Living to 150 or More

I recently saw a news piece about longevity research. In it, a researcher bubbled that we could find ways to extend life so people would live to be 150 or even 200 by the year 2030.

Great. Just what we need when Social Security is about to go completely bust: a way to have people live longer.

We’d have a dilemma, for sure. First of all, not everyone would be able to afford treatments for age-related diseases, so we’d have rich people live on while the po’ folks keep dying as usual. Just our luck, we’ve got enough rich people in the USA so that our average lifespan would increase, just like our average GDP increases. The poor will be poor and dead as usual, while the rich will be richer and longer-lived than ever before.

And if we should have the anti-aging stuff available to one and all, then we’ll have to modify that retirement age. In a world where the average life expectancy is around 150, we’d have to set the retirement age at around 145. Beautiful. That means we all get to work for EIGHTY MORE YEARS. Ugh. No thanks.

Entry-level jobs would be that much harder to get, what with a vastly more experienced workforce. The PhD would become the new high school diploma. We’d have to stay in school until the 24th grade before going on to college. That means grade school and living with mom and dad until you’re 30. Forget about getting out of the home when you’re 18: you’ll have 12 more years to go!

And even if we finish schooling around age 40 for most folks, that still means over a century in the workforce. Even with career changes breaking up the monotony, that’s one hundred years plus doing the eight to five thing. If you take a military career and enlist when you’re 30, you’ll serve for 50 years before being eligible for retirement and a new career in the civilian workforce. You’ll still be young at 80… with 65 more productive years ahead of you…

Wanting to live is natural. I do want to live. I love my life and the people I get to meet in it. But I also look forward to when I rest my body and take up a different existence beyond this one. I really wouldn’t want to live on another 70-80 years, working most of them. That’s too much of this world.

We can medically eliminate the symptoms of aging, but there’s nothing we can do to take out the pains of regret or longing for those that died prematurely. In my scenario of primary and secondary education up to age 30, it’s entirely possible for people to have been married, divorced, and remarried by the time they graduate… or to be grandparents on the eve of their college matriculation. That’s a lot of living, with a lot more yet to come. If we eliminate barriers to longevity, will dying of a broken heart become the new leading cause of death?

28 thoughts on “Living to 150 or More

  1. Tais Altunian

    This would definitely be a bad thing for not only the economy, but all other aspects of life. The world would probably get overcrowded with all the extentions of life and there would be no reason to live when you pass 100. There would be no joy or excitement to look forward to because we’d all be so old and helpless. After a while life probably gets pointless, so I say we should all go when it’s our time.

  2. Ali Aenehzodaee

    Sounds like a Twilight Zone episode made to portray what life would be like in 2009. Hopefully we don’t go trigger happy bio. and genetic science before thinking long and hard of the effects of our actions.

  3. Bridgette Brewer

    well, either way obviously life expectancy will increase from now to 2030.
    in 1960 the expectancy was only 65. now its up to around 80.
    but an increase that much, probably really a dumb move. who wants to even live that long?

  4. Julien Teel

    Don’t we have enough people right now anyways? If people live longer, we’ll have overpopulation problems and our resources will deplete much more rapidly. Then with the lack of resources, countries will start to fight for them and you know how that will end. So basically it would be harming our society and people all around if we were able to live up to 150 or longer…And yes, I have to agree and say that it would ruin the world economically. Kind of scary thinking that we could be still in school past 30 and our Social Security would collapse.

  5. Emily Rohrer

    No gusto. Especially if the poor didn’t get the same treatments. As you stated, people would end up going to school for many additional years in order to receive entry level jobs. That means poor/natural people would be in school half their lives. Sick.
    I think it’s safest to nix this idea. It’s unnecessary. We should be thankful for the time given to us on Earth, but it’s not our place to extend it to this degree.
    It would spare us the burden of extreme overpopulation. There are already enough hungry people in the world. I’m sure we have the resources to feed everyone, but with this population increase added to the natural increase in population, we would eventually run out of space to farm and raise livestock. …And to live.
    I do, however, think it’s cool to have the science and technology to do this, if we’re just speaking hypothetically.

  6. Alyssa Anderson

    This would mean people could possibly be around for their grandkids’ 100th birthdays. Weird

  7. chanel wan

    I wouldn’t want to live to the age of 150, imagine all of the pain that you would go through… ewww

    Like Emily said, the world will become over populated, for goodness sakes look at freaking China. They already have the one child policy going on now, what the heck will happen if everyone is living till 150? Will they not be able to have children???

    As a whole now, we are struggling with barely putting food into peoples mouths to the point of where no one really wants to live that long because the conditions are sooo horrid.

  8. Emily S.

    But if people started living to 150, it would pretty much change every aspect of life and our society. I think things would get much more complicated than I will just stay in school longer. There could be benifits, like increased family ties, and it would be easier to pass down culture and traditions, because everone would have great great great grandparents. People in biblical times lived to be much older than that, and they were fine

  9. Chanel Wan

    Living till 150 we would drastically change the way society is, not just politically, socially, but also mentally. We would change the we think about everything.

    A toddler would last till like the age of 10, the way our schooling systems would change, people’s out look on life would alter, hollywood would never die, and dictatorships will last for centuries.

