X-Message-Number: 11361
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 1999 11:40:26 EST
Subject: cryonics pricing etc.

Jeff Davis (#11359) has some comments on cryonics pricing. 

(First, let me note that he asked Chrissie Loveday to hang in there,
apparently mistakenly identifying the Chrissie who recently posted as Chrissie
Loveday. This is understandable, since both are in Britain, but the bio does
not fit.)

Mr. Davis suggests strategies for reducing the cost of cryonics--mainly
through donations of labor. As he knows, this is already in place to a
considerable extent at all the organizations, and especially at Cryonics
Institute. One of the reasons our prices are lowest is that, to a larger
extent than others, we rely on volunteer labor.

I am glad to say that this situation shows clear signs of improving. CI
recruitment has been picking up noticeably, the last year being our best since
our initial year in 1976 (although of course still tiny compared to what it
ought to be based on need and logic). Several of our recent members either
have already begun to pitch in, or give indications of doing so.

Those willing to contribute labor still constitute only a small minority of
members, in all organizations. Most people, however willing, are hard pressed
to keep up with their commitments. Some think they have done enough by joining
and executing contracts, not realizing or not caring that they are being
subsidized by those who donate work and those who contribute money (including
bequests additional to the suspension fee). 

The solution is not to excoriate, or discourage from joining, those who are
willing only to make the minimal commitment; the solution is to encourage more
contributions by a variety of methods, and to focus on those (such as retired
people) who do have significant amounts of discretionary time. Also people who
are already in lines of work related to services we need. We are doing these
things, and probing ways to do it better. 

One of our recent initiatives, readers may recall, was to institute a second
membership route, Option Two, with no membership fee and mandatory dues of
only $120/year or $35 quarterly, along with a higher minimum suspension fee
($35,000 whole body, as opposed to $28,000 for Option One). This has not
produced spectacular results by any means, but probably enough (without
cannibalizing Option One) to justify continuing its availability. 

There is also the question of alternative suspension methods, which may lead
either to lower or higher prices. At CI we plan to offer a full range of
options, at different prices, so we are pursuing three main lines of
development. One is to refine and improve our current methods, for better
results at the same price. Another is to investigate potentially cheaper
methods, such as freeze-drying, if this should ever prove to yield acceptably
low structural damage. The third, of course, is to utilize advanced methods,
such as those being developed at 21CM, when these become available, either by
licensing or some combination of licensing and our own research. 

As to self-reliance in energy production and liquid nitrogen generation, these
are still only distant dreams, but not forgotten. Our radar looks both nearby
and over the horizon.

We always welcome input, especially from members, and most especially if the
input includes an offer to do the work. 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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