Population increase and higher medical costs

Should it be long life or better life?

With the diversification in health care around the globe, is the time right for discussing longevity?

Will it not lead to population increase and consequent problems?

Will it not lead to further disproportionate increase in Medical costs because of rising demands?

Not if the extra years are healthy ones. In that case medical costs will be lower. Doing nothing will result in grave economic problems. For example, the annual worldwide cost of dementia is currently 818 billion dollar. Two thirds of dementia patients live in low- and middle-income countries who lack the resources to provide expensive long-term care for these patients.


Population growth mainly depends on the number of births, not the number of deaths. Birth rates are declining in almost all countries on earth.

@Ashok -
Why not have both a long and healthy life? The longevity researchers today no longer speak about simple life extension, but instead focus on extending healthspan: the time of your life that you spend without serious diseases or disorders.

I am sorry but I don’t seem to understand the logic.
The minimum birth rate, as I have observed in last five decades can not be less than 2 children for a couple.
Even China has moved back from 1 child norm.

So, simple arithmetic says increase in life span means increase in population on the planet.

I am speaking from my experience in my country only.

The diseases caused are not by nature but by ourselves. Junk food has become a fad, TV and computers have become the major pass time and lately Mobile phones, which take away all the activity from life and body. Eating out has become a norm as has the cars been. With the increase in income and lesser liability of elders, this trend will only increase.
In my country, a professor in even the best university or Institute becomes of no use on the day he retires. The designs he now makes, he has to get them vetted by his students.

The cost of medication is ever increasing and with health insurances probably it might see some positive change.

Until and unless we gainfully engage these very seniour persons in an activity of their choice and liking, it might lead to depression and dementia etc.

Therefore, the logic with me strongly suggests that first we must improve the health care, create worthwhile jobs for seniour population, keep them happy and engaged and then and then only we must think in terms of increasing the longevity.

Another problem that also may arise would be the requirement of increased number of decent homes and colonies.

@Ashok: The fertility rate in 2018 is lowest in Moldova with 1.23 children per woman, Portugal has 1.24, Germany 1.48, China 1.64, Italy 1.5, Iran 1.61,… The replacement rate is 2.1 children per woman in developed countries and 2.33 globally. Virtually all countries outside of Africa are below the 2.33 threshold. At least around 70 countries are below 2 children per woman.

Data from Gapminder (http://bit.ly/2u59M9D)

It seems that once countries reach a certain standard of living, birthrates drop. There is some lag, though, and the global population is still expected to grow to 10 billion by 2050.

(How to feed all of those people is our main research question in The Future of Farming Community.)

As @SvenB and @Roey suggest, the answer must include extending people’s healthy lifespan, so they can work longer and incur lower medical costs.

@ayotopoulos, what are your thoughts on this issue? Do we risk exploding health-care costs?

@adampowell, you might also have insight on this from the insurance perspective.

Once again I am sorry not to agree.
Human figures are just not DATA.
There are emotions, attachments, expectations between generations. At least, that is the situation in my country and neighbouring countries in south east Asia. Maximum, I have seen three generations living together under one roof and rarely four. I have seen and felt the bonds between the various generations and their dependability, not in terms of finances but also emotional and attachments and expectations and the give and take between them. Without these, I think the human being will become a machine, serving, earning and living for ones own self. where would the sentiments to care for elders and sick would come?
All you are trying to do is add one or two more generations to the FAMILY.

Even animals show sentiments and care for their kind and sometimes other kinds also.

Data, as it is , is a dark room and one can find in it what one is looking for. Our old story of an elephant felt by four blind folded man from four angles and coming out with four different answers, describes the data very aptly. The trunk being a pipe, the legs being pillars, the tails as thin rope and the ears as fans.

In spite of all this the data of every woman giving birth to less than 2 children, Hans Rosling predicts 11 billion population by the turn of the century and @NickOttens even comes to 10 Billion in 2050 itself.

I would still stand by my earlier comment.

I would like to share this in this context.

