Billionaires Longevity and Low Taxes

Paul Krugman wrote an opinion piece where he rants against future radical life extension. Krugman fears that it will only be available to billionaires.

Krugman scenario is that Peter Thiel would still be alive, wealthy and healthy in 2067 when Peter is 100 years old. Sergey Brin would be 94 in 2067.

Krugman’s bizarre fantasy is that in 2067 people will rise up globally to demand high taxes on the rich and remove medical options from billionaires apparently because of the affront of 100-year-old tech billionaires keeping their wealth. This is in spite of 100-year-old billionaires today keeping their wealth and paying low taxes or the wealthy hiring the best accountants to pay low taxes every day now.

The latest Forbes count is there are over 2,153 billionaires.

Chang Yun Chung is 101 years old and has a net worth of $2.2 billion. He is a shipping magnate. Billionaires living pretty healthy pas 100 years of age has already happened.

The 20th oldest billionaire is Martha Ford. She is the widow of William Ford. William Ford was the grandson of Henry Ford. Martha has a net worth of $1.9 billion. The motivated wealthy like the Rockefellers and Fords have maintained wealth through three to seven generations and are continuing to pass on wealth.

Li Ka Shing is 91 and both his sons are already multi-billionaires and his children will inherit his empire.

The Wealthy Can Pay Very Low Taxes

There are many countries without inheritance taxes. The OECD inheritance tax average is 15%. It is trivial for anyone with over $30 million in wealth to find a low tax home and ensure that their descendants get all or almost all of their wealth. The wealthy can shift tax locations and the different categories of income. They can shift between salaries, capital gains, dividends and corporate profits. Overall current tax rates can range from zero to 15%.

Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and many other corporations have been paying almost zero in tax.

The Affluent Live Longer and Rich Can Do a Bit Better

A study of US tax records from 2001 to 2014 found that the richest 1% of men live an average of 14.6 years longer than the poorest 1%. The wealthiest women live 10.1 years longer than the poorest. Between 2001 and 2014, the life expectancy gap grew 2.34 years for men and 2.91 years for women in the top 5% of the income distribution.

Men in the top one-fifth of America by income born in 1960 can on average expect to reach almost 89, seven years more than their equally wealthy brethren born in 1930. Life expectancy for men in the bottom wealth quintile remained roughly stable at 76.

Living healthy and to age over 90 should be expected by any careful billionaire. So why does Krugman go crazy if any of the billionaires still have their wealth in 2057 versus 2067?

Krugman fixated on Peter Thiel who is gay and currently has no children.

In 2018, China overtook the USA in healthy life expectancy. Chinese newborns can look forward to 68.7 years of healthy life ahead of them, compared with 68.5 years for American babies, the data – which relates to 2016 – showed. American newborns can still expect to live longer overall – 78.5 years compared to China’s 76.4 – but the last 10 years of American lives are not expected to be healthy.

This is despite Americans having almost ten times the income per person than people in China.

People can increase their longevity.

67 thoughts on “Billionaires Longevity and Low Taxes”

  1. People do tend to accumulate capital as they get older, so more and more should be trying to ‘retire’ – i.e. live off investment returns. That would leave jobs for younger people.

    Not sure how that would all balance out economically, but it seems like as long as enough ‘stuff’ gets produced to meet needs, the percent of population actually working doesn’t matter too much.

  2. So you’re supposing that Krugman is ignorant of how markets tend to drive prices down, to expand the customer base for a product so as to keep making more sales beyond original early adopters?

    Or that he thinks that longevity treatments/drugs will somehow be immune to that effect?

  3. I think you’re reading way too much into it. I think his concerns are as expressed in the article. However I am more optimistic that prices will be low in the end because ultimately drugs can be synthesised relatively easily and many countries may even sponsor it. I am more concerned with trying to make a living for 300 years, competing with everyone else doing the same – all the while giving young people equal opportunities. I’d like to hear how that will work.

