This article is disturbing.
Not that I'm against capital punishment. I really haven't thought it out enough to decide one way or another. And, by the way, the article is obviously toungue-in-cheek, totally kidding.
What's disturbing about the article is how convincing it is, how realistic this arguement sounds. Is a human life really worth $4.5 million? How about $10 million? Can these things be whittled down to economics?
I'd say no, but this argument and line of thinking isn't so out-there. We hear everyday on the news that the cost of the war is Iraq has reached such-and-such billion dollars. Is the cost of war measured in dollars? I'd say it's measured in the lives lost, the lives changed because of injuries, the soldiers' families torn apart for over a year, the lives of Iraqis lived in uncertainty, with battles in their backyards. Intangible costs are always heavier, but harder to quantify and so are overlooked.
What about another place we put a dollar amount on intangible benefits: occupations. We couldn't have the quality of life we do without people that bake bread at the grocery store or fix our power lines or pick up our trash. Yet those super-necessary jobs are given lower standing and lower pay than the bureaucratic middle-men jobs that a more effcient corporate or govermental structure could do without. And then there's teachers. I have so much respect for good teachers that love what they do, and hate the fact that the value our society places on them is so low.
OK, this was mostly me talking off the top of my head. It might make sense, and it might be way off.
Moral of the story is: We can't put a money value to eternally-valuable people.