The Challenge of Longevity

From QFinance: "Big business and governments are already grappling with the uncomfortable side effects of increasing longevity. According to actuaries, the present generation has gained the equivalent of 12 minutes an hour or a 20% increase in average lifespan by comparison with the previous generation. The impact of this is felt first and foremost in the pensions arena, with businesses having to run harder just to stand still as far as their pension scheme deficits are concerned. But it is felt too by governments across Europe as they struggle to pay out meaningful state pension benefits against the headwind imposed by the fact that the ratio of those in work to those on pension is getting more and more out of balance. The impact of increased longevity is felt too in the health systems, where the diseases and ailments of old age take an increasing toll on a country's medical resources. These problems might seem fairly intractable, or at least extremely difficult and challenging in their own right, but it could be just the tip of the iceberg, according to the renowned longevity specialist Dr Aubrey de Grey, Chief Scientist at the charity SENS, which specializes in promoting research that aims to 'defeat ageing.' Dr de Grey is famous for asserting that the first person to enjoy a four-digit lifespan is probably already in his or her middle years. Before I give a rapid summary of his reasoning - those interested in learning more can watch a video of one of his presentations at the SENS website - it is worth saying that if de Grey is right, then instead of exacerbating the pensions problem, as I suggested earlier, it will probably make the problem vanish like a puff of smoke. Provided society stays reasonably open, people will have more than enough time to acquire independent means. The magic of compound arithmetic will be very much in their favor. Start small, watch it grow, where's the hurry?"


Comment Submission

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.