Why Do The Rich Live Longer?

Comments to Steve Sailer:

* The reason why the affluent live so much longer than the poor has nothing to do with location, or with access to top-notch medicine. Medicine in the early 21st Century is actually extremely primitive, and makes almost no impact on longevity. Medicine cannot even find a permanent cure for the Flu, or control simple inflammatory conditions like arthritis and asthma. The most that medicine can give you in terms of longevity is 2-3 years with terrible quality of life, where you are plugged to an I.C.U machine 24/7 and unable to walk or even move.

The reason why affluent live so much more is because they tend to be more intelligent, and intelligent people take much better care of themselves than stupid people. At our primitive current scientific state, what makes the most difference in longevity are diet and bad habits. You never see the rich eating pork rinds, or drinking to a stupor, or smoking 2 packs a day. Obesity is much more pervasive among those of the lower and lower-middle classes than among the rich. The rich also tend to have certain traits such as self-restraint. They tend to be harder on themselves than the indigent. They see hedonistic indulgement as a vice of character. This is the greatest paradox: those with the resources to indulge themselves to death almost never do, as they excel at self-restraint, while those who lack the ability to indulge themselves to death wish they could. This is one of the reasons why so many men who become multi-millionaires through sports tend to self-destroy and lose everything in a few years, as these men are usually not very intellectually capable of evaluating the consequences of their actions, unlike people who made their wealth through their brains.

This contrast is most obvious in men. One of the biggest differences between men is short-term orientation vs long-term orientation. About half of men are short-term oriented while the other half tend to be long-term oriented. This is NOT related to K-selection and R-selection. It is not related to timidity and levels of anxiety. Many men who excel in traits such as courage, tenacity and aggressiveness are long-term oriented. Rome’s first emperor, Octavian Augustus, was long-term oriented. So was Napoleon. Long-term orientation correlates with intelligence; nevertheless, high intelligence itself INDUCES long-term orientation in men even when their personality tends towards impetuousness and high levels of impulsiveness. If you look at a Wall Street broker and a street thug, they share a lot in common such as aggressiveness, impulsiveness and courage. However, the street thug is far more likely to try crack and become addicted to it. So what separates them? In a word: intelligence. The Wall Street broker is much smarter than the street thug, so he can understand better the long-term consequences of trying crack and becoming addicted to it. Intelligence works as a “break” for the worst male instincts. Men have a strong tendency to self-destroy compared to women, but highly intelligent men have almost female levels of concern for their health.

* Differences in life expectancy across the country are driven by the same factors that drive all the other regional differences: genetic differences between the people. This includes racial and ethnic differences (Blacks and Scots Irish being short-lived; Asians, Hispanics, Scandinavians being long-lived), but also includes sorting within groups (which leads to the urban-rural divide as well as the boiling off effect from the poorest areas).

* I’m pretty much convinced at this point that LE differences within and between developed nations are almost entirely genetic.

* For developed nations, yup.

In Europe, there is an apparently formula:

Early European Farmer ancestry correlates to longer lifespan.

Indo-European ancestry (especially Slavic and Celtic) correlates to shorter lifespan.

Moorish/North African ancestry also correlates to shorter lifespan.

All of these are apparently correlated with length of time to adapt to agriculture. Out of the bunch, the Early European Farmers had the longest history with agriculture. I suspect agricultural pathogens play a role.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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