Live Long… and the World Prospers

As a population grows more long-lived, its members become wealthier.

In spite of concerns expressed by various government representatives, human longevity goes hand in hand with increased wealth. There are many economic benefits to living longer in good health beyond the immediately obvious ones.

This has been demonstrated over and again during the past few centuries, as one after another, regions of the world have moved from poor to rich, and populations from shorter-lived to longer-lived.

This bears repeating, and frequently, as the very vocal Malthusian and environmentalist camps claim that exactly the opposite will happen in the future. The Malthusian vision is of poverty and collapse brought on by longevity. This is, of course, ridiculous and just as wrong now as it has been at any time since Malthus first put forward his ideas.

The world simply doesn’t work that way, as human ingenuity driven by the urge to profit continually produces new and greater resources in response to the need for them.

Nonetheless, with little regard for history, Malthusian adherents loudly oppose engineered human longevity – and their influence is grand and pervasive. When the average person on the street claims to be against longer lives and greater health, it is the hair-shirt Malthusian teachings of the environmentalist movement that inform that reaction: too many people, using too many resources, living too long, and not deserving any more of either.

Yet the world does not work that way. There is no such thing as overpopulation and no such thing as limits on resources. The arguments for more human death and suffering (and less striving for better medicine) are nothing less than evil. A banal and diffuse evil, with every person doing a little to build the monstrous whole, but still malign and terrible in its end result.

Every day the development of rejuvenation biotechnology is slowed will cost at least 100,000 lives, and another day of suffering for tens of millions of people.

Sadly, those who buy into Malthusian positions, and there are many, could very well inadvertently be committing suicide. We tend to get what we expect.

See: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~jskinner/documents/MurphyTopelJPE.pdf

This post originally appeared here: http://www.maxlife.org/articles/2012/07/the-world-prospers.asp

 

2 Responses

  1. rel says:

    this article is either very idealistic or is completely missing some core phenomena related to countries with old population. As long as you do not provide better health, too much population of the old is harmful for a country’s economy. because these people do not earn money, they are given money by the government + think of the bills for their health problems.

    and there IS something called overpopulation, and limited resources. for instance, some claim that lack of water will trigger clashes in the middle east in near future. history is filled with large emigrations that occured for the lack of available food resources.

    what this article argues would be valid if we achieved perfect health and completely eliminated the overuse of resources. we are not that close to either, so i cannot understand why anyone should write such an idealistic text as if it’s real.

    also, i’ve never seen an environmentalist that oppose longer lives or better medicines. can it be you’re talking about some conservative fraction of environmentalists?

  2. Tim says:

    On the topic of resources I would say nanotechnolgy and getting resources from space would go hand in hand with longer lives.

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