1. Longer life expectancy creates more problems than benefits. Discuss.

Stand: Longer life expectancy creates more problems than benefits, unless we find a way to effectively redistribute our resources and find alternative sustainable energy resources.

Argument 1:
More people living in retirement can potentially be taxing on the economy

Elaboration: Economic output will only be increased if people spend the extended years of their lives mostly working. If a growing fraction of the workforce lives longer and longer in retirement, the economy will suffer instead.

Example: Japan, a country where a significant portion of its ageing population is in retirement, would have its economy further threatened if life expectancy increases and the fraction of its retired workforce continues to grow.

Argument 2:
Aggravating already unsustainable consumption of natural resources

Elaboration: In a world where we are already finding it hard to consume Earth’s resources in a sustainable way, a longer life expectancy would place greater stress on the Earth’s natural resources given an inevitable rise in global population. This problem will be exacerbated by the widening income gap, where wealthier families will further deprive the poor from resources such as food and shelter.

Example: Supplying the world with energy is already a challenge that has led to unsustainable usage of natural gases, oil and coal. An increase in the global population would accelerate the depletion of our limited natural energy resources.

(Counter) Argument 3:
More value for society created per individual via their work

Elaboration: With a longer lifespan, a single individual can accumulate greater knowledge throughout his life, develop greater expertise, and hence be able to create greater value for society.

Example: In Africa, the high child mortality rate means that less children make it into adulthood, the optimum phase of an individual’s life to create the most economic output for society.

Link: Longer life expectancy creates more valuable work for society, which is a clear benefit.

(Counter) Argument 4:
More time to learn, understand, experience and appreciate the vast world – achieve greater satisfaction and meaning in life.

Elaboration: More time to spend with family and friends, opportunities to travel and see more of the world. Based on the premise that life derives its meaning from its diverse experiences and memories, life would become more meaningful for those who can live longer.

Example: A man passionate about travel would have more time to accumulate the wealth necessary for him to truly travel around the world and indulge in its experiences.

Link: A longer life expectancy can empower one to attain greater satisfaction and hence greater meaning in life.

 

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3 Comments

  • Would the argument that extending the life expectancy would not be equating to improving the quality of lives be valid? Most elderly people have illnesses that may cause their daily lives to be affected and hence they may be bed ridden or have to constantly check in and out of the hospital. This may cause them to live in an unenjoyable state and sometimes families also send them to nursing homes, making them feel isolated and abandoned. I would appreciate it if you reply, thanks!

    • Christine Chen

      nope it is not necessary true. extending life expectancy just means that we are living longer, but it does not necessary touch on the quality of lives. We could be living longer but we are on medication for the last 20-30 years of our lives. Hope this clarifies.

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