Effects of Prolonged Life, Part 2

UpdateScribes’ Descent will be out on May 30 in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover formats! It’ll also be free to borrow for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. And because my first shipment has arrived, if you live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, I can sell you a signed paperback right now 🙂 Signed, in-person copies are $12, cash or debit.

Now for part 2 of the Effects of Prolonged Life:

If you haven’t read part 1, please read that first.

Wealth Explosion
Investing money for centuries leads to absurd wealth. The Scrooge McDuck, personal-vault-of-gold kind. Sure, poor investments will still be a thing, but investors have plenty of time to recover from mistakes. They can afford to invest more aggressively than before, and for far longer. This finances more companies, making entrepreneurship more accessible. What would people do with the resulting wealth? For a start, patriarchs could pay for the education of their myriad offspring. In chapter one of Scribes’ Descent, Mallory complains that Eleni’s father paid her way into the Daishon Research Facility with a billion-dollar donation.

Entertainment Expansion
Demand for sports and leisure rise as more people are wealthy enough to afford them and healthy enough to enjoy them. Theme park planets, owned by family corporations, accommodate billions of visitors at a time. And zoo planets become popular where the climate supports broad biodiversity and the land comes with a vast stock of exotic creatures. Have an endangered species on your planet? Transplant some to a similar biome on a conservation world.

Fatal boredom, also known as elder break, causes some to self-destruct and rampage against society. The support group, Elder Aegis,sets up chapters on all affected worlds. They tour workplaces, hold classes, post observable-wide ads, and distribute special meds not administered by med nanos. In the days before Elder Aegis, one world lost an entire city to a mass elder break. That epidemic contained itself in time, though. While rallying to defend against the most violent of the raging elders, many were snapped out of their own boredom by their renewed purpose.

Rise in Crime
More people means more crime. Especially as cities swell into ecumenopolises. Criminals overflow from normal prisons onto prison worlds like the planet Hell in David Weber’s book In Enemy Hands. So while touring the galaxy, pick your planets carefully! Breakouts may happen when criminal scientists secretly build and launch spacecraft (as secret as such activities can be) or a criminal shuttle sneaks in from the outside, managing to evade orbital sensors and defenses. Many prison planets eventually become “regular” planets. Police jurisdiction gets messy as criminals operate on multiple worlds, then flee to completely different galaxies. Who goes after them, and which court tries them? Planets/systems/galaxies/clusters have different extradition laws, too. Some act as tax havens, like a Swiss bank. Others might even become red-light districts, such as casino and brothel planets. And if periodic med nano replenishments are given to prolong prisoners’ lives, perhaps for good behavior, then those with multiple life sentences may occupy their cells indefinitely. How would it feel to walk free after 500 years in prison? In some jurisdictions, criminals can be locked with up little-to-no med nano replenishment so that they die early. At age 1,000 instead of 5,000, for instance.

Changing Perception of the Elderly
The old are less likely to be thought senile, vulnerable to theft and exploitation, uninvolved in sports, etc. While many such stereotypes fade with time, some persist. A few patriarchs will dig in as reactionaries, decrying the modern age as morally inferior to the good old days when men were men and myophos were myophos. But I suspect most will learn to bend and flex during societal change–they’ll certainly get plenty of exposure to it. Beyond this, many become legends because of long practice in their fields of interest. Young eyes notice that patriarchs have among them the best writers, ablest artists, and strongest weightlifters. And because you don’t know if some random patriarch has survived a thousand battles and can paralyze you with his pinky toe, you don’t mess with any of them 🙂

Decline of the Funeral Industry
Funeral homes don’t keep regular business anymore, as fewer succumb to disease and old age. So funeral homes supplement their income by providing other services. And because Daishon natives refuse to take med nanos, they’d constitute the bulk of funerary demand, along with Imnans don’t pay to inject med nanos into their fuzzy little pet cormits.
That does it for prolonged life. What did I miss? If you think of other societal effects that extreme lifespans may have, please let me know.

See you next month!
Dylan West

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