a dollar amount. Something like 10 million in the US for each life. I couldn’t agree more. Thank you Khürt

  1. I does indeed. Humans are termed “Human Capital” not for nothing. All insurance companies have charts as to the payouts for accidents that involve human lives. There are government standards as to the death rate that is acceptable in illness or pandemics as well as they type of deaths (old people, useful people, young people, homeless people etc.) that are allowable. All governments have those but are loath to admit it.

    There are numbers of deaths required before a traffic signal goes in at a busy intersection. and on and on.

  2. Leanne, One thing you fail to consider is that there is a genuine possibility that we are in the midst of a World War, it is just not kinetic. If you can see world news, Xi is expanding China’s territory, fighting in Nepal, India, taking Hong Kong, acting like the S. China Sea is theirs alone…they didn’t like the trade deal they executed with the US. They released the virus around the world. No one wants to speak that out loud. But, the virus and the reaction to it has weakened every country in the world one way or another. Weak is unable to fight. How do you react? As to things in the US…our CDC just admitted that deaths stats were greatly exaggerated and that deaths are about 6,000, not 170,000 as previously stated. But, fear of getting it is there. Our biggest problem is political chaos and a news media intent on fomenting violence. Control of the populace is the end game. I’d like to know who’s organizing and paying for it, because it’s obvious big money is being employed to create this chaos, weakening and dividing the people in tha US…. but coming full circle, my best guess is that China is behind it. We closed one of their embassies for a reason…stockpiled weapons.

  3. I think it is all very difficult to get the balance right. Round here in the UK numbers of people with the virus appear to be going up but it is mainly among the young, who I imagine are getting impatient with having their lives put on hold. But then the government is rather giving mixed messages with opening schools (and pubs!) and encouraging people to go back to offices but wanting to keep cases down as well. I am trying to stay as safe as possible though I am going to visit my daughter (and be in a ‘bubble’ with them) in a couple of weeks even though my granddaughter has gone back to school. Not sure if I am doing the right thing.

    1. We basically have the opposite, where as soon as the numbers starting getting higher we went straight into lockdown again. Then we have a government, well state one that is being very clear about what we need to be doing and people are just arguing against it. It seems like you can’t win. I am so happy to hear you are trying to stay safe, we are just staying home as much as possible. I haven’t been able to see my daughters for a couple of months, I’m hoping that will change soon. I think you have to follow your gut, just be aware and do everything you can to keep yourself well RJ

  4. Hello Leanne,
    Well done on writing an interesting post. Sadly many/most countries seem to lack the social cohesion to pull together on this – the virus doesn’t need social cohesion…it just is, and exploits our weaknesses in spite of, as you say, our world being way more technically advanced than 100 years ago. But I do like the thoughts about cheerfulness – something to remember here in the Northern hemisphere as we head into the prospect of a winter of ongoing case explosion and media coverage, which often doesn’t seem to have any awareness of the need to encourage a little more cheerfulness in us all!
    Best wishes to you all in Melbourne /Victoria

    1. It amazes me when we look back at history and see how communities and nations held it together during things like World War 2, the Spanish flu etc. We seemed to have turned into a me society, where the number one person is the individual. It is sad. I loved that stuff about cheerfulness as well, it put a smile on my face. We are coming out of winter now.
      Thank you so much Julian and you take care too, stay healthy.

    2. Thanks Leanne, things are getting tough again here… England limiting gatherings now anywhere to 6 because of apparently mainly younger folk not adhering to social distancing measures. Case loads are rising exponentially again over the last week, and testing/tracking systems clearly still aren’t up to coping, in spite of a summer with low numbers to get this sorted… it’s definitely going to be a long grind this winter! I shall remind myself to keep smiling and be cheerful!
      Take care and keep writing…
      best wishes

    3. We have been hearing the numbers for England and your PM doesn’t want to lockdown again. That is sad really, it then becomes what is more important, lives or money, or re-election. Sounds like a good plan, it is what we have been doing too. Stay safe Julian, or stay heathly.

