Dr. Robert N. Butler is the President and CEO of the International Longevity Center. Whether through his many appearances in front of the United States Congress, or his hundreds of interviews with the media, Dr. Butler has worked tirelessly for decades to push population-aging issues into the public discourse. As a gerontologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Butler recognized discrimination against the elderly as early as 1968, coining the term "ageism." Eight years later, the publication of his Pulitzer-prize-winning "Why Survive? Being Old in America" solidified his reputation as someone who foresaw the impact that aging would have on American society. A founding director of the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, as well as the nation's first department of geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Butler often consults for television and radio. He is the author of some 300 scientific and medical articles. Source: The International Longevity Center
Question: Does increased longevity necessitate population control?
Robert Butler: Well, population control isn't actually occurring I mean in Europe and Japan as populations have lived longer, they have dramatically reduced the birth rate. So, in fact, there is a shrinkage in both Europe and in Japan. Not in the United States because of immigration, but I think it sort of balances itself out. As people live longer, they tend to have fewer babies and as a result they are able to put more resources into the education and the health of the children. So, it has been a very positive thing.
Robert Butler: Well, if you think back to 1900 when the average life expectancy was 47 and you are asking me this question, you could have been thinking we are going to have all those 50 year olds and now we have all those 50 year olds. So, what I think we will see is a healthier, more vigorous population and people in their 70s and 80s than we have had before as a result of medical science and hopefully, people taking better care of themselves.
Recorded on: Mar 17 2008