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What If Life Expectancy is 100 or More?

Updated on December 16, 2016

Introduction

Our medical advances have reached a cross road. We have the capabilities to increase human life span by a large factor. Just because we can do it, does it necessarily follow that we should? That is the question. I will give my perspective on this topic.

- February 2016




Background

I want to approach this topic from an ethics point of view. For generations, our society has worked on the model of a family structure consisting of three generations. Many of our institutions revolves around that model as for example our social security system. If suddenly, that model is extended to four generations, what would happen? both in the short run and the long run?

The answer is chaos. We will be bankrupt by the Social Security payments alone. Our food supply and water and energy all will be taxed to the breaking point.

I have no problem with people trying to extend our lives and living standards and quality of life. Those are all good and when done incrementally. Our society will be able to adjust to a slow increase of average life span. However, a sudden breakthrough would be a disaster.

World Population

The population of the world is not unlimited. There is a point where it will not be sustainable. When that happens, something would have to give. By extending our lifespan by 30 years (a generation), this single fact could double our population.

In the past, population has been kept under control by natural events such as the flu or plaque but also man made events such as global wars.

On a Personal Level

Personally, what would it mean? Usually, a person is born, grows up, go to college and graduate at 22. He starts a career and possibly gets married and have a family. He or she works about 40 years in a career and retires. He lives out his golden years traveling and spoiling grand kids and collecting a pension and Social Security till his death (average life span 79 in 2016).

Imagine now that person is living to 100 years old. He has just hit the jackpot. Right? He would be living is leisure for as long as he was working. Will he be able to remember the names of all his great grand kids? Will Uncle Sam be able to pay for his Medicare and Social Security for that length? Our hospitals and clinics will be overrun.

Perhaps there is a wisdom behind the three generation rule.

Summary

The Time magazine article in the Feb. 22, 2016 issue ask a provocative question. "What if you live to be 100? Or even longer?" Scientists seems to be working towards that goal. Perhaps we need to stop and ask why?

Be careful what you wish for. It may not be the panacea you think.

Comments

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    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 17 months ago

      Dribbling and walkers are not that appealing.

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 17 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Ha ha, that is funny. It's good to laugh once in a while among all the doom and gloom. I've been around technology all my life. I understand their limitations and unfortunately, some very smart people don't seem to get it.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 18 months ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

      Jacklee, great hub page to inspire discerning thought about this. The media is already heralding an age of 1000!

      Recently in a report out of Australia, researchers are saying it's likely that the first person to live to be 1,000 is alive today. A growing number of researchers believe a biological revolution will enable humans to eventually experience everlasting youthfulness. The article quotes researcher Aubrey de Grey, a Cambridge gerontologist and co-founder or the California-based Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence Research Foundation, who said he is working on "one particular cause of death, namely aging," in an effort to "undo the damage done by the wear and tear of life."

      You'd think Obama will be out there with John Kerry saying this is even a greater threat to America's security than man made global warming and ISIS combined? But you know why they won't?

      1) This knowledge would never be made available to the masses and would be kept financially out of reach of all but the richest elites of the world whose money runs the world. Were living to ages like 1000 to become possible the media would be reporting scientist find it impossible to achieve.

      2) Therefore they won't use it to grow government and their power over our lives, but they have plenty of other ruses to use for that, global warming, healthcare, environmental regulations, etc., etc.

      Fast forward to the year 2800, Obama has been president for 500 years through 2 ice ages and global warming never happened. He really was a messiah!