Monday, April 23, 2007

How old is old?

I heard a very interesting podcast this week. It was part of the "Motley Fool Profiles" series (unfortunately the series is no longer being aired). On this podcast, Dave Gardner intervewed Ken Dychtwald, author of the book The Power Years: A User's Guide to the Rest of Your Life.

Some very interesting facts:
  • Two thirds of all the people over 65 that ever lived are alive today. Put it another way: for every person in the history of mankind that died after the age of 65, there are two people over 65 alive today.
  • Life expectancy at birth increases by 2.5 years every decade. This means that chances are that my younger son will live 8 years longer than me.
  • Pensions were introduced in 1899 by Bismarck, and they benefited "old people", i.e. those older than 65. At that time, life expectancy at birth was 47 years. Today it is 77.8.
  • Today, if you live to the age of 65, you still have, on average, 18.7 years to live (US figures).
  • At the time of Bismarck's reform, a very small percentage of people received pensions. To maintain the same percentage today, retirement age should be 95!
  • The vast majority of over-65 people say that they do not want to retire. They want to keep active, although probably part-time.
What does all this mean? There are many consequences that we can foresee, and many more that will only become clear much later. Some of mine:
  • An obvious one: Pensions need to be reformed. If we now need to save (contribute to a pension scheme) for 30 years, and enjoy the fruits for 18.7 years, then, at the current rates, numbers do not add up. If, in 30 years time, the life expectancy at the age of 65 becomes 26.2, then the trouble is greater still.
  • Nobody should count too much on state pensions. We all should be saving ourselves.
  • Doctors can make us live longer, but we need prepare ourselves for living those 10 or 15 extra years. In what shape will our bodies be? What do we need to do to have our minds ready for 15 more years? By the way, I read once that people that play chess or bridge have two thirds less probability of developing Alzheimer's disease.
  • Our economies need to find ways to employ older people, even if it is part time.
  • There is a huge and exploiting market selling to people over 65. Expect them to be active, have some labor income and substantial investment income.
I gave some thought to the 2.5 extra years every decade. After doing some research, I found that it is not entirely true: life expectancy increased in 20 years in the first half of the 20th century, and in roughly 1.8 years every decade thereafter. Adding those first 20 years was fairly easy. All you had to do is improve nutrition, improve hygiene, reduce child mortality, invent antibiotics and develop vaccines. I don't mean that those changes and inventions were easy, only that they were few "heavy rocks" that had to be removed. Going from 67 to 77 was way much more difficult. To add those 10 years we had to develop cures and therapies for a very large variety of diseases (ulcer, many types of heart disease, many forms of cancer, many now-disappeared diseases, etc), and to remove some other non-medical heavy rocks (traffic accidents, wars).

Adding an extra 10 years will be much more difficult, probably an order of magnitude more. Surely there must be a point where it is just physically impossible to improve life expectancy. The human body is incredibly complex, and there comes an age where everything starts to fail: the bones, the muscles, the digestive system, the nervous system. And there must be some physical limit to how long people can live.

This reminds me of Moore's law in semiconductors. Moore's law says that the power of microprocessors doubles every 18 months. Moore's law has applied for decades, and for decades people have predicting its demise: there must be a point where the laws of physics do not allow to improve the processor power. And the complexity of doubling the speed is ever greater, mainly because there are so many things to improve, so many rocks to remove to go from one level to the next. As it turned out, our ingenuity has so far been able to match the ever-increasing number and complexity of these problems.

In medicine as in semiconductors, the task of fighting disease is ever more complex. I bet on our ingenuity to keeping up to the challenge. I propose an analog to Moore's law, that says that life expectancy will keep increasing by 1.8 years every decade, for centuries to come.

21 comments:

Unknown said...

ugg uk
oakley sunglasses canada
juicy couture outlet
air jordan 13
evening dresses
indianapolis colts jerseys
ugg boots
new orleans saints jerseys
nike running shoes
chicago blackhawks jersey
nike air max uk
nike trainers
denver broncos jerseys
true religion jeans
mizuno running
tory burch outlet
ysl outlet
hermes birkin
prada shoes
hermes belt
hermes outlet
michael kors outlet
arizona cardinals jerseys
michael kors uk
oakley sunglasses
moncler coats
los angeles clippers jerseys
mulberry outlet
real madrid jersey
seattle seahawks jerseys
gucci shoes
michael kors uk
bottega veneta outlet
vans shoes
atlanta falcons jersey
zhuweiming0623

Lili Wang said...

