On Violence and the Value of Life

Why is it that some people see a resort to violence that destroys human lives as a first option, or see it as an option at all for that matter? Why does a person who has been mistreated feel a compulsion to take the lives of others? I pursue this question in two ways. First, how does our society as a whole value human life? What is a life worth in today’s world and how is that calculated. Secondly how does our identity (gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, sexual preference) effect our relations with those who are different from us? And how do perceived identities relate to violence?

David Ranney is Professor Emeritus in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois Chicago. He received his BA degree at Dartmouth College and his PhD at Syracuse University. Professor Ranney has also been a factory worker, a labor and community organizer and an activist academic. He is the author of four books and over 100 journal articles, book chapters and monographs on issues of employment, labor and community organizing and U.S. trade policy. His three most recent books are: Global Decisions, Local Collisions: Urban Life in the New World Order (2003); New World Disorder: The Decline of U. S. Power (2014); and Living and Dying on the Factory Floor: From the Inside Out and the Outside In (PM Press, Spring 2019). Many of his essays are available on his web site (www.david-ranney.com). In addition to his writing, he gives lectures on economic policy and politics and also finds time to be an actor and director in a small community theatre. He is married and has a son, daughter in law and two granddaughters. He splits his time between Chicago, Illinois and Washington Island, Wisconsin.