Submitted by samwell_4548 t3_126s1xg in Futurology

With many countries globally experiencing quickly dropping birthrates, far below replacement level, do you think that future life extension will be welcomed as a way to slow or even reverse demographic/population collapse? I see so many people fear overpopulation, but the evidence is clear, the low birth rates of developed countries will lead to population collapse. Might automation and life extension allow us to maintain a steady population? I would love to hear what people think.



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raider_1001 t1_jeamacu wrote

The topic with population collapse isn’t about there will be less people due to dying of old age, it is that as more people reach the legal retirement age, there are less and less people that are working to pay for the healthcares and retirement pensions.

So the obvious/dumb solution is not making people live longer, but rather making the existing working population retire later. But politically this is unfair to millennials and gen z since they now have to work even harder to reach the same living standards as their parents.

TLDR, life extension is not a solution to population collapse, the real solution is something magical that can make millennials and gen z willing to pay more taxes for longer period of time.


warren_stupidity t1_jeb4hlp wrote

The solution is to redirect a portion of ruling class wealth back to workers by increasing their wages and not increasing prices, eliminating (in the us) tax caps on wages, adding a wealth tax, increasing immigration, moving Medicare into a comprehensive universal healthcare system with its own funding, etc, not stealing more years from working people.


Chaiyns t1_jebb3et wrote

Redistribution of wealth is looooong overdue, the banks and wealthy have chosen class war over civil reconstruction and shit's going to get a lot uglier before it gets better because of it.


Mudgeon t1_jebniv8 wrote

Redistribution of wealth and governmental restructuring have almost always come as a result of violent revolution. I worry a lot about what a true revolution would mean for the US with the destructive capabilities of modern weapons.


Chaiyns t1_jebqhi4 wrote

Historically yes, but that doesn't make it a requirement for the future, there's really no need for the greed and violence but here we are.

Aren't most of the big time destructive weapons down south (I'm Canadian) kept pretty much under federal lock and key to prevent that sort of thing?

I understand a great many people own small arms but do you think revolution down there would actually get to being much bigger than that destructive?


Mudgeon t1_jebt9i8 wrote

Even our small arms are much more destructive than the last time there was a true revolution in a first world country. Fairly common assault rifles have been used to kill hundreds of people in the US.


loose_translation t1_jebs079 wrote

I don't see a world where this happens in the US. The divide between right and left is so extreme that they will never unite to fight the rich.


YakComplete3569 t1_jeftulq wrote

Gun control. Paramilitary police forces. Drones. Thermal. Organizations that watch and track everybody and flag certain individuals. Chances of a revolution in the United States is pretty slim to none. All those AR-15s and shit are just popguns when armored police come through your walls. Or a national guard tank. Yea there are a lot of capable modern weapons but who has them? People are joking about T-55's but it is still a tank and if your squad doesn't have an anti-tank weapon then you still are at a disadvantage. There is a country recently that had about 2 million students protest. Just a protest. Almost all of them have disappeared. So those who think they are going to start a revolution in today's information age, you will be squashed before you are big enough to make an impact. In almost any country.


rdoolan3 t1_jeb7s1k wrote

Isn't increasing immigration parasitic on the donor countries though that experience a brain drain? Like the argument I hear is oh we can get doctors from India and other places, but those countries need their medical staff too. I'm pro immigrant like if people need to move that's their choice I just don't think of it as a solution to some of the world's problems


thenamelessone7 t1_jebdxsj wrote

When have you ever seen the US trying to solve world problems? The country always does things purely in its self interest


FishDecent5753 t1_jee7uc0 wrote

Like every nation does, like every nation should - obviously US interests have the most power backing behind them, so we're are more likley to see those interests come to fruition.


warren_stupidity t1_jec2o3n wrote

Yes, and I hesitated about including immigration for those reasons. On the other hand I’m also an open border advocate. In a global economic system people have to be free to migrate as they choose.


InsuranceMan45 t1_jebb42l wrote

The ruling class won’t give up wealth. They don’t pay taxes now, trying to take more will just make them leave or offshore. Increasing wages also means spending more, which increases prices by default. Tax cap elimination will just make people mad. Wealth taxes will make people move money offshore now (look at current millionaires and billionaires). Enforcing it would make them leave. Increasing immigration just kicks the problem down the road to when other countries stop having extra people to give. Immigration also comes with a slew of economic problems, such as keeping wages low and pressure on services. Given that most developed countries are in a demographic crunch now anyway, immigration would be an unacceptable net loss for most countries now anyway, especially if AI develops to take on lower/tier and even higher-tier jobs. A better healthcare system would only make more retirees, stressing the already Ponzi-like nature of social security and other pension systems. Taking more years from the working people isn’t optimal, but it’s one of the few options some countries have unless they want to destroy their pension systems.


warren_stupidity t1_jec248h wrote

Oh I get that they won’t do that without a fight, but I am really tired of people just claiming that it is effectively a fact of nature that the only solution is to steal more time from working people.


InsuranceMan45 t1_jecxvgw wrote

Yeah I’m sick of working people getting screwed. Middle class get screwed over too if you aren’t including them. The poor get enslaved in prisons and the military, the middle class pays for it all. The ivory castle pricks get away with it. They built a land of laws that screws us and benefits them. The system is cornered and falling apart after 80 years of exploitation and recklessness.


sudoku7 t1_jeaptfv wrote

Quality of Life has to be extended as well, otherwise you exasperate the problem by having more people unable to contribute to the system. But even with that it boils down to the problem of telling people that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting further away.


chasonreddit t1_jeayrk5 wrote

Demographic collapse is not a real thing. The only reason that it is a topic is that many governments have built a social welfare Ponzi scheme, funding support for the elderly with the work of the younger. That does not need to be the case. It's a manufactured crisis.

