Thoughts on Economics and Engineered Longevity

A couple of videos on economics and engineered longevity, by G. Stolyarov II and Aubrey de Grey: "Mr. Stolyarov discusses how indefinite human life extension will bring about numerous economic benefits to human beings and human civilization. He approaches the subject from the standpoint of the idea of time preference and the time horizons that would be greatly expanded for humans who live much longer. Furthermore, indefinite human longevity will enable humans to confront major existential threats - such as the threat of a meteor impact or a new ice age - that are beyond the timeframe of the individual lifespan today. ... Radical life extension would have a huge impact on the economics of society - possibly a dangerous one. Aubrey de Grey explains why he remains optimistic that the economy would adapt well to the drastically new paradigm presented by human immortality." Sadly, there's always someone out there who thinks that extended healthy human life is dangerous, despite the evidence of past centuries and many regions of the world that show greater life expectancy walks hand in hand with economic growth and higher standards of living. This is one of the reasons that advocacy for longevity science is even necessary in the first place. Nonetheless, the two upward trends of longevity and wealth are entwined and drive one another wherever they can start. But despite living in an age of change, so very many people fear change to the point of rejecting it even when it is overwhelmingly positive.

Link: http://www.skepticaleye.com/2011/12/economics-of-immortality.html

Comments

One significant economic benefit of radical life extension is that it will largely eliminate dependency.

Posted by: Abelard Lindsey at December 12th, 2011 8:52 AM

A bit off-topic but I saw this amusing comic today relating to cryogenics-
http://xkcd.com/989/.

Regarding the topic of the post, I do think this is a fascinating question. Can something which everyone individually wants for themselves, and which doesn't directly harm anyone else, nevertheless be harmful in some overall way? It would certainly be odd to live in a world with a greatly reduced fraction of children; but by the same token, one of the reasons childhood seem so valuable to us now is that adults enter into a relentless race against the clock to achieve something in limited time and to provide something for themselves to live on in old age. Most people, for example, have to give up many youthful enthusiasms, finding that they have no value in adulthood unless they can be practiced at a professional level. With that kind of burden relieved, adulthood might become so much more enjoyable that people don't feel as strong a need to have kids or be around them.

Posted by: William Nelson at December 12th, 2011 10:25 AM

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.