The 125 year old billionaire?

Okay, I wrote another entry on a different article I had picked out, but when I read this article, I decided I really wanted to share it with you guys.  I know there was a post about longevity on this blog a week or two ago, but I thought this article presented another side to the issue.

This article does not focus on the disparities between groups of people in terms of longevity, but focuses on one man who is determined to live to see his 125th birthday.  David Murdock is a spry 87 year old billionaire who has put his time, effort, and money into research that will aid him in his goal.  He has nearly unlimited resources to visit the Mayo Clinic, to build buildings to house the California Health and Longevity Institute across the street from his company’s headquarters, and do whatever else he pleases (include import rocks from Taiwan).  The article describes his efforts to extend his life for an unheard amount of time.   (For reference, the oldest person to date was a 122 year old woman;the oldest man was 115).

One might think why should one person be able to do everything imaginable in order to better his health and extend his life when people all across the US (and across the globe) do not have access to the resources that will enable them to live to half his age?  Is this just?  The distribution of wealth and access certainly appears to be unfair.  Those with less money/access do not seem to be getting any additional benefits.  Still, he is not hurting anyone by attempting to achieve his goal.  In fact, he provides gym access and healthy foods for his employees and gave a bonus to a contractor who lost 30 pounds.  Another thing to consider:  Murdock came from a family that struggled to make ends meet.  He dropped out of high school when he was 14, and since then has had only informal education by reading books and doing his own research.  Does it matter that he is a self-made billionaire?   The outcome is still the same, even though the path to get there may have been different than we originally believed.  This is a bit like the question we asked in class: can something be unjust if the outcome was unintentional?  Murdock began his life with a limited access to education and healthcare.  He was even homeless for a period of time.  Can it be unjust that he made the most of his situation and uses his wealth to better his health?

On another note, I thought it was interesting how determined Murdock is to live to 125.  In fact, his determination seems more like an obsession.  He even criticizes people who do not eat/live as healthy as he does.  What do you think about this?  Is it unnatural to go to such lengths to live to be 125 or is Murdock merely living the ideal healthy life?




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