Two industries identified that kill more people than they hire

All industries have experienced ups and downs that are sometimes fatal. The reason for this may be economic factors - for example, the procurement of whale oil as fuel for lighting lamps ceased to be profitable with the start of oil production and processing. Or political and social - factories producing paints with additives of radium closed after the discovery of its dangerous radioactive properties.

Researcher Joshua Pearce of Michigan Tech has compiled several mathematical models that help compare the material benefits of a particular industry and its potential cost in human casualties. It turned out that the tobacco and coal mining industries are competing for the first place in the United States, but not everything is so simple.

Today, the US tobacco industry has 124, 342 jobs across the entire value chain, from tobacco farming to the point of sale of cigarettes, chewing tobacco and cigars. And the number of deaths from direct and passive smoking is estimated at 0.5 million per year - that is, 4 lives for each worker. Coal mining is more and more difficult, 51, 800 people work in this industry in the United States, and only 10-15 per year die - but almost 52, 000 people per year die from the effects of coal burning.

It does not follow from this that if humanity stopped mining coal and switched to other types of fuel, then the number of deaths would immediately decrease. The relationship between these factors is much more complex.

Then why do we need Joshua Pearce's models and estimates? For example, to justify the need for change, launch industry analysis and reform. This is an acute social issue associated with the loss of jobs and the reorganization of the way of life of many people, but it must be raised. Once in the cities there was no sewage system and chamber pots were poured out directly from the windows onto the street, it was quick, simple and cheap. But in the end we managed to get rid of these customs, even if the maintenance of the sewage system does not cost us cheap at all.