20150728wanglili
tory burch outlet
burberry handbags
concord 11
michael kors
louis vuitton handbags
cheap oakley sunglasses
mont blanc mountain
coach factory outlet
louis vuitton outlet
white timberland boots
abercrombie and fitch outlet
coach outlet store online
louis vuitton
cheap beats by dre
coach outlet
louis vuitton purses
cheap oakleys
louis vuitton outlet
ghd flat iron
www.louisvuitton.com
coach factory outlet
fitflop
oakley glasses
louis vuitton
ray ban sunglass
chanel no 5
fitflops outlet
louis vuitton
jordan 11 columbia
gucci bags
jeremy scott adidas

oakleyses said...

michael kors outlet online, christian louboutin uk, tory burch outlet, coach outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet online, oakley sunglasses, jordan shoes, oakley sunglasses, replica watches, longchamp outlet, gucci handbags, christian louboutin shoes, chanel handbags, michael kors outlet, prada handbags, kate spade, polo outlet, tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet, tiffany and co, true religion outlet, coach purses, longchamp outlet, nike free, michael kors outlet online, christian louboutin outlet, kate spade outlet, burberry outlet, christian louboutin, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, burberry handbags, coach outlet, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, true religion outlet, oakley sunglasses wholesale, prada outlet, michael kors outlet store, longchamp outlet, coach outlet store online, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, nike air max

oakleyses said...

nike huaraches, north face, abercrombie and fitch uk, burberry pas cher, nike air max, polo lacoste, guess pas cher, louboutin pas cher, true religion jeans, nike tn, michael kors pas cher, nike air max uk, hollister uk, nike roshe, michael kors, nike blazer pas cher, nike air force, oakley pas cher, new balance, ray ban pas cher, converse pas cher, longchamp pas cher, lululemon canada, sac hermes, jordan pas cher, ralph lauren uk, timberland pas cher, nike trainers uk, michael kors outlet, hogan outlet, north face uk, nike free run, nike air max uk, sac vanessa bruno, mulberry uk, nike roshe run uk, hollister pas cher, longchamp uk, nike free uk, vans pas cher, air max, ray ban uk, polo ralph lauren, sac longchamp pas cher

oakleyses said...

soccer shoes, vans, ghd hair, reebok outlet, abercrombie and fitch, giuseppe zanotti outlet, north face outlet, hollister clothing, bottega veneta, wedding dresses, baseball bats, mont blanc pens, mcm handbags, oakley, new balance shoes, nike air max, insanity workout, beats by dre, ralph lauren, babyliss, lululemon, nike roshe run, timberland boots, p90x workout, hollister, soccer jerseys, hollister, celine handbags, vans outlet, nfl jerseys, louboutin, chi flat iron, iphone 6 cases, herve leger, asics running shoes, valentino shoes, nike air max, converse, jimmy choo outlet, instyler, ferragamo shoes, north face outlet, hermes belt, mac cosmetics

oakleyses said...

uggs on sale, uggs outlet, ugg, louis vuitton, converse outlet, swarovski crystal, links of london, ugg uk, ray ban, lancel, karen millen uk, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton, juicy couture outlet, marc jacobs, louis vuitton outlet, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, supra shoes, gucci, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton, wedding dresses, pandora charms, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, ugg boots, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, uggs outlet, swarovski, pandora uk, ugg pas cher, ugg boots, hollister, thomas sabo, toms shoes, doke gabbana, coach outlet, montre pas cher, replica watches

John said...

ugg boots
mcm handbags
canada goose outlet
toms shoes
nike roshe runs
true religion jeans
louis vuitton
kate spade uk
moncler outlet
football shoes
soccer shoes
pandora bracelets
nike store uk
celine handbags
louboutin
fake oakleys
ray bans
juicy couture
nike roshe run women
moncler jackets
louboutin
kevin durant shoes
timberland boots uk
cheap ray ban sunglasses
nike tn
true religion outlet
p90x workouts
coach outlet
adidas superstars
canada goose uk
ray-ban sunglasses
longchamp pas cher
2015919yuanyuan

Wenhao Guo said...

ddd0928oakley sunglasses cheap, http://www.oakley.in.net/
ray ban sunglasses sale, http://www.raybansunglass.us.com/
coach outlet store, http://www.coachoutletstores.com.co/
nba jerseys wholesale, http://www.nbajerseys.us.com/
indianapolis colts, http://www.indianapoliscoltsjersey.us/
christian louboutin shoes, http://www.christianlouboutinonline.us.com/
cheap oakley sunglasses, http://www.oakleysunglasseswholesale.in.net/
prada outlet, http://www.pradashoes.us/
air jordan shoes, http://www.airjordan13s.com/
mulberry outlet online, http://www.mulberryoutlet.com.co/
cheap ugg boots, http://www.cheapuggboots.me.uk/
yoga pants,lululemon,lululemon outlet,lululemon athletica,lululemon addict,lulu lemon,lulu.com,lululemon.com
cheap oakley sunglasses, http://www.oakleysunglassesdiscount.us.com/
swarovski outlet, http://www.swarovski-outlet.co.uk/
cheap mlb jerseys, http://www.cheapmlbjerseys.us.com/
polo ralph lauren outlet, http://www.poloralphlauren.us.org/
arizona cardinals, http://www.arizonacardinalsjersey.us/
soccer jerseys,soccer jerseys wholesale,soccer jerseys cheap,soccer jerseys for sale,cheap soccer jersey,usa soccer jersey,football jerseys
lacoste polo, http://www.lacostepoloshirts.cc/
hollister,hollister canada,abercrombie and fitch,abercrombie,abercrombie fitch,abercrombie kids,a&f

