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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/131

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THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE.

permanence to be taken into consideration. Physical vigor usually begins to decline at this period. We are familiar with the fact that the powers of the athelete then begin to wane; champions of this age give way to younger aspirants. This means that the risk becomes greater and the confidence in future values is lowered. Therefore, even though the age of 30 is not the climax of existing usefulness, it comprises the highest combination of value and permanence.

After the age of 30, there follows a gradual decline of values until the age period 55-60 is reached, when the declivity becomes sharp, remaining so to the end. The decrease in each age group is not marked and might not be apparent when separate cases are considered, but the collective arrangement indicates with faithful accuracy all that might be expected from common observation.

 

Conclusions.

1. The pecuniary value of life is subject to the same economic laws as are applied to the more vulgar commodities.

2. In courts of law, the measure of an individual's productiveness, which is the measure of his value, receives the most careful scrutiny; therefore the decisions of such courts, where existing statutes permit, are trustworthy in determining an individual's value to his family.

3. The pecuniary value of a life to its relatives represents its pecuniary value to society.

4. Damages given for wrongful death are such that they can be represented by an average in different age groups, with only narrow limits of probable error.

5. The relation of these age-group values, one to the other, is supported by common observation and statistical reasoning.