[extropy-chat] Who Gets Expensive Treatments Under Socialism? (was Cryonics is the only option?)

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Mon Apr 16 10:41:24 UTC 2007

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> On 4/16/07, Anders Sandberg <asa at nada.kth.se> wrote:
> There was also an interesting study I read about Canadian health care that
>> showed that despite putting rich and poor into the same system the
>> richer
>> got more referrals to experts and better treatment. The reason seems to
>> be
>> that they are simply better at talking to the doctor and asking for what
>> they want.
> That's true: even when it comes to getting social security benefits that
> they just have to ask for, the articulate, well-educated or well-connected
> poor do better than the others.  The very worst off in just about any
> outcome measure studied are the mentally ill.

There is a lot of positive feedback between being smart, being well-off
and being healthy. Childhood intelligence predicts overall health across
life as well as education and professional outcomes. Growing up with high
socioeconomic status also promotes life chances, and education seem to
increase intelligence scores (although here we might get trapped in a
debate on whether it is core general intelligence or just a lot of
crystalised skills). I have not seen any studies of the economic benefits
of good health, but I would be surprised if they were small. Being able to
study and work more and for longer periods is quite important.

If I had to improve one part to help someone, I would probably go for
intelligence (and removing mental illness). It seems to be useful for
increasing the potential of the other factors. It is of course far easier
to try to redistribute money or education, but intelligence may improve
the efficiency of how they are used in a life.

One of the often overlooked compassionate aspects of transhumanism is that
cognitive and emotional enhancement is likely to help the worst off much
more than the best off. Even a totally selfish program of enabling
enhancement is likely to produce methods that will help many poor and
cognitively disadvantaged - and from a selfish perspective helping them
become productive and happy is rational too, since it reduces costs and
increases wealth production across society. Conversely, developing
efficient methods of helping the cognitively disadvantaged is likely to
produce many forms of enhancements as spin-offs. It seems like a win-win

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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