We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

What’s so bad about living for longer?

Asks Virginia Postrel in this article. Yes, there are public policy issues involved – such as the declining ratio of workers vs retirees in many developed countries – but she gives a typically constructive, even optimistic take on the issue. Recommended.

10 comments to What’s so bad about living for longer?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Guy, I worry about you.

  • No Guy… without life there can be no cheese… ergo life is good.

  • Laird

    “without life there can be no cheese”

    That’s the most optimistic thing I’ve heard all day. Makes me want to gird up the ol’ loins and keep shouldering on!

  • Mike Lorrey

    The point of living longer is that it should give justification to index the retirement age to the rising average life expectancy, which should result in an increasing number of taxpayers per retiree pensioner, rather than the other way round as is the current bollocks. This should also result in a higher standard of living for retirees once they finally retire and the ability to afford giving them increasingly better health care (national or private).

  • Mind and memory go first.

  • Nuke Gray

    Think of all those repeats on TV! AAAAARRRGGH!

  • Without death there can be no steak – ergo….no, wait…:-)

  • David Lucas

    Honoured to have triggered so much comment… wow!

    Agree with those who point out that a fundamental breakthrough could open up life extension, but that is also pretty hard.

    I am stunned also seeing the rates of cancer prevalence once people start to get elderly – they just shoot up.

    Some fundamental change in cell aging would be required; but equally (and now I am playing hunches only) it seems that much of the excess complexity in cell operation is down to layers of defensive and self-repair systems to maintain the stability and integrity of the genome and its expression against cancer, viruses etc.

    I think an engineering approach (physicists, pah!) will rapidly find that it is very hard to avoid the aging mechanisms without breaking the system. Which is fine with me because the genome is more or less immortal even if the sleeve isn’t.

    Equally, the big error in mind-as-algorithm is not so much analog vs. digital as whether there is sufficient structure within the mind-computers so that you can map mental concepts onto stable sub-sections of code, copy the code into someone elses programme and have them acquire the concepts mentally.

    I see no reason to believe there is some shared high-level mental programming language or data format that is shared across brains except for the hormones and neurotransmitters that set to some extent the basic mood.

    Anyway, too much cold water. My attempt at life extension is at primary school now, and is making me very happy.