Blacklist – VSL & Ethics

A CEO (Digby) kills a 12-year-old in a hit-and-run, but there is a witness. This is where “The Ethicist” comes in. He offers to eliminate the witness because statistically, her life is worth less than the CEO’s life. Klepper summarizes the concept of the value of statistical life (VSL) and how he uses that to determine who he will murder. Whoever he determines has a more valuable contribution to the world is who gets to live.

Thanks to Alfredo Paloyo for the clip suggestion!

Erin Brockovich — Negotiating Damages

There appears to be a coverup of contamination of the local water supply by PG&E, but the impacts are becoming more visible. In this scene, Ed Masry meets with a PG&E lawyer to “negotiate” a settlement for damages causes by the contamination. While PG&E may not have believe their dumping was causing externalities, it appears that they may have imposed serious external costs on the region. One of the concerns of litigation of this sort involves determining the appropriate value of the reduced quality of life resulting from these external costs.

Thanks to Dawn Renninger for the clip suggestion!

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