May 2008

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Comments

Ben

This all simply leads me to ask will there be a new retirement age? What if some people can not afford the health care and die around 70 and the retirement age gets moved to something around 110 so you could be old and not be allowed to retire. Just a thought.

Vijay

Why is the title of the post "Youth in Asia"?

Bob G

Forget about the costs, resources, etc, for a moment.

If medical science finds a way to keep people alive indefinitely, and therefore people don't die of old age, then barring any (ahem) unfortunate accidents wouldn't it become necessary for assisted suicide to be legalized?

Otherwise, we'd live forever. If, at 200 years old, your only two choices are 'accidentally' getting yourself caught in a wood chipper or having a doctor inject you in the comfort of your own home, I'd take option #2 any day of the week.

Thankfully I'm afraid I won't have to make that decision, since old age will inevitably find me before miracle science does...

Jan

Living longer is no problem if we also remain productive longer.

If we can stay productive long enough, we just have to limit breeding to the normal replacement rate. As Aubrey DeGrey says: "We will have to decide whether to have a low birth rate or a high death rate. The high death rate will of course arise from simply rejecting these [anti aging] therapies in favor of carrying on having a lot of kids."

Oh yeah and assisted suicide is legal in some European countries.

Rachel D. C.

Well, we allow that dignity to dogs, but not humans. Forget the airport thing; it should be available for cheap.

Also, I think there's a shorter biological limit for how long we can live that differs slightly between males and females. Don't remember what the numbers are, but I think they're both somewhere around 122.

kls

Here's another idea: how about some volunteer programs for people who are willing to take a one-way trip?

Personally, if I found out I had some terminal disease that was going to end badly, I'd probably sign up.

For example, we could send the first human to Mars a lot sooner and cheaper if we didn't have to work out all the return logistics.

Surely we must have some military opportunities, like charging into caves in Pakistan to see if Osama's home.

Hell, I'd even sign up for an attempt on the first triple=backflip on a dirt bike.

DM

Whether the old people are productive is irrelevant: they would still be eating up resources.

jakesdad

I absolutely support it in principle but what stops the slippery slope from truely terminal patients voluntarily requesting assitence to HMOs laying off their oncologists and just referring patients to their "preferred provider" in Huntsville, Texas?

Not My Usual Alias

Airfare to Portland International Airport would get you into Oregon's system.

The free blurb from the Oregonian:
Assisted suicides increase
03/19/2008
Forty-nine Oregonians ended their lives last year by taking a lethal drug dose prescribed under Oregon's unique Death With Dignity Act, state officials reported Tuesday. That's the highest annual total in the decade-long history of the...

Roger Boese

It already legal for natives in the Netherlands.

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL0574927120080505?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

John

I have already attempted assisted suicide 4 times. Those guys have the worst return policies ever...

http://awritersblock.com

Gregg M.

Given what is known about aging, any life extension that will get you to 140 will add those years as "young" years, not "old" years, so assisted suicide would be needed about as much as it is now.

If the advance of lifespan gets to a point where life expectancy raises 1 year or more for every actual year that passes, then essentially, we've removed death by aging as something that people have to deal with.

If people don't die by aging, then reasonably, people would never retire, and pensions would no longer exist, because you'd be physically 25 (and able to work) until you eventually get hit by a semi or whatever way you end up checking out. If anything, this would be a GOOD thing, but Social Security payments and a lot of medical costs (aside from the anti-aging treatments) just aren't there anymore.

There's lots of related issues, but economic collapse isn't something that we'll have to worry about with THIS issue.

Alfred

A few economics words: substitution and innovation. If the market wants it, someone will try to make it.
1. We have all the electrical energy we can want; from the sun, just need better ways to capture, store and transmit.
2. Water is abundant: just need good desalination techniques, Dean Kamen is working on that.
3. Meats can be produced super efficiently in large vats, kind of like petri dishes.
4. Techniques for subterranean living spaces have hardly begun to come to frutation.

The future is brighter than ever.

Also, the book "The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology" by R. Kurzweil lays out current trends that will help expand the human life cycle duration.