  4. In those last few years especially, most people end up being deadwieght for both their families and the economy as a whole. Especially if they weren’t able to garner enough wealth earlier in their life to cover this time period.

    If we came up with a way to turn back to clock to avoid this, the economic benefit would be immeasurable. This would free up such a vast amount of resources that we likely wouldn’t even know what to do with it at first. So the idea that the ultra rich would horde it for themselves in ridiculous. There’s no benefit in them hoarding it, and it would in fact end up being heavily detrimental.

    To be blunt, the very idea that this would happened is less any sort of reasoned analysis and more a cliche dystopian fanfic. What I think is more likely, it that we’ll see governments step in to subsidize life extension technology at first. The cost in doing so will likely be far less then the cost of allowing the population to grow old. What’s more, there are a number of politicians out there who rely on very specific demographics in order to stay in power. So they have a rather vested interest in not letting said demographic die off.

    And yes, that last bit is both a pro and a con. That’s sort of political calculus is already all over the place though. So it’s not like this will be any different. What it comes down to is that most people would benefit from life-extension. So when it becomes a reality, we’ll probably see it become common-place pretty quick.

  5. I’m sorry, but you really shouldn’t pay attention to Paul Krugman when it comes to subjects like these. Heck, in my opinion he’s not qualified to speak on any subject, but he’s especially unqualified when it comes to matters of medical technology and the likely impact they would have of society. In this case, the overwhelming weight of history and statistics works against Krugman’s entire hypothesis. The gap between the quality of healthcare the poorest and richest individuals receive in developed countries, simply isn’t that dramatic. That isn’t to say that the rich don’t have advantages in that regard, but once a treatment has been around awhile the price tends to come down quite a bit. To put it more simply, there are many medical treatments out there that are so expensive that you’d need to be a billionaire to afford them. Most the advantage billionaires have in this regard is that it is easier for them to live a healthy lifestyle. Being able to afford cooks, fitness experts and personal physicians helps a lot. But a well motivated individual could replicate most of the benefits these afford on their own, so even that doesn’t help all THAT much.

    More importantly, radical human life extension would be an immense economic benefit for the entire planet. The resources used world wide to support an aging population is staggering. What’s more, the same population usually isn’t in a position to contribute to the economy in a meaningful way.

  6. Lots of poor folks in Murica voted for oligarch kitten grabber who pushed through tax cuts for people like himself. This increased the rate of federal deficits that mean a debt crisis concurring sooner that will be a reason to junk social security triggering more poverty for the descendants of these idiot voters.

  7. I have always wonder what will happen when automation gets so good that human workers are no longer needed. Will the rich take the risk of living in a world with billions of starving unemployed people. Or will they make the logical choice and order the machines to exterminate the rest of humanity.

  8. You are creating contradictions in your mind. We can find everything we need in nature and we can make few more things on top of it. We just have to be very careful about it, that’s all.

  9. The comments system will erase any unsubmitted comment edit if your browser focuses somewhere else, e.g. a save page or print prompt, or switching to another tab, alt tab to another program, etc.

    It’s annoying.

  10. Your exact words were that we have found everything we need always in nature. Why wasn’t the MRI there too? Or what other non negligible grammar errors are there in your posts?

  11. How could it be a fallacy if we have found everything we need, including healing, always in nature?

  12. If people can become immortal then in the long run only one man will have all of the wealth.

    That assumes automation will always need to be tailor made for every thing it produces.
    If automation eventually generalizes, every dirt poor person will no longer need to buy goods and services from the one rich guy for the necessities of live, he will have all the money and precious little to buy.

    Most everyone believes that one rich guy could be them, but only the irrational and the inept would bet their lives on that belief.

  13. The life expectancy in Cuba is as high as the life expectancy in the US. You should never compare the worse of one thing with the best of another. That is disingenuous.

  14. The more money you have the more efficiently you can capture more wealth. If people can become immortal then in the long run only one man will have all of the wealth. Everyone else will be dirt poor.

  15. I really have no problem with billionaires, so long as they are self-made and not allowed to break the laws (and the laws are well designed and well enforced).

