Life extension has been happening for over 100 years. It doubled in the UK from 40 years to 80 years from 1850 to 2015. It has almost tripled in India from 24 to 69 from 1920 to 2015. An article written by Matthew Bacher on increasing life expectancy is like many other articles that do not have the proper context of the big picture. Bacher laments the possibility that 4 years of life expectancy will be added from 2018-2030.
Possibly adding 4 years to life expectancy from 2018-2030 and would be a 6% boost over 12 years. This is NOT highly unusual for the past 140 years. This is slower than the pace of improvement in life expectancy from 1880-1980.
A commenter at Nextbigfuture felt it was uncivil and not cool for me to mock Bacher. It was suggested that I should not be giving life choices to people who want to make life choices for others. I disagree. Bacher was telling others not to live longer and not to be happy with their lives and work. It also was not cool for Bacher to not take the time to determine the history, context, and effects around global increases in longevity.
Adding four years of life expectancy from now to 2030 would be countering the impact of the pandemic. Not increasing the life expectancy is letting a pandemic occur by default and inaction.
Let us compare 1740-1880 with 1880 to 2020. From 1740 to 1880 there was no significant increase in global life expectancy. Globally the world life expectancy did not really start increasing until 1880. World life expectancy was at about 30 years and then has increased to 72.6 in 2019.
Which had more pollution? What had more habitat destruction? which had more starvation?
Air pollution was increasing in London from 1700 to 1900. Air pollution was decreasing from 1900 to 2020. This is in spite of the fact that there was the London Fog air pollution event of 1952 where 12000 people died over 2-3 weeks when air pollution was trapped by a weather event.
Victorian London was the capital of the largest empire the world had ever known and it was filthy. It had choking, sooty fogs. The Thames River was thick with human sewage and the streets were covered with mud. By the 1890s, there were approximately 300,000 horses and 1,000 tons of dung a day in London. What the Victorians did, Lee says, was employ boys ages 12 to 14 to dodge between the traffic and try to scoop up the excrement as soon as it hit the streets.
Throughout the 19th century, London experienced frequent and severe fogs. Such fogs were often so dense that they halted railway journeys, interrupted general economic activities, and even contributed to London becoming a breeding ground for crime (crime rates rose sharply during these fog periods). London averaged 80 dense fog days per year, with some areas recording up to 180 in 1885. Air pollution caused a severe economic price and significant health costs. Air pollution deaths throughout this period rose steeply. In London, mortality from bronchitis increased from 25 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 1840 to 300 deaths per 100,000 in 1890. At its peak, 1-in-350 people died from bronchitis.
Cleaning up the water and sewage was critical to increasing life expectancy. This was true in London in 1870-1920 and beyond to the 1950s and 1960s. Los Angeles from 1900-1960s and London in the 1800s-1960s had visibly bad air quality. It is happening now in China and India. Industrialization made air quality worse but there is the funds to build the plumbing and water and air treatment systems. Africa is getting clean water and sanitation systems.
Increasing life expectancy from 30 to 60 goes together with having toilets, plumbing, clean water and clean air.
Living longer and healthier goes to together with increased productivity and increased per capita wealth.
Fixing the problems with the pandemic will require new vaccines and medicines and a new level of hygiene.
Where is it better to live shorter lives on a population or national or regional scale?
People who say it no good for people to live to their 70s can move to certain African countries and live shorter lives. Those short life choice people can also indulge in overeating, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol and other lifestyle choices that are known to shorten lives.
People who say it no good for people to live to their 80s can choose to live in poverty in a developed country. Those short life choice people can also indulge in overeating, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol and other lifestyle choices that are known to shorten lives.
People who are affluent or rich in a developed country who make healthy lifestyle choices have a good chance to live to their 90s.
Cars and trucks are being electrified and this will eliminate about one-third of the world’s air pollution by the 2030s.
The world is making a transition to clean energy. This will take a few decades but the transition is happening.
Globally people are getting wealthier. The extremely poor with money below one dollar a day used to be over 50% of the world and it is now about 10%. By the 2050s, over 90% of the world will be at $10 per day or more.
The world will be cleaner, richer and healthier. This is the same trend that the 1800s were richer and healthier than the 1700s. The 1900s were richer and healthier than the 1800s. The 2000s are richer and healthier than the 1900s. China, India and the UK and the US have gone or are going through a higher polluting industrialization phase.
The overall global trends are to cleaner, richer and healthier.
The world is heading to a state where all energy and transportation will be clean and where the average person will have income equivalent to todays millionaires. This will be a sustainable situation.
There are now about 50 million millionaires in the world. There were 13.7 million millionaires in the world in 2000.
Famines and Overpopulation
Famines are mainly man-made now. The famines of the 20th century are clearly attributable to political causes, including non-democratic government and conflict. The major famines of the 20th century were the outcome of wars or totalitarian regimes.
The life expectancy in the UK started around the 1850s. The UK did not have famines after 1850 but had them before. The UK did not have a famine even during World War 2 when Nazi Germany was destroying ships bringing food to the UK.
Life expectancy increases as the region is made cleaner and as people are well fed.
Life and the world improved as life expectancy more than doubled.
Why do people believe that the next doubling in life expectancy will suddenly make the world worse? Do those who make that claim even understand what happened globally over the last 200-300 years?
If the world suddenly becomes worse does not long lives self-correct? A worse world would cause life expectancy to decrease.
Doubling life expectancy has less population impact than increasing family size by one or two children.
Per person resource usage and environmental impacts can be reduced or increased far more by technology and technology usage. Which causes more pollution and resource usage.
1. Four people who live to 200 years with an electric car and a solar-powered home and gets most food from a local greenhouse. Solar or nuclear powers the car.
2. Two people who live to 80 but uses a personal jet 50 times a year and helicopter to commute to work.
3. One person who live to 60 but uses a 1990 SUV and heavy truck and the home grid is supplied by a coal plant
4. Ten people who live to 40 but use slash and burn agriculture and each burns 1000 pounds per year of wood and grass to cook and heat their home.
SOURCES – Our World in Data, Wikipedia, NPR, ValueWalk
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.