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Life-extension in Africa


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#1 ilia

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 03:47 PM


While in many regions of the world life-expectancy is constantly increasing, the life-expectancy in Africa is in a constant decline, as several killer diseases reached almost epidemic proportions.

Can this trend be reversed?

Please post information regarding life-extension and life-extension groups in Africa here.

#2 ilia

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 10:58 AM

Here are some graphs, showing the consistent trend of decline in life-expectancy in Africa. In some countries (particularly in the southern part of Africa, such as Swaziland and Mozambique) the life-expectancy is now about 40 years, twice less than in the longest-lived countries, and 40% less than the world average. These data can shake our faith that life-expectancy is inexorably (almost miraculously) increasing.

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#3 Alex Libman

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 12:13 PM

To have improvements in life quality / expectancy you need economic growth.

To get economic growth you need economic freedom, child labor sweatshops and all. South Korea went from sweatshops to skyscrapers in just 2 generations, some African countries may be able to do it in just 1.

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#4 Kolos

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 04:03 PM

These data can shake our faith that life-expectancy is inexorably (almost miraculously) increasing.

To be honest I don't see many reasons why should we care about Africa or some parts of Asia.
At some point we might become so different in many ways that breading or even living together would be practically impossible because of differences in biology, mentality, intelligence etc. but it's not really our problem, perhaps it might be even beneficial to keep some "pure" humans evolving naturally.
I know it sounds quite cruel but I see no future for most of Sub Saharan Africa perhaps with exception of SA.
Anyway afaik even with horrible situation in terms of health care, social security etc. there was increase in life span in some countries to around 60 years which is not that bad at all.

#5 ilia

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 12:11 PM

I am not an expert, but it appears that South Korea flourished not because of sweatshops and child labor, but because the West considered it wise to invest into its development. And, I believe, the same concerted, centralized investment will be necessary for Africa. We should care. We live in one world and the misfortunes of some spell misfortunes for others.

#6 Blue

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 01:20 PM

Maybe we should not feel so superior, if resistance to antibiotics continue to develop we may well see a similar curve in the rest of the world. Even the most simply surgery could become very dangerous, many elective operations/procedures would be too risky to do (even getting a blood sample would become more dangerous), lots of children could die from today easily treated respiratory infections, even healthy adults could quickly die from a pneumonia or urinary infection.

#7 Alex Libman

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 05:03 PM

I am not an expert, but it appears that South Korea flourished not because of sweatshops and child labor, but because the West considered it wise to invest into its development.


Um, that's another way of saying the same thing. Why was the West interested in investing in South Korea? Because they had sufficiently strong property rights and other aspects of economic freedom to create business opportunities and attract investment. It is unfortunate that "sweatshops and child labor" is what the poorest countries have to offer to begin attracting the first drips of capital their way, but it is an economic fact, and the reason why I bring it up is that it's the people who want to outlaw those things that keep the poorest countries in poverty. The sweatshop phase can be passed through very quickly as sweatshop workers before more valuable due to their proven work ethic and experience and graduate to more desirable jobs.


And, I believe, the same concerted, centralized investment will be necessary for Africa. We should care. We live in one world and the misfortunes of some spell misfortunes for others.


How much money have you voluntarily donated to pull the Africans' economic weight for them? If you are like a typical American then it's not anywhere as much as you've unwittingly spent to aid in the development of more economically free countries that export food, cheaply manufactured plastic goods, clothes, etc. I once designed a Web-site called MissionariesOfAfrica.org and helped set up fund-raising information systems for a number of similar organizations, but only because I was paid good money to do it. Tit for tat is the way of this universe. It works without requiring any self-sacrifice on your part, while the alternative does not. "Give a man a fish" every day, and he'll have no incentive to get off his butt ever again, and in a few generations the number of people asking for free fish will continue to increase. I do encourage some "teach men to fish" efforts like "one laptop per child" and free educational resources, from basic games that aid a child's mental development to MIT's OpenCourseWare, but those things can become affordable without charity soon enough as well.

Edited by Alex Libman, 09 April 2010 - 05:07 PM.


#8 Logan

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 06:13 PM

These data can shake our faith that life-expectancy is inexorably (almost miraculously) increasing.

