X-Message-Number: 13687
Date: Sun, 07 May 2000 02:32:09 PST
Subject: Longer life is good economics
From: Edgar W Swank <>

Show the following article to people who mistakenly think that a
longer lifespan damages the economy. Imagine how much of an
econimic benefit if lifespans were indefinite!

Edgar W. Swank   <>
President - American Cryonics Society


 Two University of Chicago economists have calculated the economic
 value of the increase in life expectancy in the U.S. over the
 past several decades.

 Using a mathematical model to calculate the change in the value
 of life caused by reductions in mortality for various age groups,
 they estimate that:

    o   Improvements in life expectancy alone -- ignoring the
        benefits of improved quality of life associated with
        decreased morbidity -- added about $2.8 trillion per year
         (in 1992 dollars) to national wealth between 1970 and

    o   About $1.5 trillion of the overall $2.8 trillion annual
        increase was due to the reduction in mortality from heart
        disease -- an area in which medical advances in both
        prevention and acute care have been significant.

    o   For purposes of comparison, America's gross domestic
        product in 1980 -- the midpoint of the period -- was about
        $4.6 trillion in 1992 dollars.

 The growth in expenditures for medical research and improved
 health care that led to increased longevity have been small
 relative to the increases in the value of life --on the order of
 15 percent. Furthermore, the returns to improvements in health
 escalate as the population gets larger, income increases, the
 average health of the population improves and the population gets
 closer to the predictable age of the onset of disease.

 Indeed, they estimate the growth and aging of the population will
 by themselves raise the economic return to improvements in the
 treatment of many diseases by almost 50 percent between 1990 and
 2030.  Meanwhile, likely increases in real incomes and life
 expectancy will add at least that much again to the gains.

 Source: Kevin M. Murphy and Robert Topel (University of Chicago),
 "Medical Research: What's It Worth?" Milken Institute Review,
 First Quarter 2000, Milken Institute, 1250 4th Street, Santa
 Monica, Calif. 90401,  (310) 998-2600.

 For text http://www.milken-inst.org/poe.cfm?point=mod35

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