"Immortality Will End in Communism"

Bryan Caplan demonstrates that there's no end to the pro-death nonsense that can be mined from the works of Leon Kass: "Kass concludes: 'Clearly, to avoid such strains and disasters [imagined to result from enhanced human longevity], great changes in social patterns and institutions would probably be needed, changes unlikely to occur except through strong centralized planning. The coming of such centralized planning will have consequences of its own, not all of them attractive or desirable, to say the least.' Since he's writing in 1983, I have to take the last paragraph as a thinly-veiled warning that, 'Immortality will end in communism.' I've heard of 'Better dead than Red,' but this is ridiculous! What's wrong with Kass' analysis? Well, it might make sense in a rigid caste society where sons follow in their fathers' occupational footsteps, and promotions are based on seniority. It might even be a good description of mediocre academic departments. But it's irrelevant for advanced capitalist economies. In a passably free labor market, talented young people don't have to wait for retirements to get promoted. If their current employer won't pay them their marginal productivity, somebody else will. Furthermore, even if ossified hierarchies ruled existing firms, the end result wouldn't be economy-wide stagnation and 'functional immaturity.' It would be new entry by firms run by young people on meritocratic lines. The creative destruction of the economy does not require the physical demise of any of its participants."

Link: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2009/12/life_extension_1.html


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