Deaths from Production

ENL’s method for quantifying the health effects of deaths that are attributed to consumption are also applicable to the sphere of production.

Various national and international organizations have developed measures, such as the PYLL (potential years of life lost), to account for the fact that a young person’s death is, in an important sense, more serious than an older person’s death. ENL has adopted this approach, and refers to its measure as lost potential health.

In the context of consumption, this means decreased potential value.

In the context of production, it means increased labor cost or natural cost.

Consider a 30-year-old steelworker who dies while constructing a building. If this worker was expected to live to age 75, he or she will lose the health that would have been gained over the 45 years from ages 30 to 75. This labor cost must be added to the overall labor cost of constructing the building.

Similarly, if 10,000 people around the world have shortened lives because of air pollution caused by local production, then the lost potential health due to these early deaths must be added to the natural costs of the associated outputs.

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