    Where I see a problem is with people inheriting billions of dollars.

    Past a certain point, (say a hundred million dollars in 2019) money isn’t really money. It’s just power. If someone has that kind of power without personally creating it then there is no way to even guess if they should have it.

    History is full of good and great rulers being followed by bad ones.

    Extreme longevity is a different problem altogether. It will be necessary to ensure that young people aren’t permanently marginalized (along with everyone else).

  16. This article assumes several things with are not facts. First, most billionaires are first generation (about 90%). Second, some billionaires do things with their billions, such as space companies and electric self-driven cars. Who is to say one of those future billionaires won’t fund the cure for cancer or low-cost longevity therapy? Third, wealth is not a closed loop. Wealth is generated all the time and lately in record amounts around the world. Fourth, wealth is not just money. It is access to healthcare, education, technology, and leisure. The “world” now has more wealth than the previous centuries, combined. Communication, transportation, clothing, food, medicine, entertainment, etc, are now more prevalent than ever before. Why shouldn’t this trend continue?

  17. Reassuring a particular niche of death tranced people that they are right and everyone else is wrong. The one eyed leading the blind.

  18. So this thread of conversation completely derailed from the simple point that curing aging makes life better, not worse. Trillionaires or not.

    It also contains at least a bit of the wrongness of pre-post-aging: the idea that everything will STAY THE SAME forever after aging is cured. Like… Everyone will live healthy to 500 years old… and somehow put up with and do nothing about “immortal tyrant rich dudes”.

    The myopia of that vision is ridiculous. I mean look around you. One or two generations at most is all it takes for kids to completely make you look like a miserable immigrant from the past with a bad case of future shock.
    When people are free from the idea that you have only ~50 years of healthy life (post stupid teen, pre decrepitude) to really exploit your human potential, this same dynamic will be like cambrian explosion. Culturally and socially, economically and educationally and many other ways.

  19. More to the point, cell phones and other first-adopter have and have nots are never really worth writing articles about. Where was the outrage about brick sized cell phones “only for the rich”? Nowadays Africa has skipped landlines and has cell phones more powerful than the Apollo hardware (or whatever the exact comparison is) with access to basically the whole internet (wikipedia khanacademy youtube yadda yadda).

    Likewise antiaging therapies. Loss leader and prototypes for “the rich”. Mass market afterwards. Riots if the political tidal wave of votes for democratization of those therapies isn’t enough to make it the new standard for govt handouts.

    Because life liberty and happiness goes almost unarguably hand in hand with healthspan. The real challenge is what to do with all of the STUPID ideas formed around ~100 yr lifespans/75 yr healthspan being some kind of divine or otherwise universal obligation, aka the death trance.

  20. Somebody should say to him that:

    1. Metformin costs cents.
    2. he qualifies to super-dooper rich elite that will live forever
    3. we all hate him for blabbering his constant nonsense and we will rise up against his socialsit a s s in future
  21. If the “problem” is that there are people who are both old and rich, and Vittorio’s solution will result in them gradually transferring their wealth to their heirs as they get old… then they won’t be old and rich any more. That solves the problem.

    What’s not to like?

  22. Krugman misses an obvious counterfactual — antigeriatric feudalism. Any billionaire worth his or her salt will also work to increase the healthspan of those whose interests are benefitted by having that person around, particularly those with high expertise. You might wind up with a 150-yr-old spectacularly skilled baker.

    Not only is Krugman wrong — he’s terribly unimaginative.

  23. The poor ARE under the control of the oligarchy and they are their base. Not even the French nor the Bolshevik revolution were started by the poor but by the bourgeois who wanted to better theirs and their own conditions.

