Wednesday, May 20, 2020

[mnjetoaj] GDP per life

U.S. GDP is about $20 trillion (20e12) per year, or about $55 billion per day.  Assuming that the value (actuarial value) of a life is somewhere between $1 million and $10 million, GDP is equivalent to the value of 5500 to 55,000 people per day.

Current COVID-19 U.S. deaths per day is around 2000 deaths per day, which is of the same order of magnitude.

Baseline rate of deaths per day (2017) in the U.S. was 7700 deaths per day, which is also of the same order of magnitude.  Is it just a coincidence that that number is so close to that of GDP expressed in lives?  In other words, is it a coincidence that the output of the economy is equal to the value of the lives it consumes?

Inspired by questions of weighing the costs of keeping the economy closed and versus possible additional deaths in reopening.  Things should be converted to the same units so they can be compared.

(If the disease is so contagious, or vaccines so ineffective, that 100% of the population is destined to become infected (these are big ifs), then the additional deaths from reopening will be due to hospitals overflowing having to let patients die, for example, due to insufficient ventilators.  Such scenarios can be avoided by reopening gradually.)

No comments :