So where are we going????
I love how David opens this section of the book with how younger people in his lab are continually pushing him to think. think about impact, the future, global health care, will ‘aging’ ever be considered a “Dis-Ease”???? Is aging going to be considered in itself a medical condition????
If you read just one piece of this section of the blog read ‘The Long Race’ section. If what Dr. Sinclair writes does not get you thinking hard about hard things, then step back and chill.
Or, jump to, “A Path Forward”, for some super cool thinking.
Personally I am all in on his philosophies!!!
Chapter 8- The shape of things to come
But the people that push me to think even harder are the younger people I teach at Harvard and other universities, and often even younger people I hear from via email and social media nearly every day. They push me to think about how my work will impact the future workforce, global health care, and the very fabric of our moral universe—and to better understand the changes that must take place if we are to meet a world of significantly prolonged human health spans and lifespans with equity, equality, and human decency. Pg 217
The 100 years warning. Pg 220
The 100 year politician. Pg 225
Social Insecurity Pg 227
What divides us grows greater Pg 231
Unless aging is designated a medical condition, initially only the wealthy will be able to afford many of these advances. Pg 232
Indeed, unless we act to ensure equality, we stand at the precipice of a world in which the uber-rich could ensure that their children, and even their companion animals, live far longer than some poor people’s children do. Pg 233
I remain optimistic about the potential of this revolution to change the world for the better. We’ve been here before, after all. Pg 234
To wend our way. Pg 234
Far more than any other lifestyle change or medical intervention, clean water and working sanitation systems have led to longer and healthier lives the world over. Pg 237
The problem wasn’t how many people lived in the city (London) but how they lived in the city.//But today, we can plainly see that the city is flourishing not in spite of its population but because of it, such that the capital and most populous city in the United Kingdom is home to a myriad of museums, restaurants, clubs and culture. Pg 238
But there is another way of seeing our future—one in which prolonged vitality and increasing populations are every bit as inevitable but not damning to our world. In this future, the coming changes are our salvation. But, please: don’t just take my word for it. Pg 239
A species with no limits. Pg 239
Positive views about the future aren’t as popular as negative ones. In rejecting well-meaning but imperfect estimates and arguing that there is no scientifically foreseeable limit to the number of people the planet can sustain, the environmental scientist Erle C. Ellis at the University of Maryland has taken a lot of heat. That, of course, is what happens when scientists challenge entrenched ideas. But Ellis has stood firm, even penning an op-ed for the New York Times in which he called the very notion that we might be able to identify a global carrying capacity, “nonsense”.
“The idea that humans must live within the natural environmental limits of our planet denies the realities of our entire history, and most likely the future,” he wrote. “….Our planets human-carrying capacity emerges from the capabilities of our social systems and our technologies more than from any environmental limit.” Pg 241
“Humans are niche creators,” Ellis stated. “We transform ecosystems to sustain ourselves. This is what we do and have always done”. Pg 242
People, People, Glorious People Pg 244
Pessimism, it turns out, is often indicative of exceptional privilege. Pg 248
Why do we live better even though there are more of us and more of us living longer lives? There are a great many factors, including the good that comes from networks of human capital of all ages. But if I had to explain it in just one word that word would be: “elders.”
