When speed limits in the USA were raised from 55 to 65 death rates also increased. The economic value of the lives lost amazingly equaled the average lifetime income.
Everyday people choose between ways to spend their time and money. They calculate the relative value of each and decide which best achieves their goals. Individually these choice can seem haphazard, irrational and even counter productive.
An economic decision is a choice that means giving up thing to get another. Another name is a trade off. Depending on the conditions of a particular situation the relative value changes. A man in a hot desert would more highly value a glass of water than a fancy winter coat. The same man would prefer the coat to the water if he were in the arctic.
Poor people often take great risks to earn a living than wealthier people precisely because it is to enable living. When those same people are wealthier they will take less risks. This is the main reason certain industries have moved from wealthy post-industrial nations to less developed nations. As those nations improve economically those jobs will be replaced by technology.
Ideas for further research.
Compare other risk reward ratios to create a formula between maximum loss, dying, and zero loss. This could explain crime and be useful for determining effective deterrents to crime and enticements to other occupations.
Orismar de Souza, a homeless man in Brazil, built a car using junk, spare parts and a hammer and chisel. Four years later, the “shrimpmobile” has him back on his feet.
This story mirrors the story of my great grandfather, James Dodd. He had worked as a coal miner since he was 8 years old to support his mother and siblings. During the great depression he and a friend built a motorcycle from spare parts and road to Detroit to find work in the factories. They left their wives and children behind and when they got to Detroit had to camp out waiting to find work. Remember, at the time there were barely any paved roads. They had to ride through the mountains of Pennsylvania, across Ohio and into Michigan on a single motorcycle they built from junk.
They had to camp for a month before they could get work. They then saved money and sent for there wives and children to join them. At one point my great grandfather had not eaten for a week. When the women who had been renting a room to him found out she offered him food. He insisted that he would not accept charity and instead did work on the house in exchange for meals.
At one point while working in the factory his job was to test alternators. he would put the bad alternators in a box. He arranged to buy the bad ones then at night in his kitchen he would repair them and sell the re-manufactured alternators to repair shops and people fixing their own cars. He eventually quit the job at the factory and was running his own business.
He invested the money from the alternator business into fixing up and renting houses. At one point he had an entire neighborhood with a grocery store which he would allow his tenets with children who had trouble paying the bills to owe him for food until they could find work. The one rule he had was that they had their children ready to go to church which he would drive them them to in the school bus he bought.
When he died the procession of people who attended his funeral was over a mile long. He touched thousands of people’s lives and it all started from a pile a junk.
AT&T is going to force customers who already pay for voice and data to pay to connect devices to their iPhones which they were able to do using free software. AT&T is not providing any new service, they are just double charging already paying customers. They can do that because there really isn’t any competition. Verizon similarly abuses customers. The solution is to provide real competition to the government empowered oligopolies.
Several of the comments mention there is a social benefit to using technology and the greed of these corporations is holding back society. Recently I’ve been talking with Frithjof Bergmann, the founder of New Work, New Culture, about ways to provide low cost communication. And I’ve been working on a project to revitalize Detroit by establishing self-sufficient communities. If communication is a community value then it makes sense to have a community owned telecom.
Imagine a cellular co-op where all the users are also owners. The co-op model could potentially operate at much lower costs than the for-corporate model. Additionally, a co-op telecom could be crowd funded for the start-up. It also would not need to be one monolithic organization. It could equally well work as a coalition of regional co-op service providers. Electricity and insurance in rural USA were originally operated as co-operatives and some still are operated that way. This is obviously a big project but it is clearly possible.
For some ideas about how a co-op corporation could operate