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Editor's Note: What is the Worth of a Person?

Nov 19, 2010, 23:02 (32 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carla Schroder)

by Carla Schroder
Managing Editor

This is a question that is often on my mind-- what is the worth of a person? Anymore it seems it stops at a dollar value.

These questions might seem not pertinent to Linux and FOSS. But I think they are fundamental to Linux and FOSS.

What is the worth of a person? Is it the size of their bank account or paycheck?
Is it how many expensive toys and property they can accumulate?
Is it how many competitors they can put out of business?
Is it being quiet and not bothering anyone?
Is it being loud and stirring people up?
Is it "contributions to society", whatever that means?
Is it being traded on the public stock exchanges?
Is it creating something good and sharing it?
Is it selling lots of stuff and creating good jobs?
Is selling lots of stuff and creating good jobs a good excuse for generating waste and pollution?
Is selling lots of stuff and creating good jobs a valid reason for taking ethical shortcuts?
Do ethics matter?
Is it being a role model?
Is it being a productive worker bee?
Is it being of a particular race, religious faith, or national origin?
Is it how useful they are to you?
Is "the greater good" a valid reason for doing some rotten to someone?
Is it about winners and losers?

William James and Ursula LeGuin both ask the question: If the happiness and prosperity of a culture depend on keeping a single person in perpetual misery, is it a fair trade?

Is just being alive and a human enough?

Reference: This Wikipedia article discusses and cites the relevant passages from James and LeGuin.