The Market Value of a Life

Investors Business Daily explains that “People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”

Hawking is, of course, British and always has been.

Meanwhile, as with all anti-rationing talk you really have to wonder what rightwingers think happens in a free market system. In a pure market, your life is worth what you’re able to pay. The way the free market works, if an indigent woman gives birth to a premature infant you let the infant die. Thankfully, no country—not even the US of A—is actually sufficiently committed to free market principles to let infants die like that. We do, however, allow many expectant mothers to go without the best possible prenatal care, thus jeopardizing the well-being of their children forever. Twelve year old children wind up dying because their parents can’t afford routine dental care.