To be honest I don't see many reasons why should we care about Africa or some parts of Asia.
At some point we might become so different in many ways that breading or even living together would be practically impossible because of differences in biology, mentality, intelligence etc. but it's not really our problem, perhaps it might be even beneficial to keep some "pure" humans evolving naturally.
I know it sounds quite cruel but I see no future for most of Sub Saharan Africa perhaps with exception of SA.
Anyway afaik even with horrible situation in terms of health care, social security etc. there was increase in life span in some countries to around 60 years which is not that bad at all.


It doesn't just sound cruel it sounds cold and inhuman. I guess you are one of those that does not fully appreciate what it is to be human. Maybe you are just young and inexperienced. Whatever it is, your views go against the grain of the advancement and evolution of the human race.

#9 ilia

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 07:14 AM

Blue: Maybe we should not feel so superior, if resistance to antibiotics continue to develop we may well see a similar curve in the rest of the world. Even the most simply surgery could become very dangerous, many elective operations/procedures would be too risky to do (even getting a blood sample would become more dangerous), lots of children could die from today easily treated respiratory infections, even healthy adults could quickly die from a pneumonia or urinary infection.


That is my conclusion also. These data show very clearly that life-expectancy may not rise ad infinitum, but after a certain period of increase, it can decrease dramatically. This doesn’t mean that “there is nothing to do”, after all the decrease has physical causes and can be remedied by physical means. But the possibility and problem need to be recognized. And yes, this can happen everywhere. Moreover, this happening in one place can swiftly carry over to another – infectious diseases are still the worst enemies of longevity.

Alex: Why was the West interested in investing in South Korea? Because they had sufficiently strong property rights and other aspects of economic freedom to create business opportunities and attract investment.


Yes, that, but perhaps also the fact that if they didn’t invest into the development of South Korea, they would have yet another Soviet satellite state, or rather one large North Korea with doubled power and aggressiveness. And the same can happen also in other places. It is my belief that strategic, concerted investments will be necessary for Africa, investments into education, health, industrial infrastructure – all the things that will absolutely not bring immediate profits, but will in the long run contribute to the stability of our world. The “laissez-faire” principle has been dead for 150 years, it’s just a shame that so many transhumanists are trying to revive it.

Alex: How much money have you voluntarily donated to pull the Africans' economic weight for them? If you are like a typical American then it's not anywhere as much as you've unwittingly spent to aid in the development of more economically free countries that export food, cheaply manufactured plastic goods, clothes, etc.


The involvement at the personal level is indeed the real question. Donating a couple of bucks or volunteering for a couple of hours may indeed not make much of splash. But still, it may do something, at least raise the awareness in some small way. I am not a “typical American”, I am a typical or atypical Israeli ;) And Africa is right here across the border. Several of my acquaintances have participated in development projects in Africa (such as building electric power stations, of course for a pay, mostly governmental pay, and not out sheer altruism), but not myself personally, of which I am almost ashamed. I wish I could do more, but I am just not sure what. And of course, a lot of things are done for the kinds of rewards that are not necessaritly monetary.

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#10 N.T.M.

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 07:36 AM

These data can shake our faith that life-expectancy is inexorably (almost miraculously) increasing.


lol, I doubt it. Lets call them "the control group." =P

How could they merit any advancements if they're totally isolated? All they do is dilute the increasing average expectancy.

Edited by N.T.M., 10 April 2010 - 07:37 AM.


#11 Alex Libman

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 12:08 PM

Yes, that, but perhaps also the fact that if they didn’t invest into the development of South Korea, they would have yet another Soviet satellite state, or rather one large North Korea with doubled power and aggressiveness. And the same can happen also in other places.


Yes, some of the investment did come as the result of government force, but that would only explain a small fraction of South Korea's economic success. You will find that per-capita FDI correlates quite strongly with economic freedom, and quite weakly with handouts from other governments, especially if you adjust for the fact that the U.S. government historically mostly supported countries that followed a plan toward economic liberalization (that changed after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the intensification of Israeli lobby's grip on Washington). Actually some of the best examples of pure government hand-outs are countries like Cuba which became dependent on Soviet aid and ended up even worse off after its collapse! And the best example of growth through pure capitalism would probably be Singapore.