Jianbin Jianbin said...

jianbin1024
cheap oakley sunglasses
ralph lauren polo shirts
louis vuitton
tiffany jewellery
north face jackets
north face jackets
ugg outlet
coach outlet,coach outlet online,coach outlet store
mulberry,mulberry handbags,mulberry outlet,mulberry bags,mulberry uk
oakland raiders
michael kors outlet store
chanel handbags
michael kors handbags,michael kors outlet,michael kors outlet online,michael kors,kors outlet,michael kors outlet online sale,michael kors handbags clearance,michael kors purses,michaelkors.com,michael kors bags,michael kors shoes,michaelkors,cheap michael kors
oakley outlet
ralph lauren,ralph lauren uk,ralph lauren outlet,ralph lauren outlet online,polo ralph lauren outlet,ralph lauren polo
prada handbags
barbour uk
ed hardy outlet
basketball shoes
tiffany jewelry
tods shoes,tods shoes sale,tods sale,tods outlet online,tods outlet store,tods factory outlet
prada outlet
chicago blackhawks
swarovski outlet
air jordan shoes
nike huarache
winter coats outlet

Jianbin Jianbin said...

jianbin1024
cheap oakley sunglasses
ralph lauren polo shirts
louis vuitton
tiffany jewellery
north face jackets
north face jackets
ugg outlet
coach outlet,coach outlet online,coach outlet store
mulberry,mulberry handbags,mulberry outlet,mulberry bags,mulberry uk
oakland raiders
michael kors outlet store
chanel handbags
michael kors handbags,michael kors outlet,michael kors outlet online,michael kors,kors outlet,michael kors outlet online sale,michael kors handbags clearance,michael kors purses,michaelkors.com,michael kors bags,michael kors shoes,michaelkors,cheap michael kors
oakley outlet
ralph lauren,ralph lauren uk,ralph lauren outlet,ralph lauren outlet online,polo ralph lauren outlet,ralph lauren polo
prada handbags
barbour uk
ed hardy outlet
basketball shoes
tiffany jewelry
tods shoes,tods shoes sale,tods sale,tods outlet online,tods outlet store,tods factory outlet
prada outlet
chicago blackhawks
swarovski outlet
air jordan shoes
nike huarache
winter coats outlet

chenlina said...

chenlina20151217
hollister co,hollister jeans,hollister.com,hollister ca
canada goose jackets
canada goose
replica rolex watches
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet online
hollister
christian louboutin outlet
abercrombie and fitch new york
toms shoes
true religion jeans outlet
nike huarache shoes
louis vuitton handbags
coach factory outlet
prada handbags
michael kors outlet clearance
michael kors outlet online
ray ban sunglasses outlet
michael kors bag
michael kors uk
abercrombie and fitch
oakley sunglasses
air max uk
coach outlet
uggs outlet
jordan concords
michael kors outlet online
michael kors handbags
marc jacobs handbags
coach factory outlet
michaek kors handbags
michael kors outlet
coach factory outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
ed hardy clothing
air max 90
cheap air jordans
uggs outlet
cheap toms
coach outlet store online
as

chenlina said...

chenlina20151217
jordan concords
ray ban sunglasses
adidas uk
replica watches
the north face outlet
michaek kors outlet
coach factory outlet
kids lebron shoes
louis vuitton outlet
cheap uggs
kevin durant basketball shoes
ugg boots
cheap uggs
oakley sunglasses cheap
coach outlet
canada goose outlet
canada goose jackets
celine handbags
ralph lauren outlet
fitflops sale clearance
michael kors outlet
coach factory outlet online
coach outlet online
lebron shoes
canada goose jackets
mont blanc legend
cheap jordan shoes
michael kors outlet
lebron 11
kobe 9
coach outlet
louis vuitton handbags
cheap oakley sunglasses
michael kors outlet online
cheap air max
jordan 11
michael kors handbags
adidas superstars
uggs outlet
jordan retro
as

方松腾 said...

soccer jerseys,cheap soccer jerseys,cheap soccer jerseys for sale,soccer jersey,usa soccer jersey,football jerseys
lebron 12
tiffany and co
ralph lauren polo
oakley outlet online
coach outlet online
basketball shoes
snow boots outlet
air jordan 13 free shipping
tory burch outlet
ugg boots
chanel handbags
uggs outlet
michael kors usa
canada goose sale
replica watches
michael kors uk outlet
canada goose outlet
futbol baratas
michael kors uk outlet

