Wanna fight climate change, Joseph Stiglitz? Better advance healthy longevity too, for more resources

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel prize winning economist goes to war in the Guardian in the piece called The climate crisis is our third world war. It needs a bold response on World Environment Day. Getting himself all worked up with military rhetoric (I just don’t think it’s needed, as most people understand by now how the planet is in danger, and further alarmism is counterproductive) he says:

The biggest challenge will be marshalling the resources for the Green New Deal. In spite of the low “headline” unemployment rate, the United States has large amounts of under-used and inefficiently allocated resources. The ratio of employed people to those of working age in the US is still low, lower than in our past, lower than in many other countries, and especially low for women and minorities. With well-designed family leave and support policies and more time-flexibility in our labor market, we could bring more women and more citizens over 65 into the labor force. Because of our long legacy of discrimination, many of our human resources are not used as efficiently as they could or should be. 

Together with better education and health policies and more investment in infrastructure and technology – true supply side policies – the productive capacity of the economy could increase, providing some of the resources the economy needs to fight and adapt to the climate breakdown.

The climate crisis is our third world war. It needs a bold response by Joseph Stiglitz, Guardian

What he forgets to mention, and possibly forgets to understand, is that in order to have way more citizens over 65 rejoin the labor force it’d be quite essential to have them rejoining the labor force in good health. Because currently it’s not the case, even if it’s true that relatively speaking

the average 65-year-old is in better shape than ever before


Nevertheless the overwhelming majority of people will spend their last decades fighting multiple chronic, age-associated conditions, compromising most of their lives one way or another. Just look around in your immediate human halo, relatives, parents, grandparents, friends, neighbours, colleagues …

Let’s see 2 data snippets concerning this:

USA, 2016 report

More than 90% of adults over 65 have at least one chronic disease, and over two-thirds have two or more

In Measuring biological age in mice using differential mass spectrometry citing National Council on Aging. 2016. Impact Report

EU, data from 2005

An average 16–20% of life is now spent in late-life morbidity

In Facing up to the global challenges of ageing citing Inequalities in healthy life years in the 25 countries of the European Union in 2005: a cross-national meta-regression analysis

To me it looks quite mandatory to work towards, to politically prioritise healthy longevity in order to be able to harness human resources needed for the ‘big green fight’. And especially in the light of the scientific breakthrough reached concerning the understanding of the biological aging process and the existence of a biomedical trajectory to advance it.

As I put earlier: The health of the planet and the economy should be backed up by robust individual health.

Wanna propose a strong Green New Deal? Add a Grey New Deal as a necessary component. Together they strengthen each other.

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