It is my belief that strategic, concerted investments will be necessary for Africa, investments into education, health, industrial infrastructure – all the things that will absolutely not bring immediate profits, but will in the long run contribute to the stability of our world.


Foreign theft (aka "aid") has been failing in Africa over and over again. One African country followed the path toward free market capitalism -- Mauritius -- and I predict it will soon be among the wealthiest countries in the world, along with Chile in South America (unfortunately only thanks to Pinochet).


The “laissez-faire” principle has been dead for 150 years, it’s just a shame that so many transhumanists are trying to revive it.


Saying that laissez-faire has been "dead" because power-hungry governments have stifled it through force is like saying that science is "dead" when ignorant savages shove their religion down other people's throats by force! The factual benefits of free market capitalism haven't changed, in spite of all the efforts by socialist thieves to spin facts to the contrary. The closer to laissez-faire a society is, the faster it progresses (Israel, once again, being an anomaly).

#12 ilia

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 01:08 PM

I think government projects and regulations are absolutely essential both for developing innovative technologies and for their later wide and safe deployment.

Most innovative technologies originated in government research programs – including computers, space exploration, internet and DNA sequencing. Free enterprises may later capitalize on these developments and help their spread. But let us not forget that these technologies originated in government-sponsored research projects that were capable to dedicate to them large, concerted investments.

And then, with regard to the deployment of new technologies, all global health projects, such as the eradication of smallpox in 1977, including in Africa, were conducted as internationally coordinated government projects, and not in the way of the “wild west”. Not to speak of large engineering projects that could by no means be safely performed out of the framework of governmental regulation, including in Africa.

With specific reference to life-extension, we often speak of the “Manhattan-like project” to combat aging. But what was the “Manhattan project”? It was a concerted, government-sponsored effort that arose due to a perceived threat to the nation’s existence. And such an effort is what we should strive for with regard to the combat of aging and dying. Grass-roots and democratic involvement will be crucial to convince the government to embark on a “Manhattan-project” against aging and dying, but it can be performed only within a concerted, regulated program. And later, when successful anti-aging (or anti-dying) means are found, government programs will be indispensable for their safe and universal distribution (if only just to avoid the confrontation of “superiors” with “inferiors” that someone referred to earlier).

Edited by ilia, 10 April 2010 - 01:11 PM.


#13 Kolos

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 03:47 PM

It doesn't just sound cruel it sounds cold and inhuman. I guess you are one of those that does not fully appreciate what it is to be human. Maybe you are just young and inexperienced. Whatever it is, your views go against the grain of the advancement and evolution of the human race.


Inhuman? Since when it's in human nature to care about people from other cultures especially if they have limited or no contacts with them?
Actually it's a pretty new trend , to think about our world as a whole and all people as brothers. I know it's now somehow fashionable to show how we care about places we mostly know nothing about but lets be realistic, some regions would be always left behind. It was always like that and I doubt it will "magically" change in the future, even with all this new technologies. Some dictators and their friends, families, elites in general might live forever but the masses would be poor and uneducated as they are today. We can't do much about it but luckily it doesn't affect us too much.

#14 Alex Libman

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 04:30 PM

I think government projects and regulations are absolutely essential both for developing innovative technologies and for their later wide and safe deployment.


Then you pay for it - without violence or theft.


Most innovative technologies originated in government research programs – including computers, space exploration, internet and DNA sequencing. [...]


I've been debunking this over and over and over again. The government does not produce anything! It steals capital from the private sector, wastes much of it on monopolistic inefficiency and corruption, and uses the rest to buy private sector accomplishments and take credit for them, all for the sake of strengthening its own power. Government is a criminal / religious endeavor, not a scientific one!

#15 ilia

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 04:39 PM

Inhuman? Since when it's in human nature to care about people from other cultures especially if they have limited or no contacts with them?


There have been many terrible things in human nature that we have successfully overcome and will continue to overcome (such as early dying), and many beautiful things that we have developed and will continue to develop (such as creative spirit). Even a show demonstrates interest and readiness to get involved. And if, in our discussion, we will succeed in raising interest and brainstorming some ideas about possibly one of the worst problems of humanity, or make just a few people think about it, then we will help insure that dictators and elites will not usurp life-extending technologies, and it will be all worthwhile.