  24. A simple question for all the haves vs. have-not redistributionist crowd on here. Is your life better off or worse off because of the billionaires in the world? Especially American and European billionaires. Is your life somehow diminished because Bill Gates and his group can buy anything they want; too excess many times over? The answers are clear. A documentarian went into the forest of some remote island in the South Pacific and made contact with a tribe who had never seen a white man before. The comments on the documentary were classic Marxist thinking. “This tribesman just went from being the king of his world to being one of the poorest people the planet.” Really, just because he made contact with a westerner he is now poor? Total trash! His life is not diminished one ounce just because he came in contact with someone who has comforts he can’t imagine. If anything, this tribesman may see something which he aspires to achieve. But lefties only see poverty and jealousy as the outcome.

  25. Keep making assertions… they are very convincing. The dogma has applied every possible fear tactic flying across the evidence to keep us from going astray.

  26. I think you’re making a mistake thinking he believes what he says. He changes his positions whenever he feels the political winds blowing.

  27. Let’s see here. The billionaire boys’ club is developing cures for aging, developing Gen IV fission power, developing fusion power, and opening up the space frontier for human settlement. What the hell is Paul Krugman doing?

  28. Krugman is one of the most overrated people there is. The left loves him because he is one of there own. Politicians love him because he gives them an excuse to spend spend spend. The media loves him because of point number one and he is famous for his foolish ideas.

  29. I doubt Krugman is much of a sci-fi reader. One of his more famous “predictions” was that the internet would have no more effect on the economy than the fax machine. He made that prediction in 1998, during the height of the first web boom.

  30. High tech items tend to be very expensive to develop but pretty cheap to produce.
    This is true from everything from modern TV, computers, phones to medicine.
    So they become mass marked to maximize sale.

    Stuff only the very rich own tend to be stuff who is expensive to build and maintain like mansions, private jets and yachts. Even if you got one for free you would not be able to maintain it.

    Exceptions, rare and sought after items are expensive because they are rare and many want them. Art and jewelry is good examples.
    Some medicine is very expensive as its few users but the same high development cost and insurance companies and governments are the buyers anyway.
    On the other hand look at the price of Viagra (the potency pill if censored)
    Probably more expensive to develop than many of they hyper expensive drugs as its not life saving it would require more testing.
    Yes this is ballpark for an anti aging cure, probably a bit higher as benefit is higher

  31. North Korea has very low incidence of mortality from cardiovascular disease. Tree bark is loaded with antioxidants.

  32. Natural remedies to cancer, diabetes, and AIDs are a joke. Compare that with all the antibiotics and vaccines saving millions every day, treatments for diabetes, AIDs, and finally making good progress against cancer as well. Sure there are things we have a ways to go on, but for most of these we are showing good signs of getting there.

    These people in these blue zones were not living long 200 years ago. They have and use modern medicine.

    And there are plenty of “natural” things which are quite dreadful. You can keep the leprosy, cholera, typhoid, and their ilk.

    Natural gets you pestilence, famine and plague. And nutritional deficiencies made people stunted, lethargic, dim and sometimes dead.

  33. It’s usually not on their radar until much later in life.
    Then they are caught in the mental trap, why invest in something that will likely come too late for them and only benefit others.

  34. Likely their equivalent of the CDC isn’t getting paid, so we don’t have the statistics.

  35. More of the opposite. Life extension up to now has been organ replacement and bypass surgery which is pricey. If we get pills they will be cheap…at least after the patents run out. And even if you don’t want to wait, you could buy it in some other country where they don’t recognize the patent. But most of all, he clearly does not comprehend economics. You don’t maximize profit by selling just to some small fraction of the 1%, regardless of what you charge. If they charged $100 million per bottle, the billionaires would not buy it either. And good luck transporting it…hijackers would be everywhere. The billionaires would start their own companies and make an analogue and sell it for $5,000 or less and clean up. And they would not be the only ones looking for an analogue…dozens and dozens of companies would be.

