‘We are all going to live longer, so why not invest in it?’ seems to be the premise of Jim Mellon and Al Chalabi’s new book, Juvenescence – Investing in the Age of Longevity. Mellon and Chalabi forecast that within the next 20 years, the average life expectancy in the developed world will rise to between 110 and 120.
As Mellon explains: ‘The increase in life expectancy is due to environmental factors, the rise of universal medical treatment, antibiotics, improved diet. The next step [in science] is going to change the fundamental biology of the human being, by genetic editing, stem cells, pharmaceutical intervention, as well as tissue regeneration.’
Hooray, you might say, but it raises the ethical question: Do we want to live longer? After all, by living longer in the UK, the older generation would be putting more strain on the already over-stretched National Health Service (though who knows – it might not exist in 20 years’ time) and the UK state pension.