“Monsanto Has to Pay $289 Million in Damages in First Roundup Cancer Trial” (Fortune) sounds like mostly a bad day for Bayer AG shareholders (the German company acquired Monsanto just a couple of months ago and now they have their first gift from the U.S. legal system!).
But, assuming that Roundup does cause cancer, maybe this is actually a bad day for people with cancer?
Bayer is worth only about $86 billion. At $289 million per cancer-stricken person, fewer than 300 people can be compensated before all of the value in Bayer is consumed. But Roundup is one of the most widely used products in the world. So if it does cause cancer then tens or hundreds of thousands of people should be affected (anyone who hates poison ivy, for example!).
Readers: Why are folks on Facebook celebrating this? Don’t they see that at $289 million per victim the funds run out pretty quickly? The same folks are concerned about inequality and yet they don’t seemed tuned into a situation where the later litigants are on track to get nothing. If someone who has cancer today gets $289 million and someone who is not diagnosed with cancer until 2020 gets $0, how is that fair?
- “The Cost of a Human Life, Statistically Speaking” (Globalist), which notes that “As of 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency set the value of a human life at $9.1 million. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration put it at $7.9 million — and the Department of Transportation figure was around $6 million.”