Deciding the inconceivable

Americans can be giving people. Some horrific event, like the Boston Marathon bombing, happens and large amounts of money are generated to help the victims. But how do you decide how to divide the money? Who makes that call? In this case, at least, it’s Kenneth Feinberg, professional arbitrator. He’s the man so many turn to when it’s time to put a price tag on pain and suffering:

Feinberg must calculate how much each person is entitled to, factoring in horrific realities such as the number of limbs a victim lost.

He’s doing it for free, and has told victims he plans to distribute all the money by June 30.

Placing a dollar amount on a life or an injury may sound heartless, but Feinberg, who is rehearsed in hearing victims’ stories, brings sensitivity to his work, say those who have worked with him.

“He’s the umpire, the mediator, the resolver,” said John C. Coffee Jr., a law professor at Columbia University in New York who has known Feinberg for about 20 years. “He can listen, and he’s a people person.”

Talk about your difficult, thankless jobs. Someone’s got to do it, and I’m glad there are people like him who are able to. I wouldn’t be able to. It’s an interesting article about an interesting man in a very interesting position.

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One Response to Deciding the inconceivable

  1. And doing it for free makes it truly thankless.

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