Effects of Healthy Life Extension on Social Security - Volunteers Wanted

Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey, chairman of the Methuselah Foundation and someone you may recognise from his recent appearance on 60 Minutes, has suggested a volunteer project suitable for economists and statisticians interested in generating greater support and funding for healthy life extension:

A discussion within the Methuselah Foundation has resulted in the idea that it would be good to determine how effective SENS (or equivalently powerful interventions) would be economically: that is, how much they would need to cost before the cost outweighs the economic benefits of keeping someone healthy. Here we are mainly interested in the macroeconomic question, i.e. "cost" is to be understood as how much it costs to administer the therapies (and possibly also to develop them in the first place) rather than how much they might be sold for. Plenty of work has of course been done on this in respect of much more modest [life extension], but no one has quite had the nerve to do it for therapies that conferred escape velocity. I am in touch with people with the necessary enabling technology (datasets, software) to develop such forecasts, but it would probably still be a substantial project. If there are any volunteers who feel they have the right sort of expertise (which means pretty good maths, not just computing) and also a chunk of time to dedicate, please speak up. No guarantees that we can make such a project happen, but we'd like to try.

A discussion is ongoing at the Immortality Institute forums; if this catches your interest, you should certainly drop by and speak up. You might also want to look back in the Fight Aging! archives at a view of the future of retirement (or absence of same), some thoughts on social security and age-related frailty, and commentary on the utter mess that is modern Western-style "social security".

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Comments

Social Security is not a mess in so far as it will be the "pot of gold" IMVHO that pais life extension treatment in western countries in the long run when they'll be available. Do not underestimate the hughe ammount of money (btw also keeping the stock market etc going as an institutional invester) these institutions have and if they don't have to pay money to pay costs of frail people (in the case of public health insurance) and replace income that no longer can be earned by aged people they have LOT'S of money to pay treatment and still make a deal doing so which is what i think will be the outcome of a analysis as aforementioned.

Posted by: Curious at January 21st, 2006 3:37 AM

There are no vast stocks of wealth in social security programs - it's all wealth transfer from the young (and on average poorer) to the old (and on average richer). What you are suggesting basically works out to the young financing healthy life extension technologies for the old, who are quite capable of paying for it themselves for the most part, which is just as reprehensible as the present state of affairs.

Posted by: Reason at January 21st, 2006 10:48 AM

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