Edited by ilia, 10 April 2010 - 04:40 PM.


#16 ilia

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 04:50 PM

Then you pay for it - without violence or theft.


I am not sure I understand this. You mean I (we) should pay for the things the government does (like ensuring water supply, help in crises or law enforcement)? I think I do, I pay taxes.

I've been debunking this over and over and over again. The government does not produce anything! It steals capital from the private sector, wastes much of it on monopolistic inefficiency and corruption, and uses the rest to buy private sector accomplishments and take credit for them, all for the sake of strengthening its own power. Government is a criminal / religious endeavor, not a scientific one!


Yes, let’s leave the development of nuclear power or nano-technology to the private sector… What a wonderful world that would be (if we live to see it) lol

#17 Logan

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 05:32 PM

It doesn't just sound cruel it sounds cold and inhuman. I guess you are one of those that does not fully appreciate what it is to be human. Maybe you are just young and inexperienced. Whatever it is, your views go against the grain of the advancement and evolution of the human race.


Inhuman? Since when it's in human nature to care about people from other cultures especially if they have limited or no contacts with them?
Actually it's a pretty new trend , to think about our world as a whole and all people as brothers. I know it's now somehow fashionable to show how we care about places we mostly know nothing about but lets be realistic, some regions would be always left behind. It was always like that and I doubt it will "magically" change in the future, even with all this new technologies. Some dictators and their friends, families, elites in general might live forever but the masses would be poor and uneducated as they are today. We can't do much about it but luckily it doesn't affect us too much.


Evolutionary changes are new trends. That is what is means to evolve is it not? There is a reason why these new trends exist.

Edited by morganator, 10 April 2010 - 05:34 PM.


#18 Alex Libman

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 09:33 PM

I am not sure I understand this. You mean I (we) should pay for the things the government does (like ensuring water supply, help in crises or law enforcement)? I think I do, I pay taxes.


Good for you. Now stop forcing others to pay for your government's products and services against their will.


Yes, let’s leave the development of nuclear power or nano-technology to the private sector… What a wonderful world that would be (if we live to see it) lol


A much better world than the one where those things are left to violent mafia monopolies (aka governments). It were the governments that have been able to steal enough capital to make the nuclear threat possible, while no company in the private sector would be immune to market pressures and liability costs that would make the construction of nuclear weapons impossible.

#19 ilia

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 05:57 AM

Alex, don’t you understand that you are ultimately arguing for the monopolistic world rule of large corporations, accountable to no one except for their boards, and caring for nobody and nothing except for immediate profits, leaving people free to live or die as they would?

#20 Alex Libman

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 01:33 PM

Governments are unaccountable. Corporations are voluntary agreements between individuals that are as accountable as humanly possible to the people who choose to do business with them - otherwise they can simply walk away and do business with somebody else. And the only "monopoly" that has ever existed in human history and can possibly exist is government!

Please educate yourself on the economic realities of free market capitalism, or at least read what I've already written on this very forum. This rant is particularly memorable:

Would you pay taxes to Shell Oil without getting anything you value in return? Would you send your kids to a school where they were expected to pledge allegiance to WalMart or learned WalMart's biased version of history? Would you go fight a foreign war for FailBlog.org? Would you shop at a pharmacy that abducted your neighbor for using herbal remedies they don't approve of? Would you let the currency in your wallet be inflated by Chuck E Cheese's? Most people obviously would not!


Edited by Alex Libman, 11 April 2010 - 01:35 PM.


#21 ilia

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 01:48 PM

I was going to write about the vital role of the governments in caring for the sick and the aged who have lost their ability to pay, and by extension, for the people in the parts of the world who are dying in their millions because they don’t have the ability to pay. But you will probably be immune to such arguments. You have your “Free market or nothing” slogan.

I am just curious: Within your paradigm, how would you propose to remedy the deterioration of health and longevity in Africa, in terms of our democratic involvement or personal involvement, except for giving advices to peoples of the “third world” on how they should behave?

#22 rwac

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 02:11 PM

I am just curious: Within your paradigm, how would you propose to remedy the deterioration of health and longevity in Africa, in terms of our democratic involvement or personal involvement, except for giving advices to peoples of the "third world" on how they should behave?


