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March 21, 2011

Life expectancy and morale character

The US added 2 more months to life expectancy and is lagging behind the UK and Europe and countries like Hong Kong and Japan by a couple to several years.

Some consider this lag to be a problem for US public health.

However, Leon Kass (previously George Bush's science advisor) would interpret this as americans having more shorter lives that have the benefit of

1. more interest and engagement in a shorter life
2. more seriousness and aspiration in a shorter life
3. more ­beauty and love.
4. more virtue and moral excellence.


Russia’s average life expectancy suffered a catastrophic crash following the collapse of the Soviet Union, plunging to 56 years for men during the early 1990s This figure rose to nearly 62 years last year (69 for both men and women) thanks to the recovery in the economy and Russians' newfound interest in leading more healthy lives.

Apparently they did not find more interest and engagement, seriousness, beauty and love or virture.

Alcohol Abuse Pulled Russian male life expectancy down to 60 years of age Russians drink, on average, 50 bottles of vodka per year per person, a figure that President Medvedev calls, “monstrous.” Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev has called levels of alcoholism in the country, “a national disaster.” 35 year old Russian man today has a 27% likelihood of death before the age of 55. In Western European countries, that number falls to 6%. Alcohol abuse causes 600 000 to 700 000 Russian deaths per year.


Life expectancy by country shows many mostly African countries with very short life spans.

We can them about the thrill and superior morale character that comes of living short lives.

Leon Kass indicated that adding ten years might be ok and would be tough to argue against but that changes as it goes up to two or three decades or more. There are gaps in life expectancy greater than three decades now. There are also people who live healthier lives (not smoking, weight control, exercise, good sleep, controlling cholesterol) can halve their risk of death and add 7 years or more to life expectency.

So he can go looking at the suicide rate and happiness level of centenarians. Many studies show that seniors and centenarians are quite happy

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