DEBATE FORUM - Will Government Funding End Death, or will it be attained by Private Investment? -

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DEBATE FORUM - Will Government Funding End Death, or will it be attained by Private Investment?

Posted: Fri, March 22, 2013 | By: DEBATE

Radical life extension requires heavy funding - will national budgets eventually earmark sufficient cash to significantly prolong life, or are the vast majority of governments just a Huge Obstruction?  

Is it useful to petition civic bodies for research and development revenue? Or is this… just a waste of time? 

Are ventures like SeaSteading highly sensible - because longevity breakthroughs can occur best in free zones, liberated from the shackles of bio-conservative policies?

Will age-ending discoveries be accomplished by capitalistic enterprises, entirely devoted to profit? Will competing corporations offer high-priced elixirs?

Perhaps non-profits will lead the way? Funded by membership donations?

If forward-thinking governments do lead humanity towards immortality, which nations offer the most hope? Small nations like Singapore and Israel?  Big players like Russia, China, USA, the EU?

Should life extension activists spend their time lobbying politicians? Is that useless? Should they petition billionaires instead? Should they raise funds for individual scientists, in intriguing fields like nano-medicine?

Is your view “libertarian” on this issue, or do you retain faith in social democracy? 


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It is definitely not in the governments interest to have indefinite life extension. Pushing for funding for it is a horrible idea.  We might end up creating a Logan’s run type scenario.

It is a much better idea to have a plan and push for government funding for each piece separately and then have a small quiet privately funded group of scientists committed to indefinite life extension put together the pieces and fill in the gaps. This group should be quietly funded by people who believe in life extension.

If we push hard for life extension we will pick a fight. Laws and policies will change that will be detrimental to indefinite life extension. 

Why fight life spans are being extended by 3 month per year now.  Biotechnology is improving 4 times faster than Moore’s law. A huge percent of the GDP is all ready being spent on health care.

Take care of ourselves, Gently guide public research into the most promising path.  Privately fund anything that would raise controversy. And know that all those who think long life spans are a bad idea will probably be dead before you and senile or on the golf course soon so it won’t make any difference.

To live indefinitely one attribute we will need to develop is patience. We should really start to work on that now. Or we might find our efforts backfiring.

By Karen Shea on Mar 22, 2013 at 7:46am

Karen’s comment raises a wider issue, which we haven’t really addressed so far. If, as she suggests, by pushing hard for life extension we will merely “pick a fight” (of the kind Tom Mooney clearly sees as inevitable), and we would be better off allowing the government to go piece by piece and have a “small quietly privately funded group of scientists committed to indefinite life extension put together the pieces” - and I can certainly see the logic of that position - then why are we having this discussion on a public site at all?

This is also somewhat related to Hank’s last question, about libertarianism vs social democracy. Ultimately, who are we doing this for? Ourselves? The greater good of humanity?

On the whole I am inclined to agree with Tom, and just gear up for a fight. It’s gonna happen anyway, or if it doesn’t, neither will indefinite life extension. But I also agree with Karen that government funding will continue to be most effective via its piecemeal funding of age-related diseases (so that they can trick themselves into believing that they are not actually fighting ageing itself). And then if a few high net worth individuals or crowd-funding mechanisms complement these efforts by joining the dots, perhaps we’ll manage to pull it off.

Then it just remains to look after our personal health well enough to make it to this Bright New Future, and take seriously the ethical objections and possible negative societal consequences. The latter still worry me.

By Peter Wicks on Mar 22, 2013 at 10:43am

Perhaps I am too much of a politician but I think both Karen and Peter make excellent points.I start from the assumption that Congress would not pass a budget that overtly calls for,“life extension research”.At this point in time we have too few advocates to win a political struggle and our opponents,especially conservative churches and their followers will initiate a huge movement against us.It will make the bruhaha over abortion seem trivial.America,at its’ heart is a religious nation that embraces simple solutions to complex questions.I find it unbelievable that a significant percentage of the population opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest! Indefinite life extension is a direct attack on religion,an afterlife,and even God himself.
It is said that no one ever lost an election by underestimating the intelligence of the voters and that will be an accurate analysis when the topic is life extension.
I would contend that we rely,at least for now,on private contributions.People fear what they do not understand and I would advocate more “grass roots"organizing and education.We will never obtain 100% agreement but we need to alleviate people’s fears.
Even today,we would be unable to have a resolution calling for “A War on Aging"because it is perceived as a threat rather than a benefit to many people.
I am an optomist though and I think people can change.A good example of this is the"gay rights marriage “issue People are changing their minds on this and even though more progress needs to be made it is a good sign for our movement.
The idea of a benevolent God still permeates American society and we must proceed with caution but I believe we can do that.
We need to come together in a non-divisive manner and develop a strategy for a “War on Aging”.It will not be easy but it must be done.It is far preferable to “hang together than hang separately”.
                                                    Tom Mooney
                                                Exec. Dir.C.E.L.

By Tom Mooney on Mar 22, 2013 at 1:51pm

Mine is definitely a libertarian view. I do not support advocating for government funding for life extension, unless the funding is combined with larger reductions in military spending or other destructive government spending. I discuss this issue in two of my videos:

- Eliminating Death – Part 18 – Never Seek Government Funding -
- Libertarian Life-Extension Reforms - #6 – Medical Research Instead of Military Spending -

The danger of government funding of life extension is that it comes with many political strings attached, and may lead life-extension research itself to be shackled by politically influential opponents of technological progress.

The great weakness of politics as a strategy is that it requires consensus among elites and some connection to majority approval, as well as the overcoming of numerous bureaucratic hurdles and obsolete habits. Private action, as long as it is lawful, can simply be pursued irrespective of how many people agree. There is thus much more flexibility and potential for quick deployment with private approaches toward radical life extension.

Private investment into life-extension research can occur in many ways, both for-profit and non-profit, both direct and indirect. Seasteading is indeed a highly promising approach for experimenting with novel medicines and therapies that might take over a decade to be approved by the FDA in the United States or similar “screening” agencies in other countries.

At the same time, Tom Mooney is correct about the need for a grassroots education campaign. By the time radical life extension begins to become a reality, there needs to be a strong current of public opinion supporting it. Otherwise, the “bioconservatives” might just manage to obtain enough support for their agenda to thwart this vital progress.

By Gennady Stolyarov II on Mar 22, 2013 at 10:21pm

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