  5. I think that this pandemic brings us face to face with an unpleasant reality that, while we may hold the abstract ideal of a priceless human life, no society can actually afford to treat every single life as infinitely priceless and worth of infinite amount of money and resources. In our normal way of life, we don’t organise our societies with everyone’s safety as number one priority, or otherwise we’d locking up every flu season, driving at 20km/hour speed, and banning cigarettes and sugar. It’s always about a trade-off between life risks and economic considerations and most people would be extremely reluctant to admit this. Of course the new and frighteningly exponential nature of this virus makes everything so much more complicated, and I don’t envy the people responsible for big decisions, but the same basic principle of trade-off remains.

    Also, the reason our state (I also live in Melbourne) ended up in the second wave was in large part thanks to the shockingly inept tracing system, and the government’s continued lack of faith in their own resources is the main reason why Victoria is being put through the extended hard lockdown with (in my opinion) completely unrealistic elimination goals.

    1. I don’t think playing the blame game helps, not really. We are all in this together and we need to stick together. What is a few more weeks when we have been at this for months really. I would rather they did everything they could to make sure we don’t have to go into lockdown again. Sure they might be siding on the side of caution, but I can’t say I blame them.
      Interesting the comments about flu normally, there were around 450 deaths from flu last year, that was with no lockdown, this year that number is so small. I can’t help wondering with the number of deaths so far how many would there have been if we didn’t lockdown at all, or took Sweden’s approach. They have a population of 10 million and have had around 10000 deaths, so I wonder if we had done the same would we be looking at 25000 deaths and would we think that would be acceptable. I don’t know there are any right answers here, but I vote for no more future lockdowns, or no third wave.

  6. Thank you for speaking out. I so appreciate your point of view, and I am glad you wrote this.

    What a great question. Given what’s happening here in the US, it appears that value is small. I think the real issue is that there seems to be a second global pandemic that has been circulating for years now. There is no cure at the present. It is selfishness. In the US, this is at the root of so many of our problems. Too many can’t even wear a mask to protect others.

    I had no idea that your country had the same issues. Obviously, there needs to be a balance between complete shutdowns and protection, but the problem I see is too little polite and factual debate about where that balance should be, and too much of “you can’t make me …”

    1. I think you are spot on with the selfishness Tim, though my husband thinks it is also stupidity.
      Great comment Tim, thank you so much.

    2. Your husband is right as well. What a combination – stupid and selfish. What could go wrong there? Ha ha! Well, you take care of yourself.

  7. What we are finding in the US is that suicide is up and homicide is up during the pandemic. There has been analysis done that says in terms of number of years of life (vice number of lives), the shutdown has cost way more. Medical neglect of other illnesses is costing years of life during the shutdown–and causing actual deaths. So it’s not a matter of lives vs money. It’s a matter of lives, period.

    1. I think we can’t really compare countries, we have a lot of differences and our healthcare system and welfare systems are very different. Australia is more a socialist type of country. We also don’t have a bill of rights or anything like that. There has been problems with people not getting looked after for other health problems but that is usually because people are too scared to go to the hospital in case they get Covid 19. We have been in our second lockdown for almost 8 weeks, and now they want us to stay in it for another couple of weeks longer. It really isn’t that much too ask. If we open up too soon, we will be in lockdown again in another month and that will be worse. In Australia it is lives over money, because our government is giving grants out left right and centre, or at least they say they are available. Banks have put off mortgage payments, etc. There is a moratorium on evictions and rent hikes. So they are doing a lot to help people, but for some it will never be enough. If I’m honest, we don’t want what has happened in the US to happen here. It is out of control there.

    1. The attitudes of some are outrageous, and I know the US has had a lot of problems with that. The main difference is that here in Australia us individuals don’t really have any rights. Nothing is written anywhere. So people saying it is there right not to do such and such, it really is just rubbish. We do what the government allows us to do. Thankfully, we are usually allowed to do a lot. Thanks for your point of view.

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