This link provides a good description of the problems of Africa.

http://www.theothers....php/essays/36/

When it comes to any analysis of the problems facing Africa, Western society, and particularly people from the United States, encounter a logical disconnect that makes clear analysis impossible. That disconnect is the way life is regarded in the West (it's precious, must be protected at all costs etc.), compared to the way life, and death, are regarded in Africa. Let me try to quantify this statement.

In Africa, life is cheap. There are so many ways to die in Africa that death is far more commonplace than in the West. You can die from so many things--snakebite, insect bite, wild animal attack, disease, starvation, food poisoning… the list goes on and on. At one time, crocodiles accounted for more deaths in sub-Saharan Africa than gunfire, for example. Now add the usual human tragedy (murder, assault, warfare and the rest), and you can begin to understand why the life expectancy for an African is low--in fact, horrifyingly low, if you remove White Africans from the statistics (they tend to be more urbanized, and more Western in behavior and outlook). Finally, if you add the horrifying spread of AIDS into the equation, anyone born in sub-Saharan Africa this century will be lucky to reach age forty.


Edited by rwac, 11 April 2010 - 02:11 PM.


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#23 Alex Libman

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 02:19 PM

I was going to write about the vital role of the governments in caring for the sick and the aged who have lost their ability to pay, and by extension, for the people in the parts of the world who are dying in their millions because they don’t have the ability to pay. But you will probably be immune to such arguments. You have your “Free market or nothing” slogan.


I'm not "immune" to any argument except through reason. I wasn't born a capitalist idealist (in fact I was brainwashed into Soviet communism as a child, and then into left-wing American politics after my family moved from Moscow to New Jersey when I was 10) - I've arrived at my position after many years of resistance, debate, and being proven wrong by greater minds than mine.

My "science or nothing" slogan (the "free market" simply being the application of the scientific method to economics) also needs to be clarified. I am not standing in your way if you want to subjugate yourself to a socialist government voluntarily, I am simply fighting for my Right to opt out (the Right to free exit, the Right to secession of privately owned land, etc).


I am just curious: Within your paradigm, how would you propose to remedy the deterioration of health and longevity in Africa, in terms of our democratic involvement or personal involvement, except for giving advices to peoples of the “third world” on how they should behave?


The health and longevity in Africa as a whole is actually improving, but the problem is that it's not improving as quickly as the more capitalist parts of the world have. All peoples of the world started out living in caves with the quality of life that makes even the worst of modern African countries seem like heaven in comparison. Life was nasty, brutal, and short. The reason why humanity was able to elevate itself above that as much as it has is due to economic growth, the very thing that the programs that you advocate tend to stifle.

Stealing fish from one group of people in order to buy political power by rewarding the incompetence of another group of people only reduces the first group's desire to produce, while causing the second group to multiply and demand ever-more fish having learned nothing! If you really want to help Africa then tell your socialist comrades in Europe (and to lesser degree Washington) to end all agricultural subsidies and all other restrictions, and poverty in Africa will be greatly reduced even without any reforms on the continent itself!

Africans are a smart, resourceful, and mutually-charitable people. I work as a freelance programmer through the Internet, and many a time I've lost a programming job to a person in the third world who is using the kind of computer many Americans would throw away and taught himself programming autodeductively. I am proud of the fact that I no longer hide behind governmental and corporate barriers and compete for work on the basis of pure merit and reputation - if anyone in any country can do a project better, faster, or cheaper than I can then that person deserves that job more than I do. Ask yourself - is there a person in the third world somewhere that can do your job better, faster, or cheaper that your government is preventing from having the same opportunity you've had? The answer is obviously yes - it's the governments that force people into poverty, and it's the free market that lifts them out of it!

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#24 didierc

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 02:48 PM

There is indeed a very bad situation concerning Life expectancy in Subsaharian countries.

One of the biggest causes if of course the very bad economical situation. But the other biggest cause is AIDS.

But they are also good news concerning Life extensions even in Subsaharian countries. For example, in Mali, life expectancy is now more than 55 years compared to 40 years in 1970 and in Senegal, life expectancy is now more than 63 years compared to 50 years in 1970.

For more information about life expectancy, Gapminder is a very good tool: http://www.gapminder.org




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