12 October 2005

The Pakistan earthquake isn't getting much news coverage in the US. I'd like to see an index like The Economist's Big Mac Index except for people; one that presents adjusted rankings for how much each (ethnic) national's life is worth as a proportion of white Americans. It would be a palliative to our sham universal principles. We could finally find out at-a-glance exchange rates for people's lives. Like we're presently trading at 80 Iraqis to 1 white American. Or more than 191 Spaniards to 52 Britons. 1 Belgian life is worth tens of thousands of Rwandans.

You could calibrate it off news coverage of death-related stories on airtime, column inches and running order. Then you could measure how much per capita has been invested in each ethnic national (their feeding, clothing, education, training, salary, healthcare and leisure) up to the point they have died (in PPP dollars). If you like, this is your implied People Personhood Parity. Where the public profile of their death demonstrates significant under or overvaluation against the death of a white American (adjusted for PPP) you might think about coming up with some kind of ethical system.

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