I beg the readers indulgence for a bit of futurology about what things may look like if the life extension movement continues to develop.

Right now, a full vitamin and vitamin-like substance life extension program costs between $50 and $100 dollars per month. However, pharmaceutical researchers occasionally notice that drugs meant to treat and cure diseases, when tested on lab animals for safety, make these animals live quite a bit longer and function better. Though the FDA doesn't allow any word of this to be printed in official prescribing data, the word does get around to other researchers, to gerontologists and eventually to that part of the public that is eagerly looking for longer life. Today there are numerous people who routinely take prescription medicines meant to cure a disease they do not have and plan to take those medicines for the rest of their long, long life.

These drugs being patented, the tariff gets a lot steeper compared to taking vitamins. (Since they are naturally-occurring substances, vitamins can't be patented and therefore, aren't big-profit items. Perhaps that's one reason the FDA is so covertly opposed to vitamins.) Right now it would be quite possible to spend many hundred dollars per month on a life extension program that included most of these potentially beneficent prescription drugs.

As more of life-extending substances are discovered, the cost of participating in a maximally effective life extension program will escalate. However, those who can afford chemically enhanced functioning will enjoy certain side-benefits. Their productive, enjoyable life spans may measure well over a century, perhaps approaching two centuries or more. Some of these substances greatly improve intelligence so they will become brighter and have faster reaction times. With more time to accumulate more wisdom and experience than "short livers" these folks will become wiser, too. They will have more time to compound their investment assets and thus will become far more wealthy. They will become an obvious and recognizable aristocracy. This new upper class will immediately recognize each other on the street because they will look entirely different than the short-lived poorer folk and will probably run the political economic system.

And this new aristocratic society I see coming may be far more pleasant than the one dominated by the oligarchy we now have covertly running things. For with greater age and experience does really come greater wisdom. I have long felt that the biggest problem with Earth is that we did not live long enough. As George Bernard Shaw quipped when he was 90 (he lived to 96), "here I am, 90 years old, just getting out of my adolescence and getting some sense, and my body is falling apart as fast as it can."