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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/130

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vidual may possess many of these, they may be partially or altogether wanting in another, and so the judgment of juries and courts is altered to meet these conditions in the individual.

Dividing the life into age periods of five years, and combining the awards in each period, it is found that the resulting average in each period is thoroughly representative of the whole group and possesses tolerably narrow limits of probable error. Such an arrangement is shown in the accompanying diagram, in which the ordinates represent the ages of the decedents, and the abscissæ the average amount of damages awarded per case, for each age group. In this curve, it will be seen that the foci are plotted along the

PSM V61 D130 The value of human life.png

center ordinate, or two and one half years away from each age-group limit. This is done in order that they may more truly represent the value of the average valuation for each five-year term, and the resulting curve may more nearly conform to the extremes, in its course from the beginning to the end of each age group.

Let us now examine this diagram and observe as closely as possible how the relative values there expressed (without regard to the actual values which they represent) conform to common observation. From the initial point, there is a rapid rise, caused by a rapidly enhancing value occasioned by the greater certainty of escape from the dangers of tender childhood. Each month and week during this period is hazardous, and as each month and year is passed in safety the risk becomes correspondingly less. Following this, is a flat portion during which the values do not change so markedly, until the age of puberty is passed. Then occurs a sharp increase, which, as it merges with the term of self-sustenance, becomes more rapid, culminating at about the age of 30 years. This is the prime of American manhood; not the period of highest productiveness, nor the age of ripest wisdom. The future is now the important feature, and there are questions of