Alex Blanco

Scott, even if assisted suicide was legalized in every country the world, there would not be enough people wanting to do it as to reduce the impact of overpopulation. The future on this issue looks rather grim, and as far as I see it there are only 2 options:

1. Reduce the number of people. Seeing as how the world population follows an exponential increase, a rather substantial effort would have to be made in order to reduce the number of people. Assisted suicide wouldn't cut it. I can only shudder to think of what future leaders might imagine as a solution to this.

2. Increase the resources. Invest in improving the world's resources, and also improve the distribution arrangements so as to not waste valuable resources.

Sincerely though, none of these by itself would probably be enough. I would heavily rely on #2, but introducing some sort of educational tool so that the people understand its their responsibility to care for the future generations by not having too many kids. In case they had more kids, however, I'm strongly against penalties, the kids should be allowed to live and the family should not receive any kind of problems from the state. Education is the key.

amen-not

Personally I never want to "live long". It should not be a goal for anyone. I told my family I want to leave the earth when I am not "independent" any longer.

I can never understand why some people do all possible means to live long. Imagine billion x N (50+ more years) old chinese on earth!!!

Imbecile

Why go through the expense of flying anyone anywhere though? Save a TON of money and become the lowest cost euthanizer by creating your own "airline" EuthanAir, and when people get in line to board the plane, kill them as they are "boarding" - either in the jetway or in a room that looks like the inside of an airplane.

Tell their relatives that their ashes will arrive next week after they've gotten to the city and been processed. Just drop ship generic ashes from a central city with good shipping on a schedule and no one will be the wiser that they've not received their relatives actual ashes either.

PROFIT!

Marcellus

It's egal in Switzerland. We have two competing organizations battling over who can kill more. They are called dignitas and exit.

Marco

Youth In Asia is a cool name for a band!!

We'll need to invent something better than money if we're expected to keep all the old people alive (and fed).

Stephen W. Stanton

>> "There’s no way the global economic system can keep several billion people alive over the age of 100."

Sure it can.

It's all a matter of two variables.
1. How productive will future centegenarians be?
2. What tradeoffs are we willing to make?

The world can certainly provide enough bread, water and vitamins to support 5 billion more very slow metabolisms. As for space, they can fit neatly into 100 square foot apartments with 6.5 foot ceilings.

No, the world can't support 5 billion more old people that require 24/7/365 medical care and human assistance with all tasks other than breathing...

But a weekly hose-down would be easy for modestly healthy old folks.

Steven

Of course it is inevitable.

avsa adasi

The "Assisted" Suicide debate is simply an attempt by a few narcissistic individuals (e.g. Jack Kevorkian) to call attention to themselves and to further their political ambitions. They a taking what should be a personal and private process and turning it into a three ring circus, complete with "60 Minutes" video (a show that is still striving to rise to the level journalistic integrity of Jerry Springer).
DIY suicide has worked for all of history and those that choose it should be allowed their privacy.
Thank you for allowing my monkey dance.

http://www.avsaadasi.gen.tr and http://avsasitesi.com and http://www.avsa-avsa.net TRAVEL in TURKEY

THANK YOU ALL

Mark Thorson

No change to the law is needed
as long as we can buy do-it-
yourself suicide kits. Like
this one:

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=3&art_id=qw1065425760392B223

Doubting Thomas

I'd like to know how my comment got attributed to Les.

What I wrote, verbatim, is
I'm pretty sure they offer this service in Vegas already. You gamble, you hit the strip clubs, maybe a whore house if that's your style, and then you check in to the assisted suicide club, where you get pampered to death.

Did it get switched to Les during the comment moderation process?
~Doubting Thomas

Pyramid Head

I wish it were legalized in Brazil. This way I won't have to hang myself when the time comes (and it's very near for me, I can feel it). Doing it with a doctor would be easier and less painful...

I hate when people want to tell me what I have to do with my own life. It's MY life, and if I don't want it anymore I should have the option.

Stacey

The thing is, just because medical science can keep *you* alive to 140, doesn't mean it will keep *me* alive that long. I have no insurance right now & I'm fairly sure Medicade will not be covering 100% of the costs of various medicines & procedures necessary to keep me alive. I'm also sure that my 401k savings will barely cover the cost of basic health exams. Only the rich will be living to 140. The rest of us will die when we can no longer afford to pay to live.

If I choose not to leech off my kids to cover my medical costs at 110, am I committing suicide?

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