  36. Life expectancy at birth is not an ideal means of comparison of 1900 to now, if your real focus is aging. Medical care during childbirth is much better now. Children are not working in mines, dangerous factories, or on farms where machinery could kill them. And, in fact, most of the population is safer now. Though accidents still account for a sizable number of deaths ~5.4% in the US. Much more if you count medical mistakes. Though most medical mistakes that take a life are made on older people, where they are less likely to survive a goof than younger healthier patients.
    Looking at life expectancy at 65 makes more sense. From 1900 to 2000, that only gained 4 years for men and 7 years for women. The ability to stay better connected with family using modern technology is probably a factor in women living longer, as likely is hormone replacement. 65 year old men and women in 1900, had the same life expectancy.

  37. Wonder if Krugman read Altered Carbon? Or a couple dozen other sci-fi books.

    There is most definitely a takeoff point at which more wealth just comes, once you hit critical mass. Now look at someone like Warren Buffett. Supposedly he made more than 95% of his wealth after age 50 (and scraping together enough that when it grew, it really grew) but he had hit that takeoff point many years earlier. Meanwhile, by the time people like my wife and I get to 200, we might be somewhere close to where Warren Buffet is now (assuming the economy of the next 150 years is pretty much like the past 70, ha).

    If someone already very wealthy is increasing their wealth at a rate where they are accumulating wealth much faster than the economy is growing, then it is only a matter of time until they destabilize that economy. History has some grim lessons where that happens. It would happen more often except that death is a great leveler.

    Yes, in the U.S., a defacto aristocracy is not how things are meant to work and, regardless of how (or if) it works elsewhere, since the Constitution was never meant to encompass that, hereditary aristocracy doesn’t play well for society as a whole.

    Regardless, no one is going to solve the problem by denying the use of technology that people really want and are willing to pay for.

  38. They need assistance because the lifespan is longer than the healthspan. Nobody wants to live to be 150 in decrepit state and feel like crap for 80 years. On the other hand, if you can make 90s the new sixties then everybody can be independent much longer (and probably work till their 80s, and fix the pension system)

  39. By focusing on wealth and its affect on life expectancy, Krugman is ignoring the future climate, which is worsening year by year. Who cares if a few thousand of the super rich live ten or twenty years longer when millions may be dying from drought and famine.

    One aunt in Japan lived to be over a hundred although she was lower middle class. Another aunt in the US lived to 96, again just middle class. In the late 90s, I heard the head of Kaiser Permanente state that a majority of the 20-year-old women living then will live to a 100. The demographic challenge is not a few thousand living longer than average. The challenge, which Japan is now confronting, is too many people are living longer and need assistance.

  40. Krugman is a far-left Marxist and anti capitalist. He’s wrong on almost everything he writes about. He always uses the same tactics the Soviets did for decades. Divide people and classify to plant seeds of anger in the have nots. Sugar was a luxury item only available to kings and Uber wealthy at one time. It’s a throw away household item today. If Krugman were alive back then he’d be going off on how only the rich get sugar and it’s not fair.

  41. And that article is was not published on april 1st… What was the author smoking ? Negative interest rates are the most harmful of the tools. Quantitative easing or good old money printing are less harmful since they don’t destroy the existing monetary system. Not to mention, that it could trigger flight to Gold, bitcoin, loyalty points and other similar instruments…

  42. Do you think that the reach will not find an easy way to gradually transfer the wealth to their designated heirs ? And the inheritance tax is orthogonal to the longevity. If a billionaire can expect to live 100-200 years they don’t have to give a slightest concern about the inheritance tax since they don’t intend on dying any time soon. In the book “The capital in XXI centuriy” it was proposed to tax the wealth (defined as all valuable assets that have market values) . If done on progressive scheme, it will discourage extreme wealth accumulation. However, there will be some perverse incentives to transform capital in some other non-taxable assets like fame, knowledge , skills, special positions, etc…

  43. What is really amazing that now the gap is so small if you take in the account how much access to health care do the billionaires have. And if you take into account that a self-made billionaire has to be much healthier (at least initially) then the regular person, otherwise they wouldn’t have the energy and stamina to do the initial wealth building, then you have a selection bias where the [self-made] billionaires have a bit better genes and healthier than the general population, then the gap in a OECED countries is quite small albeit statistically significant. In the end this gap is insignificant. It is not like before where famine and bad living conditions could change the odds 10 times…

