Longevity dividend

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The Longevity Dividend is the assumption that investments in healthy longevity, wisely made, will result in increasing numbers of people:

  • Not becoming elderly and frail
  • Not falling victim to diseases of aging (including diseases like cancer and heart diseases, whose likelihood and severity increases with aging)
  • Not consuming large amounts of health service costs, due to periods of extended ill-health
  • Remaining active, productive members of the workforce, full of vigour and zest.

As such, short-term investments will result in a sizeable financial and social "dividend" through increased health and delayed aging.

History of the concept

The concept was introduced in a 2006 article in The Scientist, "In pursuit of the Longevity Dividend" by S. Jay Olshansky, Daniel Perry, Richard A. Miller, and Robert N. Butler.

Early commentaries on the concept included a series published by Fight Aging:

July 2007 commentary on the Longevity Dividend by Anders Sandberg is available here.

Terminology

The terminology "Longevity Dividend" reflects the similar thinking of the "Peace Dividend".

A Milken Institute publication describes the longevity dividend as the third of a series of three demographic dividends:

Demographers define the first demographic dividend as the economic growth that derives from lower fertility and mortality rates, with the labor force growing more quickly than the younger, dependent population. A second dividend is generated as the growth of the working population slows but mature workers fuel the economy by accumulating wealth and investing for their futures.

In today’s age of longevity, we hear fears that older people’s needs will strain the economy. But the third dividend, the new “longevity dividend,” recognizes that with healthier older lives, later years can be as productive as other times of life. Realizing this opportunity, however, means a new way of looking at age. It requires a culture shift in how we feel about and characterize older adults and how society values the attributes and potential of people in the traditional retirement years.

Financial calculations

Financial calculations in favour of the Longevity Dividend have been indicated in research papers such as:

Contrast with visions of “personal immortality”

The vision of the Longevity Dividend:

  • Avoids promising immortality, but instead focuses on slowing and then reversing aging
  • Emphasises the social benefits of healthy longevity, rather than (just) appealing to the desire of individuals for personal life extension.

Policy initiatives related to the Longevity Dividend

For each of the above policy initiatives, H+Pedia analysis is pending on:

  • The degree of alignment of the legislation to the Longevity Dividend
  • The likely effectiveness of the legislation
  • Possible better alternatives

Related ideas

External sources