True Value of Life

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Is it possible to put an actual dollar amount on the value on someone’s life? Many have different opinions. Amanda Ripley asked the question, “Is a poor man’s life worth less than a rich man’s?” (1). To answer this question, there is no definitive response. Our society has placed a dollar amount on life; however, I think the value of a person’s life should be determined by how happy we are, the experiences we have, and the relationships we acquire. Our society has its priorities in the wrong order. We think that professional athletes, singers, or actors are “worth more” than people who have good hearts but who do not make as much money. If money can’t buy happiness then how do we, as a society, put very large price-tags on celebrities who live miserable lives and only pretend to be happy when there’s a camera pointed in their direction? Currently, our government has set up a specific formula on how much money a life is worth when there is an accident and someone is killed. There are charts made up to determine how much money each family will receive. “The charts, while functional, are brutal, crystallizing how readily the legal system commodifies life” (Ripley 2). This formula, while trying to be helpful, has actually made Americans more heartless and desensitized towards the taking of lives. With all of the violence in movies in video games that it pumped into the minds of children at rather young ages, it makes them disregard the true value of life.

Everybody's life is different, and therefore, of different value. Some people are successful and are motivated to live their lives to the fullest and to enrich the lives of those around them. Other people simply idle away their lives and do not care what comes of it. It is not society's job to necessarily "assign" us a value for living because it comes down to each individual person. I would consider someone to be valuable if they changed your life significantly for the better. If my grandmother had...
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