    And I am surprised the billionaires between the age of 40-60 don’t actively invest in anti-aging research. A 10 millions invested now , for Sergei Brin could easily mean 10-30 years longer live. Mr. Bezos is a bit older, so he will probably have to go 100 millions to get the same benefit as Mr. Brin. The lion’s share of expenses will be the R&D . After mass production the costs will be insignificant. For example, the known senolitic candidates while not free are quite affordable , since you have to take them once in a few months. Dasatinib costs 100-200 USD per pill but the patents are about to expire and the production costs are about 1-5 $. It might turn out that fisetin is more expensive to produce. Yet it costs much less.

  44. Can you imagine members of congress serving for hundreds of years because of all the money and power they have accumulated to such an extent no one can challenge them?

  45. Yeah, champagne socialists & panderers. So, what was on the agenda? My bet is on helicopter money, that garbage aka modern monetary theory, ubi’n stuff; How to print more money so the average Joe that worked his ass off is robbed of his savings through inflation and negative interest rates? Yeah, let’s punish savings and force consumption; somehow I think some of those Davos guys would love that while others are clueless as to what they’re bringing upon the middle class.

  46. Bezos and company don’t have big money bins in which they daily take a swim. Nearly all their billions are tied up in stocks representing shares of companies.

    Stealing and selling those shares would cause a massive market crash. You’d be lucky to get 10 cents on the dollar.

    Government could “nationalize” ownership of the billionaires’ stock, and hold onto it. After a market crash due to “Who is next?” fears, the stock’s nominal value might recover some, but will likely stay down 10-50% due to loss of confidence in the future of those companies.

    The government might earn around 2%-3% a year of dividends on some stock, or sell a few percent a year if the companies don’t pay dividends. At a guess, the government might be able to extract ~$2B a year for every $100B of original value of stock stolen from the billionaires. About $6 per US resident. MAYBE enough to institute a modest UBI if every single billionaire is robbed.

    Of course, you’d have no more Tesla or SpaceX or Amazon or Facebook -type start-ups in the US after that.

  47. Billionaires do a lot of good with their money but the tax system needs to be changed. If Andrew Yang is elected president he will introduce a 10% value added tax (VAT) along with his freedom dividend and free medicare.

  48. Of curse, I will spare you, but remember, judging by the topics discussed at the latest Devos gatherings, the (m/b)illionaires themselves, more than before, seam to be concerned about potential social instabilities

  49. Yes, but that’s a generous assessment of his motives, because speculative pieces about “the future” very often reflect an author’s thoughts about what we should be doing now. Krugman dislikes billionaires and wants high taxes on their assets as well as income and of course on any attempt to pass on wealth to heirs.

    He fears that he and his like-thinkers will not succeed in getting those taxes implemented. So he wrote a scenario that he hopes will incite more jealousy of the ultra-rich in present-day readers who believe his exclusive-life-extension scenario is likely.

  50. Life extension is the largest medical market of them all. Assuming it also extends healthspan (otherwise it’d be rather useless), it would also alleviate pension fund and other aging population issues. So both pharma and governments have an incentive to get them to as many people as possible. It’s not likely to be available only to the rich for very long. Much more likely it’ll follow the path mobile phones and AIDS medication.

    As for wealth and taxation, it may become largely irrelevant as AI and automation advance.

  51. From a fellow romanian: Mr Raducan, your guillotine remark only shows that you’re a bit of a commie deep down. To me, commies are the ones to use guillotines on but still I don’t go around and advocate that on forums. Wouldn’t have used such harsh words but your influencer status demands it.
    And perhaps that inequality stems from the plebes not willing to fulfill their potential and instead getting dumbed down by watching other peoples’ lives on tv shows and useless soc media accounts that suck vast amounts of time and energies.
    And then they get revolted as to why some guy that spent countless sleepless nights tinkering to have smthing to sell managed to get (m/b)illionaire. So spare me with your “it’s not fair & sustainable” stuff.

