Author: Robert Fogel
Predicting the lifespan of humans in the future is an art, not a science, so it is not difficult to see that in many institutions, when predicting the lifespan of humans in the 21st century, their numbers are different.
Generally speaking, some government agencies, such as the Census Department of the Social Security Department of the United States, and other OECD agencies are very conservative. The United States agency budgeted that the predicted life expectancy of humans between 2000 and 2080 will increase by 0.86 years every 10 years, which includes the life expectancy of men and women.
In addition, they also said that this 10-year growth rate between 2040 and 2080 is only half of the growth rate between 2000 and 2040. Why is it so pessimistic? Why do they think that the increase in life expectancy in the first 80 years of the 21st century is only a quarter of the increase in the first 80 years of the 20th century? I think there are a series of reasons for this pessimistic forecast.
One reason is statistical. In the 20th century, with the development of time, the growth rate of human life expectancy slowed down. Between 1900 and 2000, human life expectancy increased by 26.6 years, of which 72% It was achieved in the first half of this century, and only 29% in the second half, so people seem to have reason to think that this slowdown in growth will be the same later.
Another reason is the analysis of the causes of human death. The decline in mortality between 1900 and 2000 was caused by the reduction of infectious diseases, such as typhoid fever and chickenpox. In the second half of the 20th century, this The decline in mortality is mainly achieved by overcoming some long-term diseases that threaten the lifespan of middle-aged and elderly people, such as coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, diabetes, respiratory diseases other than tuberculosis, and a biological aspect of human evolution. It is supported by academic reasons, because human structure has some congenital defects, such as hearing loss, hemorrhoids, etc. These are physical obstacles or diseases that slowly appear in the body as humans get older.
Then the human body can tolerate the existence of these errors, because after the human beings have passed the reproductive period, they cannot have the choice to survive the fittest. If they are sick and die when they are young, then they have no chance to produce the next generation, so they Was chosen. On the other hand, if there are some physical diseases and disabilities after the childbearing age, he can continue to survive, so the ironic point is that the disappearance of this infectious disease allows these vulnerable humans to continue to survive. In the future, many senile diseases will exist beyond the childbearing age.
I now want to talk about some of the more optimistic predictions of mankind. I think the expected increase in human life span in our century should be based on human health and physiological structure. The data in practice also shows that there is a new theory, a theory of technological physiological evolution, which considers There is a mutual relationship between the rapid development of technology and the substantial changes in human physiology.
The first discovery is that people who reached 65 years of age in the early 20th century are equivalent to survivors who survived childhood diseases in the 1830s. Although they escaped these childhood diseases, their bodies The condition is not good, and the physical condition of people of different ages is worse. Many of them are infected with some chronic long-term illnesses.
When those people grew up to be able to participate in the American Civil War and the Federal Army, a quarter of them were rejected due to chronic diseases. One-sixth of them have severe disabilities when they were teenagers, and by the time they were nearly forty years old, half of them had this disease, and by the age of 50, some of them could have They live in their twenties, but they have medical conditions, such as disabilities. My peers were born in the 1920s and their health is much worse.
Another finding is that the decline in the prevalence of chronic diseases and the decline in mortality occur simultaneously. Although my peers of this generation have not experienced the so-called elimination process of the survival of the fittest, they actually have a longer time to contract chronic diseases. It’s late, and the chances are even lower, which means that the time for them to contract chronic diseases has been delayed by ten years. We still have one-half of our peers who have no disease at the age of 60, and even if they contract a disease, they can use new treatment interventions. These diseases will also be eliminated, and there will be improvements in public health, such as improved water quality, or milk quality, and effective childhood vaccinations. This was a very important reason that contributed to the avoidance of chronic diseases before 1949. For example, diseases that caused the elderly to become deaf, blind or have difficulty walking can be alleviated. The health of the elderly has been improved due to this reason.
The fourth practical discovery has some improvements in human physiology. Adults are now taller and heavier than in the past, and they have stronger electrical signal transmission in their spine, and they appear more than malnourished people. Strong, and they have less unnecessary belly fat than in the past.
These findings show that there is indeed something technological and physiological evolution. This means that there is indeed a mutual relationship between technological development and the improvement of human physiology. This is a kind of human evolution, a kind of biological, but it is not genotyped, it is rapid and culturally transmitted, but not Very stable.
This process is going on in both rich and developing countries. Unlike the theory of genetic evolution, it is adapted to all living things on the earth. In all historical periods, the technological evolution I said was only used in the past 300 years. The history of mankind, especially the last century.
Regarding the increase in human life expectancy, since the middle of the 19th century, we have seen the highest value of life expectancy. This means that the highest human life expectancy occurs in any population during the same period. We can see that there is more evidence of this highest life expectancy. The gap between life expectancy and actual life is our evidence.
By 2010, the expected value of our human life expectancy will increase by 24 years, which is 24 years longer than the current century. This is more than twice the forecast by government departments. Generally speaking, people can exceed 100 years old, which suggests This is a very serious question. Regarding retirement and health care, if we have so many elderly people, can our society bear such a burden? They have already withdrawn from the labor force. Can 30% of the remaining 30% of the labor force have sufficient production efficiency to support the needs of the entire society? Can this increase in productivity achieve this?
Please take a look at the first data analysis. We can see that the letters in the first formula represent per capita income, and "W" represents per capita output. The second formula also has the same variables, that is, per capita income. The relationship between per capita productivity and labor force participation rate. Table 1 shows that the productivity of the labor force is increasing at a rate of 2% per year, so although the labor force will be reduced by half, even in the unlikely case, the productivity increase is only 1%, and the proportion of the labor force is very high. Small, we see that per capita income growth is still 35% more than today, so if we think that aging causes unsustainable results, it is impossible. Thank you!
Related links: Robert Fogel, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1993, was born in New York in 1926, and has taught at the University of Chicago since 1981, serving as a professor of economics at the Walgreens Institute for Distinguished Service and the Center for Population Economics Research Director, faculty member of the Department of Economics and member of the Social Thought Committee.
Professor Fogel's research fields are: economic interpretation of mortality in North America, long-term changes in nutrition, labor welfare, and labor productivity, long-term observation of US economic growth, and analysis of different family behavior data between two generations.
Through the use of economic theory and quantitative methods to explain economic development and institutional changes, which refreshed the study of economic history, he won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1993.
The founder of the new economy studies economics in a quantitative way and in reverse thinking. He created this new research method, and he uses this new research method to study many important economic phenomena. Reverse thinking: For example, for American railways, he first assumed that railroads had never been invented in the world, and then insisted on developing other transportation methods such as roads and seas. After a lot of calculations, he concluded that even if there were no railways, the United States was in that period. The development is just as fast.
Since the late 1980s, his research has focused on explaining the long-term decline in the mortality rate of the US population and the changing pattern of population aging. The book "The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death 1700-2100: Europe, America, and the Third World" published in 2002 summarizes the recent findings of this research. Other current researches include research on the rapid economic development of Asia, an assessment of the twentieth century debate on American slavery, and historical work that summarizes the economic laws of the twentieth century. (Source: cctv)