Los Angeles, CA–What I found interesting about the story An American life worth less today (Associated Press, 7/10/08) was this:
The EPA figure is not based on people’s earning capacity, or their potential contributions to society, or how much they are loved and needed by their friends and family — some of the factors used in insurance claims and wrongful-death lawsuits.
Instead, economists calculate the value based on what people are willing to pay to avoid certain risks, and on how much extra employers pay their workers to take on additional risks. Most of the data is drawn from payroll statistics; some comes from opinion surveys.
Get it? They determine this largely based upon how much extra employers pay to workers who do hazardous jobs. As men’s activists have been saying for a long time, this is one of the reasons for the wage gap between men and women — it is men, and almost exclusively men, who do the dangerous jobs, and employers pay them more in order to get them to do it.
The sacrifices that working-class men make and the risks they take in order to support their families is a subject rarely discussed in the United States, for various reasons.
One is that white middle-class culture doesn’t find it particularly convenient to discuss the hardships borne by the often underpaid and unappreciated men upon whom our society depends.
Another reason is that in modern feminist, politically correct culture, it is not acceptable to point to the special sacrifices that men make. Even a simple factual statement like “It is usually men, not women, who do dangerous jobs” can be controversial. We simply are not accustomed to acknowledging the sacrifices that men make, as opposed to the sacrifices that women make.
The full story can be read here.