The Long Race
“Every aspect of job performance gets better as we age,” Peter Cappelli, the director of the Wharton Center for Human Resources, reported after he began to investigate the stereotypes that often surround older workers. “I thought the picture might be more mixed, but it isn’t. The juxtaposition between the superior performance of older workers and the discrimination against them in the workplace just really makes no sense.” Pg 251
When we extend healthy lives, we exponentialize this investment. The longer people stay in the workforce, the better our return.//A lot of people worry about young workers will be ‘crowded out’ of jobs in no one retires. I don’t. Countries stagnate because they don’t innovate and don’t utilize their human capital, not because there aren’t enough jobs. Pg 253
The option to work at any age—if and when work is wanted and needed—will offer a sort of freedom that would have been unfathomable just a few years ago. The risk of spending one’s savings on fulfilling a dream, innovating, starting a business, or going on a new educational journey will not be such a risk at all; it will simply be an investment in a long and fulfilling life.//But ‘what if’ older people could work longer? ‘What if’ they were to use fewer health care resources? ‘What if’ they were able to conitune to give back to society through volunteering, mentorship, and other forms of service? Perhaps—just perhaps—the value of those extra healthy years would lessen the economic blow? Pg 256
Evidence suggests that if aging is delayed, all fatal and disabling disease risks would be lowered simultaneously.//Over 50 years, Goldman (Dana, USC Economist) estimated, the potential economic benefits of delayed aging would add up to more than $7Trillion in the US alone. Pg 257
With active people over 70 still in the workforce, imagine the experiences that could be shared, the institutional knowledge that could be relied upon, and the wizened leadership leadership would emerge. Problems that seemed insurmountable today will look very different when met by the tremendous economic and intellectual resources offered by prolonged human vitalitiy. That could be especially true if we’re all engaging in our world with the best version of ourselves. Pg 259
The Greatest of These
Chapter 9- A Path Forward
Aging is a disease, and it is not only a disease, but it is the mother of all diseases, the one we all suffer from. Pg 268
There are several ways to speed innovation to find and develop medicines and technologies that prolong healthy lifespan, but the easiest is also the simplest: define aging as a disease.// The first nations to define aging as a disease, both in custom and on paper, will change the course of the future. Pg 269
When a doctor looks at a 50-year old person right now, his or her goal is to keep the patient “less sick,” not to ensure that he or she will be healthy and happy for decades to come.//There are two things that guide medical treatments more than anything else: age and economics.///Indeed our medical system is built on ‘Ageism’.//// The quality of medical care should not be predicated on age or income. A 90 year old and a 30 year old should be treated with the same enthusiasm and support.//// Everyone should be entitled to treatments and therapies that improve quality of life, no matter what the date on his or her birth certificate is. Pg 272
In 2018, Australia ranked seventh on the global human capital index, a measure of the knowledge, skills, and health that people in a nation accumulate over their lives, just behind Singapore, Korea Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, and Ireland. The United States ranked 24th. China ranked 25th. Pg 275
As the Australian example proves, when everyone is living longer and healthier, everyone does better. Pg 277
Open- Like most people, I don’t want unlimited years, just ones filled with less sickness and more love. And for those I know who are engaged in this work, the fight against aging isn’t about ending death; it’s about prolonging healthy life and giving more people the chance to meet death on far better terms—indeed, on their own terms. Quickly and painlessly. When they are ready. Pg 282
We Must Address Consumption with Innovation
We must invest in research that allows us to grow more healthy food and transport it more effectively. And please make no mistake: that includes accepting genetically modified crops, those engineered to include a trait in the plant that doesn’t occur in its wild form, such as resistance to insects, tolerance to drought, greater Vitamin A production, or more efficient use of sunlight to convert CO2 to sugar-as an absolutely necessary part of our food future. With more efficient plants, we could feed up to 200 million additional people, just from plants grown in the US Midwest. Pg 285
Longer, healthier lives will do us little good if we consume ourselves into oblivion. The imperative is clear: whether or not we increase human longevity, our survival depends on consuming less, innovating more, and bringing balance to our relationship with the bounty of our natural world. Pg 288
Going backward or even staying put is not a viable solution to the current crisis. The only path forward is one in which we embrace human capital and ingenuity. Pg 289
We Need to Rethink the Way we Work
The idea of connecting retirement to a person’s chronological age will be an anachronism soon enough. And just like Social Security, the structures that support labor pensions will need to be reevaluated. Skillbatacticals, which might take the shape of a government-supported paid year off for every ten worked, might ultimately become cultural and even legal requisites, just as many of the labor innovations of the twentieth century have. Meanwhile, those who believe they are happy and secure in their careers can enjoy what has come to be know as “a miniretirement”—a year off to travel, learn a language or musical instrument, volunteer, or refresh and reconsider the ways in which they are spending their lives. Pg 291
We Need to Get Ready To Meet Our Great-Great-Grandkids
This is what I want to change—more than anything else in the world. I want everyone to expect that they will meet not only their grandchildren but their great- grandchildren and their great-great-grandchildren. Generations upon generations living together, working together, and making decisions together. We will be ‘accountable’—in this life—for the decisions we made in the past that will impact the future. We will have to look our family members, friends, and neighbors in the eye and account for the way we lived before they came along.// We’re going to have to be more empathetic, more compassionate, more forgiving, and more just.
My friends, we’re going to have to be more human. Pg 293