  52. Inheritance tax:

    • 0% until 50 years old. If one dies young, the family keeps everything.
    • 0.5% per year after 50 (until 100 years old). Example: if one dies at 80, the inheritance will be taxed 15%; if one dies at 100 or more, heirs (probably in their 60s or 70s, had a lifetime to make some money for themselves) will receive 75% of the inheritance.

    All these resources will have to be necessarily used either for programs that “level the playing field”, at least in terms of opportunities, like for example scholarships and education in general or at least research programs; alternatively, it can be used to pay off some public debt ( = relieve future generations from the burden inherited by the previous ones).
    In this way, within one or two generations, some 20% of the wealth will “rotate” from the haves to the havenots, reducing the risk that the fracture that is widening before our eyes becomes pathological and create a disfunctional society where there’s a real risk of autodestructive revolutions.

  53. I believe the article has to be taken in perspective: perhaps not now, but in a few years, when (initially expensive) regenerative medicine goes exponentially more effective, it might as well be a factor that sensibly increases that life expectancy difference.
    However, until now what makes the real difference is what you eat and how you live: one could presume that wealthy individuals eat very well, can keep a good grip on their lifestyle (no destructive habits) and in general are less stressed than their less fortunate peers, who eat cheap unhealthy food and are constantly harrassed by existential fears about making ends meet. These behaviors are only partially influenced by economic means, they’re way more influenced by functional education (rich ignorant folks will have destructive habits and lower life expectancy, poor educated ones will still eat well and get by longer).

    Regarding taxation: I have a solution! It’s unquestionable that life expectancy will keep on rising, possibly indefinitely. It’s also unquestionable that this demographic phenomenon could lead to unmeritocratic accumulation of wealth and distrotions in the imperfect but effective incentive system we all love called capitalism. So, in the short term, taxation is shifting from work to capital and this is already happening in most developed countries: gotta keep an active population and not encourage rentiers. In the medium to long term, I propose we adopt a progressive inheritance tax (follow below):

  54. If Bezos only had $10M, you wouldn’t have all the neat crap you bought from Amazon. If Jobs only had $10M, you couldn’t get an i-phone. If all billionaires only had $10M, you still couldn’t get $10M for yourself because you still wouldn’t have what it takes. Sucks being a dipstick, huh?

  55. Quite a “miracle” that there are centenarian billionaires, such a level of inequality demands by itself the use of guillotines at the end. It is “socially” unsustainable so it cannot stretch over too many generations. I would not bet for young billionaires though, the nonagenarians just got lucky

  56. Why cure cancer, polio, malaria, tuberculosis etc since only the rich can afford it?
    People with these kind of conspiracy theories should be committed, for the good of ALL mankind.
    Including this author.

  57. Average wealth in the us is ~400k and the median is ~60k.
    You would think the bottom 50% -who happen control <2% of total wealth- might have a problem with the current path. Despite protestations to the contrary, their actions largely shows they support the path to oligarchy. They spend too much time worrying about feminists et al and not enough time worrying about economics that don’t work for them, it didn’t for their parents and it wont for their children.

  58. This article was a speculative thought piece about possible futures. I think Krugman was implying that IF future anti-aging technology is very high cost and the increased life span of the rich versus the poor goes from 14 years to several hundred, it would further entrench the plutocracy. Which is probably correct. However, the assumption of high cost may be true initially, but is ultimately unlikely given the vast potential savings resulting from the elimination of medical expenses of the aging.

  59. Again, health does not need wealth. There are Blue zones where people have stronger community ties, less stress, healthier diet, sense of purpose and faith where people live longer. We should emulate this life style and we can improve on it. Other than that all healing needed in the world is already found in nature, this is how the world was created. Again and again it is found when checked that natural medicine is just as effective as our best medicine, with less side effects and improving several conditions at once. The chemical direct cause and effect model of healing is a growing failure.

Comments are closed.