The recent Congressional hearings about the role of Blackwater security agents in Iraq revealed this tidbit, as written about by Maureen Dowd:
To compensate the family of an Iraqi guard accidentally shot to death by a Blackwater agent, an office in the State Department countenanced against awarding $250,000 lest other Iraqis decide to try and be accidentally killed. Rather, the department suggested a sum of $15,000.
Can the value of human life be measured in dollars? If so, is it a constant, or does it depend on other circumstances? If the latter, what do those circumstances include? Income? The level of background risk? Health economists seek to answer these difficult questions.