Buried in the midst of a collections of guesses on the defining dualities of the century ahead, we have this:
Life extension for all vs for some
There will be an increasingly agonised division between those who feel that new life-extension technologies should be either available to those who can afford them or available to everyone. Life itself will be the resource over which wars will be fought: the “have nots” will feel that there is a fundamental injustice in the possibility for some people to enjoy conspicuously longer and healthier lives because they happen to be richer.
This is a sadly common viewpoint, driven by a worldview that precludes opportunity and change - not a world in which the "have nots" are beset with opportunity to become wealthier with hard work and savings, as is still the case out here in most parts of reality, despite great efforts on the part of politicians and government employees to cut the lowest rungs from the ladder.
But economic understanding aside, just how sensible is it to predict war over early healthy life extension - even when the technologies are still expensive and poorly available, before the engines of commerce and competition take over and do what they do for every new technology; bring down the price, make the goods better, and increase the level of safety? Even in this over-regulated medical socialism in the Western democracies, was there a war over heart surgery? Only the rich could get their hands on that back in the day, and that made a big difference. Is there a war right now over the rationing of Alzheimer's treatments in the UK, treatments that any wealthy individual can obtain on their own dime? Is there a war brewing over stem cell therapies for heart disease, again something unavailable as yet to those of us who have not saved up enough for a down-payment on a nice house?
At least in the case of these two technologies for the heart, competition and research is steadily driving down costs and improving quality, despite the choking regulatory burden that makes research and development far more costly and slow than it might be. But in the case of the UK rationing, the heavy hand of government is the problem, and things are unlikely to become better until that changes.
The world is unfair to those who choose to be poor, and far more unfair to those whose escape from poverty is closed off by corrupt and malign governance. This is a simple truth: if you have less, you can buy less, and that includes the use of medical technology to improve health and lengthen healthy life. Yet most people have the opportunity to escape from poverty on timescales far shorter than their life span. A world of both dramatic inequality and opportunity for all is a far better world than one of utter equality and absent opportunity - because you cannot build the latter world without tearing down every engine of progress and reducing society and its works to a wasteland. It is the opportunity to climb that ladder - and the freedom to undertake that work - that drives human ingenuity, competition and the provision of ever better goods and services at all levels.
There will be no war so long as there is freedom, opportunity and the prospect for ongoing improvement at every level. It is where these opportunities and avenues of progress are blocked that conflict occurs.