Please don’t apologize for disagreeing! If everybody agreed on this, we wouldn’t need an expert community to share views :slight_smile:

The 10 billion prediction comes from the UN. Here is the story. To be precise, they forecast a world population of 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100.

I’m far more concerned about low birth rates than high birth rates. Most social programs are built on the assumption of a pyramid-shaped age structure, with a few elderly at the top, and many workers below. When nations end up with inverted pyramids, there is inadequate labor to cover the costs of said programs. The solution is to stop making the programs inter-generational transfers (instead, keeping the savings for the programs within each generation), and to also encourage modest population growth.

One person’s medical spending is another person’s income. Medical spending is not inherently a problem, as it is simply a transfer of money from some members of society to others. If medical spending scales with the growth of society, it will not become an undue burden. That said, when society gets older (due to low birth rates), it becomes a larger burden on the workforce.

Could automation be the solution? If robots take more of our jobs, we’ll simply need fewer people, so a shrinking population wouldn’t be a problem. On the contrary.

I share your concern. Do you really think stopping inter-generational transfers is fair, though? Doesn’t that completely demolish social cohesion?

The main barrier to stopping intergenerational transfers is the promises/liability the government has incurred by promising people benefits for participating in the transfer. One way out is to have there be a one-time cost (via inflation) of adding the unfunded liability to the national debt while giving people their promised benefits.

i think fundamentally the issues @Ashok is raising are social in nature. financing for healthcare expenditures, retirement, etc. are technical problems and you can see from the comments by @Roey @adampowell @NickOttens that there are conceivable solutions already at this juncture that do not require any breakthroughs beyond what we already know to be possible.

i think @Ashok 's main point (let me know if you disagree) is that given current conditions, the idea of increasing the healthy lifespan is paradoxical without concomitant changes in how humans interact with each other. specifically, extending human lifespan in a way that maintains physical and mental vitality will create ripple effects in social relations that will create a negative feedback loop that challenges and undos the medical extension of physical and mental health.

this to me points to the need for radical breakthroughs with regards to current trends around social isolation, family dynamics, etc. all of the trends that @Ashok highlights that contribute to negative outcomes for the elderly (and even the non-elderly) will only continue to accelerate (lack of physical IRL connection, increasing use of technology, breakdowns of traditional family support systems, etc.) unless there are huge shifts in how humans relate to and interact with one and other.

Thank you Mr timsilman for expanding on my views.
At least in my country, from the early childhood we are taught that
If you take away the social interaction, would there be a difference between the two?
As it is, we are seeing the collapse of our joint family system and somewhere even the nuclear families.
There are major differences in the values of people around the globe and moreover, they are in a sort of flux today, moving towards more and more materialistic world. Elderly do not expect only money as support from their next generation. And transfer of love, affection and care from large distances is just not feasible.


Then their is the question of additional jobs because with 150 being the expected life span, the retirement age also would be or should be at least 110 years. The implications are easily seen and calculated.

We have believable stories in our place of saints living ALL ALONE, IN CAVES IN HIMALAYAS, WITH NO SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY, HAPPY WITH THEMSELVES . They are seeking GOD.

The present day, normal human beings seek only money, comfort, luxury etc. and may not get satisfaction with life. Will the medicine be able to proportionally increase the age of active sex life? I am sorry but this just cropped up in my mind.

It reminds me of an old joke wherein a doctor asks a patient why do you want to live long if you do not smoke, don’t drink, don’t gamble nor have a partner?

I think I am going astray.

I, again, do not agree with the views of Mr Adampowell talking about human being in terms of workforce only. If that is how the human beings are being looked at, with no social status, no relationships, just simple WORKFORCE, we may better move towards mechanical robots rather than treating the human beings as robots.

As regards the medical costs, they are proportionally way high. The same procedure costs many times more in private hospitals than in Govt. Hospitals. Doctors don’t mind fleecing even the poor patients. Had it been a case of simply transferring money from one pocket to another, no one would shy of going to a doctor unless it becomes absolutely essential r one has an insurance.