Following on from yesterday's post, I see two main entry points to the sad second path for the future of healthy life extension - the path that sees us all suffering and dying from age-related degeneration because the technologies to save us from this fate arrive too late.
The first: that the distributed global advocacy community for longevity and life-extending research never attains critical mass, never manages to sufficiently educate the public to tell the difference between junk science and real anti-aging research, never starts the research funding avalanche. Our models for success are AIDS advocacy since the 80s, or patient advocacy for cancer across the past three decades. It's up to us to make this movement just as successful - all our lives are at stake.
The second entry point to a future in which medicines capable of extending our healthy life spans arrive too late is one in which the monsters of regulation, nationalization and socialism in medicine (and no end to socialism in medicine, sadly) impede research and progress. Government investment is, by its very nature, enormously inefficient when it comes to producing results. Demonstrably so - the incentive structure is counterproductive, as decision makers have no meaningful reward for success nor penalty for failure. Even worse is government investment coupled with protectionism, making it the only game in town. Competition is the alchemy by which selfish human nature produces greater good - just look at what happened to the space program in government-enforced absence of any meaningful competition. Billions upon billions spent for very little gain; there is nothing to say that this couldn't happen to medicine in these times of ever bigger government and ever greater attempted social control. The worst case scenario would be for the present trends in socialism in medicine in the US and Europe to continue and spread in Asia as well; it would cripple the research communities and our chances of longer, healthier lives.