If we are confronted with two or more choices that will not decrease longevity or quality of life for anyone potentially affected by the decision, the choice that offers the greatest increase in these parameters is the proper one. As I’ve already indicated, any choice that decreases longevity or quality should be automatically discarded. If all choices result in a decrease, and the decision is unavoidable, then some means must be found to offset the decrease. Although it may be all but impossible to precisely determine the impact of an action, we should use our existing knowledge and understanding, aided by society’s enforcement of accurate and full disclosure of information, to compare the impacts of different actions.
Many would probably argue that following these rules is difficult, if not impractical. I fail to see how doing so would be any harder than considering supply and demand, two other variables which virtually everyone in the world uses to make routine economic decisions. Economic activity depends on imperfect knowledge of the present and future behavior of supply and demand. Supply is loosely related to longevity, and demand is loosely related to both quality of life and longevity; so one pair of variables may even be translatable into the other pair.