Attitudes to life extension via genetic engineering

Patrick O'Neil patrick at corona
Wed Mar 29 00:30:39 EST 1995

On 28 Mar 1995, Joseph Norton wrote:

> sort of like now, huh?  i personally think it rather naive to think that 
> the myth of scarcity is anything but a myth.
> i think that there is certainly enough for everyone (at least everyone 
> extant now) if we could wrest most of it away from the 'richest' 1 percent 
> or so.

The rich, though I certainly don't mind wresting things from them >;) are 
a rather insignificant number of the population...and they certainly 
don't eat all that much more than anyone else.  Some of them DO take it 
upon themselves to consume endangered species and scarce resources simply 
because they think that having money puts them above and beyond the rules 
and mores of the "common" people.  In any case, their numbers and their 
consumption, though often repugnant in it excess, is a drop in the bucket 
in relation to the materials used/consumed by the MUCH more numerous 
middle classes and poor.  Food, arable land, and fresh water are all 
limited resources.  For the most part, because their numbers ARE so 
great, it is the expanding population of poor who are hardest on the 
environment and resources.  They are also the ones to be left out in any 
real medical/molecular biological drive to increase natural 
lifespan...and they will be the humongous hordes who would rebel against 
such inequity, while the rich would be the first to benefit from life 
extension (again, their idea that money makes them morally qualified to 
have such benefits even though there are consequences...).

> > Look at the information economy that exists now, and imagine what the world
> > will be like when the material economy takes the same form.
> what do you mean, exactly?

I have recently been considering the whole internet-information
"superhighway" idea and have decided that it is mostly crappola.  For a
one-time nominal fee I can go to a public library, get a card, and check
out books by the boatload.  On the internet on the other hand, in order to
get access to "all that information" one has to dole out a minimum fee of
$8 to $10 a month (Compuserve or equivalent), just for the most basic
access.  To TRULY get information (using CARL or ANY other method)
requires MORE money for EACH particular episode - a particular boon for
credit card companies.  Overall, the cost of getting any information that
is of the same caliber or extent as that one can get at a normal, decent,
library costs about 100x as much.  What a bargain...NOT.
  I have access now only because my university provides me with access as
a matter of course - not free because the cost of service is passed on to
all the students, whether they use the net or not, in the form of tuition
and fee hikes and again, if I want an article I have to cough up about $6
to $10 for a fax or mail delivery (CARL).  The information superhighway
and the "information economy/society" is strictly for those with the money
to afford computers, software, and access fees.  This ain't the poor and
it isn't even much of the middle class - my parents are in this latter
catagory and they cannot afford access services as provided by Compuserve,
AOL, Prodigy, etc.  My father only has a computer because eight of his
children all pooled scarce monetary resources to buy him one.  Oh no, the
info society is itself somewhat elitist and disenfranchising.  


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