    On top of that to live to 150 we would have to change how wasteful we are as a whole to at least try to save some resources for the later generations, if possible.

  10. Katie Wilson

    Haha just think how fast technology is increasing…. if we lived to 150, we would all have to hire 6 year-olds just to figure out technology for us. Also, it’s so difficult for old people to accept change… I can’t imagine what we would think of our great-great-grandkids’ music!

  11. Shaun Jackson

    If people live that long the goverment might set an age limit and kill you themselves and make you into food. NASTY!!!!!!

    There is a movie based on this idea and it is called “Soylent Green”. here is the link.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soylent_Green

    You could be eating Grandma!!!! Who knew she would taste like that!! Again this is very NASTY! Mr. Webb may be watch this movie during B-lunch??? The folks say its a really good movie!

    Are the economic up sides to being a cannibalistic society?

  12. chanel wan

    WHAT WE ARE EATING PEOPLE NOW!!!!!!
    ok that is a little extreme…

  13. David Liou

    This technology may not be an entirely bad idea. With all the random and lethal diseases popping up, you never know when an epidemic occurs the causes most of the human population to become sterile. In this situation, this longevity would be necessary to maintain the workforce and all aspects of life. Imagine a world with ghost town everywhere.

    But even now, the longevity could reward itself. Because people life longer, the “bright” minds of society can keep researching for a longer time and soon they may discover the secrets to space colonization curing the problem of overcrowding.

  14. Chanel Wan

    Our technology will be out of the world crazy good, like look at how Japan is right now, they have robots that can control/ take care of the elderly. The quality of the types of medication that will be developed and able to fix the troubles of people will be amazing. The problems like cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other incurable type diseases will be taken cared of as if you just had a common cold. The things that are possible medically will be great but does anyone truly want to live that long?

  15. Katie Wilson

    That’s true David, the geniuses of today could keep going for a while longer, but it’s also good to get fresh people and minds in to take different views on things, so it might be better if we just left things alone.

    Haha I don’t even want to be 80, let alone 150…

  16. Chanel Wan

    I think Katie has the best idea of leaving things the way it is. Think of all the horrible things that could happen along with the greatness such as the Mafia, gangs, the crime rate, and omg the freaking prison system would have to become massive or have their own countries for prisoners.

  17. deanwebb Post author

    Major points to Chanel for remembering the prison system. Life imprisonment means a lot longer commitment. Longevity would definitely change the way we deal with law enforcement: communities of exiles, perhaps? That would be nasty, brutal, and economically prudent.

    And if our rights were reduced in that way, what would be the other implications for us if the people in power also wanted to stay in control for all their lives? For those watching “Yes, Minister”, imagine the power Sir Humphrey would have were he in his role for over 60 years… the geriatric grip on the government would be unbreakable.

  18. David Truong

    Another thing about living until that old is that the body physically can’t do as much. People in their 50s and 60s already have osteoporosis and many people by their 80s, 90s, and 100s are just too weak to do anything except stay alive. Living to 150 would have our bodies age and weaken to the point where we could do nothing; our hearts would just keep beating and our lungs keep breathing.

  19. Raphael Yohannes

    Look on the bright side of living that long…you have more time to do the things you want before you “kick the bucket”. Who wants to join me as Jack Nicholson? hmmm 🙂

  20. David Liou

    If we are able to live to be 150, then technologies would be developed to slow the aging of our bodies and the body not being able to hold up would not be a problem.

    In response to the prison problem, we could just get rid of the life sentence in implement the death penalty in its place.

  21. David Truong

    We hope the technology would be developed but we don’t know for certain that it will be. I mean, there isn’t even technology today that makes a 100 year old person’s body function really well.

    Wow. How cruel that would be, killing all those people.

  22. Emily S.

    Harsh on the death penelty. I don’t think it would cause that huge of a deal in the long run, because everything about or society would just lengthen. I think the biggest draw back is that dictators and corrupted people would just be in power for that much longer. Waa Waa

  23. Chanel Wan

    The prison systems would change drastically, the sentencing for a mere misdemeanor wouldn’t just last months but instead months. And the death sentence is already a huge issue on how inhumane it is, so by just placing the death sentence instead of life in prison with the chance of parole, it would cause a whole lot of mess with the whole humane part of the situation.

  24. David Liou

    But with life expectancy at 150, 100 years old would be the new 45. and most 45 year olds are pretty healthy.

  25. Alyssa Anderson

    Society could probably adjust to people living until 150 except not by the year 2030. At the moment, the life expectancy in the U.S. is around 78. It used to be incredible for a person to live that long. In 1900 the estimated life expectancy at birth was only 47. It took over a hundred years for the life expectancy to raise by only 30 years. So it’s no wonder that people would be uncomfortable about the idea of lifespans going up by 70 years in a mere 20 years. The idea of living to 150 isn’t necessarily unreasonable but people would need plenty of time to gradually adapt. A radical change like that can’t be suddenly thrown at society that way and end in good results.

    Here are various life expectancies since 1900:
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_09.pdf

  26. Katie Wilson

    Just think of those poor health insurance people who want us to die young 🙂
    And what about those long-term illnesses? They would keep going for years and years and years…

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