From: Peter Wurm
Date: Mon 30. Mar 2020 at 15:51
Subject: “What’s a human life worth?”
To: Claus Pandi, Neue Kronen Zeitung
Dear Claus Pandi,
I am following you on Twitter with great joy and gratitude. Therefore I read your columns with greatest interest.
To your shocking question “What’s a human life worth?” in course of the existential numbers of the COVID 19 crisis I would like to tell you a short story:
During my business and economics studies, I attended seminars with Erich Streissler, who is – as even Alexander van der Bellen would confirm – perhaps the most competent economist in Europe. Based on Chancellor Bruno Kreisky’s decision to build the Arlberg tunnel, I can still hear his words:
“How much did the Arlberg tunnel cost? 14 dead. And how long is it? 14 kilometers.”
Economics, according to Ludwig von Mises “the science of human action” is nothing more than the constant evaluation of life. That is what politics is all about. Proud Swissair has perished by this:
When a Swissair DC-10 crashed off Newfoundland two decades ago, there were around 300 people on board and a painting of Picasso. What is worth more?
Swissair’s answer to this question sent it to bankruptcy.
The value of a human life is easy to calculate. It is the global amount of money and goods divided by the number of people. This calculation is also the basis for the calculation of a global basic income.
This amount is currently dramatically shrinking. That is the “economic crisis”, nothing else. The central banks are doing their utmost to counteract this, whatever it takes.
Money doesn’t give a shit. In times of negative interest rates, there is even too much money. We have more in countless quantities than we can ever need. That is why the world is on the verge of collapse. Whether the corona virus is the cure for it depends only on us. On all of us. On us humans. On humanity.
How much did World War II cost?
Fifty-five million dead.
And how many survived?
Thank you, dear Claus Pandi!