How do we make a longer life a moral one?

We can add ten years to our lives if we chose, we’re told this week by scientists who have measured the effects of tweaking our lifestyles. The downside is we’ll need to give up meat and eat a lot of lentils to do it. Oh, and start very young. It won’t be easy – but is there a moral imperative to do it? Elsewhere, science is forging ahead with new, possibly less onerous ways to help us live longer. Researchers in Japan this week unveiled a serum that can halt aging, though so far only in mice. And Silicon Valley is reported to be full of start-ups working on rejuvenation techniques. But is a longer life a more moral life? If we get those extra years will they be worth the effort? Was Kingsley Amis right when he wrote: "No pleasure is worth giving up for the sake of two more years in a geriatric home" ? Or is it irresponsible to indulge in life-shortening activities that you happen to enjoy, if they increase the reliance you may (sooner than you hope) be placing on the state?

As a society we’re living longer than our parents, and much longer than our grandparents. But there are wide disparities. On average the rich make older bones than the poor, and a BMJ article this week deplored the fact that life expectancy is actually in decline in many deprived communities in the UK. Perhaps we have a collective moral duty to even that out, but it will be expensive. Who’s going to pay for the pensions and the care homes? Is the individual ambition to live to 100 intrinsically selfish and immoral when it imposes such burdens on others? With Repotting Your Life author Frances Edmonds; Longevity expert and London Business School Professor Andrew Scott; Director of the Free Market think tank IEA - Mark Littlewood and Political Economist Jeevan Sandher.

Produced by Olive Clancy