Re: Spreading Transhumanism [was: Present dangers to transhumanism]

Mike Linksvayer (
Sun, 05 Sep 1999 01:10:10 -0700

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> Interestingly enough, I think one of my comments, perhaps
> on the aging piece, drew a query from someone in Japan
> asking "who are you?". I gave them a short bio, and
> asked some questions, but the reply indicated that they
> could not reply in English.

I read an article recently which spurred me to think that Japan "could be, should be" a hotbed of longevity research: "IN ECLIPSE -- A special report.; Empty Isles Are Signs Japan's Sun Might Dim" from the August 1, 1999 New York Times. Unfortunately this article doesn't seem to be available online for free anymore.

The gist of the article was that Japan is aging very quickly and will experience sharp declines in population during the next century. The result being that Japan's relative importance in the world will decline. The existence of once bustling islands that now have only a few elderly residents (that the government nevertheless spends huge sums on to ensure ongoing regular ferry service and all modern conveniences as a matter of honor and obligation) was used to introduce this point.

The article considered three things the Japanese could do to prevent this loss of stature and cope with the problems of a shrinking workfoce supporting a growing elderly population:

So, two further options present themselves and support my contention that Japan "could be, should be" a hotbed of longevity research:

These approaches would solve the problem of having a shrinking workforce to support a growing pool of retirees. However, (don't tell the Japanese) it may not do much to address the "problem" of declining international importance, as life extension technologies should benefit people everywhere. However, (do tell the Japanese) if they take the lead in developing these technologies, Japanese companies will profit tremendously and Japan will have no worries about declining economic importance for a long time to come.

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