X-Message-Number: 252
From att!la.tis.com!fermat!r Wed Nov 28 00:51:56 1990
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Date: Tue, 27 Nov 90 13:19:38 PST
From: fermat! (Richard Schroeppel)
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Subject: A defense of my Cheap Freeze proposal

A defense of my Cheap Freeze proposal:

My proposal suggested HOME storage.  I deliberately want the
Cryonics organization decoupled from the ongoing financial aspects.
They SELL you the can and the dewar.  If possible, they don't sell
you the LN2, they tell you where to buy it.  If they fold, no big deal.

If an individual family decides to let gramps thaw, it's their
problem: they can either arrange for conventional burial (the
cryonics org. can supply phone numbers), or just neglect/abandon
the can.  If the can has a resale value > burial costs, abandonment
will be rare, although it undoubtedly will happen.  If the can is
labeled, and perhaps the authorities prenotified, the shock value
of a decomposed body is lessened -- no credible suspicion of foul
play, just "the power failed at the morgue - whew".

I am proposing individual storage, until there are enough freezees
that the public accepts freezing as a common alternative.  Only then,
can a group storage facility be opened.

Both cases that Brian Wowk referred to (Cryo Soc New York & Cryo Soc
California) were organizational failures, where the whole thing
failed at once.  The CSNY & CSC stories also have the news flavor
of "corrupt organization skipped town", always a big seller.
"Jones family thaws Grampa" isn't quite as catchy; the newspapers
aren't as anxious to criticize private individuals for dereliction
of duty.

ALCOR has been criticized for "commingling funds".  This may perhaps
be necessary for what they are doing, but it exposes a weakness as
well:  If their bank account is frozen on a phony tax charge, or if
they must deplete it fighting off lawsuits, the whole thing fails.
They must require up-front payment because of "grief decay", and a
big margin for future increased energy costs.

In the current tax climate (say, since 1935), it's fruitless to set
aside an identifiable lump of money in the expectation that the
interest will cover an ongoing expense.  Society NEEDS that money -
"You expect us to let the poor starve just so your trust fund can
keep a bunch of corpses frozen?"  The after-tax&inflation yield of a
corporate bond or savings account has been negative for many individual
years in the past three decades; I'll bet the average rate is negative.
I think a committed relative is usually a better bet.

In the current legal climate (say, since 1975), it's dangerous for
a controversial organization to have an identifiable lump of money:
It's a target for unjustified lawsuits:  "pain and suffering" and
"mental anguish" seem to be worth millions today, and any organization
without widespread positive public support is vulnerable.

I suggest that the time constant of grief decay will be a lot longer
if the can is at home:  It's not just one more bill every month;
there's no organization for you to hate as you write the check.

The time may be ripe for public acquiescence in, or even acceptance of,
cryonics, but we will not see widespread public adoption of cryonics
until the cost comes down, and that won't happen with up-front funding
of storage costs and expensive freezing procedures.

We are reminded of the "lessons of history".  I reply that cryonics is
a hopeful enterprise, flying in the face of the greatest lesson of
history, that death is final, and anything else is a pipe dream.
ALCOR has been in business for 15+ years, and we can evaluate what
they have accomplished (a lot), and estimate where they are headed.
It's time to get some alternatives activated.

Rich Schroeppel

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