RADICAL LIFE EXTENSION: How would civilization change if a sudden technological breakthrough made it possible for everyone alive today to continue living for the forseeable future, barring unnatural deaths? For example, if some treatment extended our average life-span to 1000 years, it would take quite a while for scientists to even determine that since no one would die of natural causes until hundreds of years from now. Ok, so, what effect would it have?

Wealth would concentrate much more powerfully since people would just keep accumulating money long after they would have otherwise died. I expect that this would make property and housing more expensive, and harder for young people to afford. Unless people started having far fewer children, the population would increase dramatically very quickly. People would need to continue working to support themselves indefinitely, and it would be much more difficult to retire. It would be difficult for young people to get jobs because the old people would just keep theirs, but they would probably have to accept lower pay as the pool of experienced non-retired people continued to grow. Creative individuals such as writers and scientists would be able to produce many more works of greater maturity than might otherwise have been possible. Politics would change as well, since offices that aren't term-limited by law would essentially be permanently held by a few select people; most likely new term-limit laws would be enacted. The dynamic of generation gaps would change, depending on how much biological basis there is for the apparent fact that most adults get stuck in a cultural rut in their twenties that they never emerge from. This would lead to stable markets for all eras of music and other forms of entertainment.

Any other ideas? I'm sure there are a ton of things I haven't even considered. Maybe I'll write more on it later, depending on what (if anything) that people write in the comments.



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