Saturday, March 09, 2013

How much is your life worth?

I remember reading a story where a certain king wanted to know what his life worth was. All the courtiers were dumbfounded not wanting to displease the king by quoting too high or too less since kings can get temperamental. The problem was solved when a wise man said that the king was worth not more than 29 pieces of silver since Jesus Christ was betrayed for only 30 silver pieces. The king was pleased with the answer and felt humbled and so ended the story.

If I were to pose the same question to you, what would be the answer? It could be 29 pieces of silver or just 2 rupees if you were a tribal hailing from Orissa.

I work in an industry where calculating the human life value, no matter how absurd the concept may sound is a daily practice. In this industry the value of one’s life is usually measured by the income generating capability of the individual. For a salaried individual the easiest measure is to express the value as a factor of X where X will be the annual income. Based on this premise the insurance industry peddles life covers to the people. And what is a life cover? A life cover cannot insure life; that is the department of the divine one; it can offset the monetary loss of income in the unfortunate event of the death of the person insured.

I often wonder, is that all we are worth?

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