But assuming there were a crisis caused by a decline in the workforce, yes it would help. But of course retirement and pension would have to be totally re-visited. The only way it would help is if the life-extended continued to work.

China is the shining example. We will have too many people. One child per couple. We don't have enough young people to do the work. Take time off to have more children. It's what happens when governments try to take too much control for your own good..


Tincams t1_jebhnb4 wrote

The birth rate is dropping so yea bud the workforce is declining lol what are you talking about?


chasonreddit t1_jebmoxa wrote

I can explain any big words for you. What part did you not understand?

In general the point is a question. Ok, two. Why should it be necessary for population to increase for a society to be healthy? Why does a stable birth rate not work?


SoggyFrog45 t1_jec1zqy wrote

Birth rate decline doesn't necessarily lead to work force decline, especially in developing nations. As healthcare advances and becomes cheaper and more widely available, families naturally shrink because more children live to see adulthood. Mom and dad don't have to crank out 6 kids in the hopes that two live to see their 5th birthday.


peter303_ t1_jee0op1 wrote

Do you want to work at age 200?

It depends on whether 200 feels like age 30 or 80 (currently).


OriginalCompetitive t1_jeb9eiq wrote

It’s the opposite. If everyone died at 50, there would be no demographic problem.


AgingLemon t1_jeaz9ua wrote

Maybe a bit, but depends on how well said life extension works (delays and prevents aging vs straight up reversing aging) and whether you can get people to continue working. I think it would still be decades before it takes adequate effect. Not as helpful for countries looking at major issues in 10-30 years. Could be a way to help buy time and wiggle room at best.


chekovs_gunman t1_jebai0e wrote

Just what we need, the rich assholes who are wrecking the planet and society living longer


Aussie_antman t1_jee792o wrote

Living longer is no good if your body fails you. I’m only in my 50s and notice the difference in my ability to do things.

I wouldn’t want to live till I’m 100 if I’m in pain all the time and have to wear nappies.

I don’t see an issue with population stagnating, especially if wealth can distributed more easily and fairly. Nobody needs to be a Billionaire. I’m not suggesting Communist type equality but a Star Trek kind of culture would be the goal.

The health system is already adapting to the demands of ageing population and lack of Healthcare worker population. Healthcare will start to revert away from hospitals and into Home care and from treatment to prevention.


YakComplete3569 t1_jefujah wrote

Remember when people used to say that there are too many people. Some even tried to compute a number for what the population should be... I'm glad that shit went away, thanks Elon. Would hate to start killing off old people and stupid people and whomever else gets judged as non-essential persons. If such a thing existed than you too will be judged non-essential at some point.


samwell_4548 OP t1_jeg7gxj wrote

Thanks Elon?


YakComplete3569 t1_jeg9abg wrote

He was the first that I heard mention that we are not overpopulated. He may not have originated the idea. Or maybe. The collective unconsciousness and how multiple people around the world get the same idea at the same time. But researchers agree, aliens.


-transcendent- t1_jeb7pud wrote

Making people live longer is gonna exacerbate the current crisis. We need more young & healthy people to work. Extending life expectancy is not gonna fix it unless you tie that by increasing the retirement age ( but you know how that goes ).


MrRandomNumber t1_jec481w wrote

We’re over-populated anyway. It’ll rebound when we drop to our stasis level.


goldygnome t1_jec4yos wrote

The fear of population collapse is about protecting the established economic system which relies on an eternally growing customer/worker base. The economy cannot survive a long-term shrinking population.

The secondary issue of how to care for the elderly when they outnumber the young can be solved by simply not caring for them. (Not my recommended solution but that's what will happen if the situation arises).

Life extension won't solve what governments are worried about. While it lowers the health care costs of looking after the elderly, it does little to increase the birth rate of new customers/workers.


Pikkornator t1_jeaon76 wrote

The real question is why does the birthrate drop! Is it because of the poison in our foods and water? Is it because of the radiation from mobile phones near your private parts? its definitely by design.


samwell_4548 OP t1_jeardsm wrote

Look there are endocrine disruptors around us, but the radiation that is produced by our mobile devices is non-ionizing. This means that it cannot destroy our dna. The real reason people aren't having children is not because they do not want to, many studies show most people want children, but because it is very expensive to have children. In our capitalist society, children do not act like free labor, they are a burden. Many people want children but their career and the cost of living get in the way. Younger people also don't want to have children as much because we live in an uncertain world where many people don't want to bring children into the world.


Pikkornator t1_jeb7sdz wrote

You made some great points here and yes, i think money is indeed a big factor in this but im also talking about sperm count and this can only be effected by radiation or poisoning.


samwell_4548 OP t1_jebaqhv wrote

Sure radiation could effect it but non-ionizing radiation would not.


PreciousTater311 t1_jebrojc wrote

Nope. Nope. Nope. Life extension will be used by politicians and the wealthy - if they can't take it with them, they can stay longer to enjoy it - to lord over the rest of us even longer. And it'll possibly be used to keep us working even longer. In a generation or two, with life extension kicked in, what's to stop the ruling class from setting a retirement age of 85 or 90?