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  1. #31
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beargryllz View Post
    Shouldn't this be easy? We could determine the amount spent to protect financial interests, and then determine the revenue from these interests. We would then decide whether the resources gained exceed the resources spent by a specific, minimum threshold predetermined by an oversight committee or some similar entity. We already employ people to do exactly this, so asking them the question wouldn't even be rude.
    This would be assuming that the interests in question legally belonged to the United States. Aren't there some commodities which are necessary for maintaining the existing lifestyle, at any cost?

  2. #32
    Sniffles
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    But if we cut defense spending, that means the Terrorists win!

  3. #33
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenaphor View Post
    This would be assuming that the interests in question legally belonged to the United States. Aren't there some commodities which are necessary for maintaining the existing lifestyle, at any cost?
    But legally, a nation may have a military. Legally, we are acknowledged by other nations and enter into various treaties. The implications of the presence of a strong military are that commodities (essential or novel) do not easily exceed the grasp of the nation that desires them. Most nations have something they desire.

  4. #34
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beargryllz View Post
    But legally, a nation may have a military. Legally, we are acknowledged by other nations and enter into various treaties. The implications of the presence of a strong military are that commodities (essential or novel) do not easily exceed the grasp of the nation that desires them. Most nations have something they desire.
    Exactly my point. It also ensures that commodity exporting nations hold no hammer over consuming nations of which the U.S. is the largest global consumer. "If you don't do this or pay that, we will...".

    So once again I ask, can you quantify this in a cost/benefit analysis? What if the commodity was life-sustaining water?

  5. #35
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenaphor View Post
    So once again I ask, can you quantify this in a cost/benefit analysis? What if the commodity was life-sustaining water?
    One commonly used method is to determine what the value of life-sustaining water is. We would take 1 kilogram of the product, and allow a free market to determine the value of the commodity. "Life-sustaining" only amplifies the value, but it does not exempt the commodity from the process of determining the value. This value is actually just a variable.

  6. #36
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beargryllz View Post
    One commonly used method is to determine what the value of life-sustaining water is. We would take 1 kilogram of the product, and allow a free market to determine the value of the commodity. "Life-sustaining" only amplifies the value, but it does not exempt the commodity from the process of determining the value. This value is actually just a variable.
    How do you calculate all the variables of what exporters might demand? It's not as if you can build and tear down military might in any short period of time.

    I should add the emotional appeal. How do you quantify human life?

  7. #37
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenaphor View Post
    How do you calculate all the variables of what exporters might demand? It's not as if you can build and tear down military might in any short period of time.

    I should add the emotional appeal. How do you quantify human life?
    For the variables, we actually have a distinct advantage. We can distribute information instantly, and although the variables are numerous, they can all easily be combined by even the most rudimentary calculating programs (or even a diligent human). Managing the military presents a much larger challenge. Still, we would use the information and ongoing events to determine the necessary size and distribution of force. I believe that, in 2011, it is the distribution of the military, not merely the existence of a military, which is significant. It's one thing to have 1/4th of your nation's able-bodied citizens in the military (ALA North Korea), and quite another to maintain the capacity to distribute these soldiers anywhere on the globe within a matter of hours (ALA USA). We're not so far from this theoretical system.

    The value of human life, like any commodity, varies from person to person (consumer to consumer), but I would say that a given life is, pound for pound, quite valuable. Quantifying the life is impossible without knowing the life. We usually wouldn't want to value one life over another life (due to the uniqueness of a life?), but some exceptions may arise.

  8. #38
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenaphor View Post
    How do you quantify human life?
    I would do it by social rank/status, personally. For instance, the president's life or that of a celebrity is worth more than that of some poor bum who lives on the street. And there's a whole chain of hierarchy that decides whom is more important than whom. In the military, privates would be the least important, generals would be much more important, etc. It's very much like the old idea of being born into a caste, only with more potential for mobility later in life. It was quite prevalent in European society at one point, and I think there are still remnants of it even today.

    I think that many people decide the value of a person in this way, consciously or unconsciously. Ideally, I would rather NOT quantify human life, but if I had to... that's probably the system I'd use. When it comes down to it, aristocracy is alive and well.

    Oh, and of course, the lives of your enemies are worth far less than those of your allies. It's even arguable that they have a negative value, once the war starts.

    We should strive to treat people as equally as possible, but the truth is that people do not have equal value. Not when the chips are down.

  9. #39
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beargryllz View Post
    For the variables, we actually have a distinct advantage. We can distribute information instantly, and although the variables are numerous, they can all easily be combined by even the most rudimentary calculating programs (or even a diligent human). Managing the military presents a much larger challenge. Still, we would use the information and ongoing events to determine the necessary size and distribution of force. I believe that, in 2011, it is the distribution of the military, not merely the existence of a military, which is significant. It's one thing to have 1/4th of your nation's able-bodied citizens in the military (ALA North Korea), and quite another to maintain the capacity to distribute these soldiers anywhere on the globe within a matter of hours (ALA USA). We're not so far from this theoretical system.
    Not convinced that everything can be quantified and so easily but this is an interesting perspective with some good/creative points but not currently feasible or in my opinion, feasible in the short term. As well, take Israel who are surrounded by enemies where 24/7, they have to remain vigilant. So they have motivation for their citizens to remain at ready for military action. If you take the U.S. environment, do you believe that the average business person after years of working in an office, content in their lifestyle would willingly be transported at a moment's notice to Somalia, to ensure that the shipping lanes are kept open for commerce? And what about weapons knowledge when technology continues to advance at a rapid pace?

    The value of human life, like any commodity, varies from person to person (consumer to consumer), but I would say that a given life is, pound for pound, quite valuable. Quantifying the life is impossible without knowing the life. We usually wouldn't want to value one life over another life (due to the uniqueness of a life?), but some exceptions may arise.
    The U.S. have spent billions of dollars protecting a handful of kidnapped citizens in locations like the Indian Ocean. It also allows murderers and criminals to not be punished if there's even a shadow of a doubt which equates to a lot of wasted money through the court systems and losses from different types of criminal behaviour. So what this tells me is that the social climate within the U.S., considers human life priceless.

    Fun discussion.

  10. #40
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I would do it by social rank/status, personally. For instance, the president's life or that of a celebrity is worth more than that of some poor bum who lives on the street. And there's a whole chain of hierarchy that decides whom is more important than whom. In the military, privates would be the least important, generals would be much more important, etc. It's very much like the old idea of being born into a caste, only with more potential for mobility later in life. It was quite prevalent in European society at one point, and I think there are still remnants of it even today.

    I think that many people decide the value of a person in this way, consciously or unconsciously. Ideally, I would rather NOT quantify human life, but if I had to... that's probably the system I'd use. When it comes down to it, aristocracy is alive and well.

    Oh, and of course, the lives of your enemies are worth far less than those of your allies. It's even arguable that they have a negative value, once the war starts.

    We should strive to treat people as equally as possible, but the truth is that people do not have equal value. Not when the chips are down.
    For the sake of discussion, why wouldn't you quantify by what each person contributes to the greater good, which also includes output into the economy?

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