Peter Dorman writes at Econospeak about economics insulated from the harsh light of day and evaluation of usefulness:
The Embarrassment Known as the Value of a Statistical Life
Some economic ideas thrive only in the darkness: they are simply too weird and half-baked to withstand public scrutiny. Perhaps no concept better exemplifies this than the value of a statistical life, the sum of money that supposedly measures the value of a life saved or sacrificed by a government program…
More over at Econospeak.