Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association

Speech and Mock Trial

Humans aren’t just mere economic machines. In an ABA/TIPs speech, Stan emphasizes the enjoyment of life is far greater than our net earnings capacity.

What economists have measured is the whole value of life—the full value of a human being. The purpose of those measurements started in late 1968, suggested by Professor Tom Schelling of Harvard, in a provocative article called, The Life You Save May Be Your Own.

Schelling suggested that one of the ways to look at the intangible value of life—that portion of life separate and apart from human beings as economic machines—would be to look at the whole value of a human being. How we value of a whole human being and subtract out the human capital value—our value as producers of services in the household, our value as producers of services in the marketplace. By subtracting out the human capital value from the whole life value, we would then be left with the net value of being—the net value of a human being.

We call ourselves human beings, but until the late sixties, we really measured the value of our human doings, so to speak. Now we have a broad measure of the value of a human being and we see that it is in fact, the greater portion is the value of our enjoyment of life—a larger figure than the net average earnings capacity or household service capacity.

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