The "fountain of youth" or the "elixir of life" have always been broad metaphors that symbolize an unreachable treasure, often pursued by those who already possess enormous wealth in order to make their power total. The metaphor also contemplates the punishment for excessive greed, but this is not the subject of the article. The subject of the article is: every age has its elixirs of long life, and its very rich men who want to drink it.
Not long ago a number of well-known billionaires joined the bandwagon of technologies and remedies to extend life. Silicon Valley triggered a real "death hunt", to eradicate it from the vocabulary. Players like Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Larry Page (Google) have invested billions in companies that work to extend lives (respectively Altos Labs e Calico).
We're not talking about earning a year or two. These two companies are worrying about how to extend life from 50 years to hundreds of years more. And it is not important when they get there, because their work will allow "on the way" to break down important conditions of aging, for example the age-related diseases, o l 'Alzheimer. In a sense, there will not be a pill discovered suddenly, but several milestones that will make life span more “elastic”.
To extend the life of all. Or just those who fund the research?
Far be it from me to wear the clothes of the conspiracy theorist. The question is simpler. I can't help but correlate the effort to extend life with this astonishing amount of wealth, ego and fear of dying that is giving birth to these monstrous economic endeavors by super billionaires. Why do they do it?
One answer above all: time. Which is not money, or not alone, but it can certainly be value. The vertical growth of something called Q-Commerce makes us understand. The "Q" stands for "Quick". It is time-based trading, which serves to give time to those who benefit from it. Ghost Kitchen, who prepare meals for us, personal trainers who don't waste time in traffic to reach a gym. Streaming services that show us everything immediately, delivery companies that bring us the shopping home. Amazon that delivers things in hours. Extending your life, even before being more years old, means first of all having more hours.
In the world, Q-Commerce flies even more, with standard bearers like Weezy, or Flink. I am talking about companies that are able to deliver goods, even perishable ones, in just 10 minutes. The messages I get from all this are two: first, everyone yearns for more time and comfort: proof of this is the desire to preserve (in whole or in part) advantages of remote work. Second, the time is for the rich. A luxury that not everyone can enjoy.
I tell you something that will surprise you: time is relative
Cool, huh? I bet you've never heard of it. Yes, time is a relative concept. It is not distributed or evaluated evenly. We are used to inequalities in wealth that overlap with other inequalities such as health, well-being, education, environment and technology, to name a few. To some extent, therefore, we also know how the relationship between wealth and the possibility of extending life can evolve. Because, among other things, this relationship is already there: second a study by University College London (UCL), in today's world being rich adds an average of nine years of healthy life expectancy.
Already today, those with more money live more (on average). Point.
We found that socio-economic inequalities in disease-free life expectancy were similar across all ages in the UK and the US. But the biggest socio-economic benefit in both countries and all age groups was wealth.Extract from the study of University College London.
Long live, but to the rich? You already know the answer
While there is no doubt that extending life, aging with dignity and comfort can be everyone's prerogative, a dramatic life extension will initially benefit the rich. And this will inevitably greatly increase the inequalities we currently experience. Huge, in a way I don't even know. By changing the relationship between human and human being, in a way (sorry if I repeat) currently incalculable.
I am not part of the ranks of those who say "how boring to live forever". On the contrary. Extend your life out of all proportion? Perhaps. The point is that this race has already started with a heavy handicap, and is likely to do a lot of good for a few, and a lot of harm for too many.