Described as a modern-day King Solomon, one man has the impossible task of assigning a dollar value to life. US attorney Ken Feinberg is responsible for compensating victims of America’s most tragic events—Agent Orange, the BP oil spill, Sandy Hook, 9/11.

Why is the life of a firefighter who died in the Twin Towers on September 11 worth on average a million dollars less than that of a stockbroker who lost his life in the same disaster? How much money should BP pay the fishermen on the Gulf of Mexico who are fighting for their livelihoods after the largest oil spill in history? Questions that almost appear cynical, but not for America’s most famous compensation specialist: Ken Feinberg. Hardly a national tragedy has befallen the USA without him being called upon to play his part. But this is more than the story of a controversial man who at times seems virtually omnipotent: What happens within our system of values when economic interests and people’s lives become intertwined through tragedy?