方松腾 said...

soccer jerseys,cheap soccer jerseys,cheap soccer jerseys for sale,soccer jersey,usa soccer jersey,football jerseys
lebron 12
tiffany and co
ralph lauren polo
oakley outlet online
coach outlet online
basketball shoes
snow boots outlet
air jordan 13 free shipping
tory burch outlet
ugg boots
chanel handbags
uggs outlet
michael kors usa
canada goose sale
replica watches
michael kors uk outlet
canada goose outlet
futbol baratas
michael kors uk outlet

柯云 said...

2016-01-30keyun
christian louboutin shoes
concord 11
kevin durant shoes
adidas superstar shoes
ed hardy outlet
toms outlet
gucci handbgs
coach outlet store online
coach factory outlet
abercrombie outlet
fitflop clearance
ugg outlet online
michael kors outlet
coach outlet
louis vuitton bags
michael kors outlet
christian louboutin outlet
mihchael kors outlet online sale
marc jacobs outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
canada goose outlet online
louis vuitton outlet
north face
ray-ban sunglasses
ebron james shoes 13
cheap rolex watches
gucci bags
ray ban sunglasses
michael kors outlet
uggs for women
kobe shoes
christian louboutin shoes
air max 95
michael kors bags
kobe 10
coach factory outlet
giuseppe zanotti outlet
michael kors outlet
the north face jackets
nike roshe run mens

chenlina said...

chenlina20160301
louis vuitton
oakley sunglasses cheap
louis vuitton
true religion jeans outlet
cheap oakleys
cheap toms
michael kors outlet online
ugg outlet
coach outlet
christian louboutin shoes
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton outlet
ralph lauren outlet
ugg boots
louis vuitton handbags
cheap jerseys
christian louboutin shoes
michael kors outlet
toms outlet
swarovski outlet
ray ban sunglasses outlet
cheap uggs
cheap jordan shoes
ralph lauren outlet
michael kors outlet online
uggs outlet
pandora outlet
giuseppe zanotti
ray ban sunglasses
coach factory outlet
michael kors handbags
polo ralph lauren
polo ralph lauren outlet
nike trainers uk
hollister outlet
coach outlet online
abercrombie and fitch
adidas originals
air max 90
as

Zheng junxai5 said...

zhengjx20160720
nike roshe run
coach outlet
adidas yeezy
kobe shoes 11
louis vuitton bags
red bottom shoes
adidas running shoes
cheap jordan shoes
coach factory outlet
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors handbags
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet
adidas outlet store
retro 11
nike outlet
instyler
adidas yeezy
coach outlet online
ray bans
coach factory outlet online
hermes birkin handbags
insanity workout
adidas wings
toms shoes
air jordan shoes
nike trainers women
burberry handbags
ralph lauren outlet
oakley sunglasses wholesale
nike roshe one
cheap rolex watches
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors outlet clearance
cheap ray ban sunglasses
nike store
cheap jerseys
adidas factory outlet
tiffany and co
ray ban outlet

Zheng junxai5 said...


zhengjx20160818
hollister jeans
canada goose outlet
true religion outlet online
canada goose outlet
coach outlet clearance
adidas factory outlet
moncler coats
ugg boot uk
jordan retro 13
mbt shoes
coach factory outlet
coach outlet
nike tn pas cher
toms wedges
true religion jeans
mont blanc pens outlet
tommy hilfiger outlet
pandora charms
coach outlet store online
rolex watches
mlb jerseys
michael kors outlet clearance
coach outlet online
adidas superstar trainers
ray ban outlet
ugg slippers
coach outlet
louis vuitton purses
michael kors outlet online
jordan 3s
nike roshe run
air jordan shoes
cheap jerseys
retro 11
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton purses
uggs on sale
kobe 11 shoes
louboutin shoes
concords 11

Unknown said...

the north face jacket
asics
tory burch shoes
coach outlet
michael kors handbags
louis vuitton handbags
tiffany and co jewelry
air max 90
ugg boots
louis vuitton pas cher
chanyuan10.20

花无缺 said...

20170325 junda
louis vuitton outlet
ecco shoes
true religion jeans
hermes belts
coach handbags
polo ralph lauren
louis vuitton outlet store
polo outlet store
fitflops sale clearance
puma outlet

chenmeinv0 said...

polo ralph lauren outlet
stan smith
cheap jordans
michael kors outlet
longchamp handbags
lebron 12 shoes
salomon boots
mont blanc ballpoint pen
adidas yeezy boost 350 v2
ray ban outlet
hzx20170426