Streams

The Changing Body

Friday, July 01, 2011

Robert Fogel, professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Sokchul Hong, assistant professor of economics at Sogang University in South Korea, discuss their co-authored book The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700, about the way technology has accelerated human evolution.

Guests:

Robert Fogel and Sokchul Hong

Comments [8]

MJ from NYC

I created a gif animation in 1996 - Internet Exhibition Japan - topic: future of technology on humans - my visual commentary addressed the way in which our bodies would evolve so we are all heads - no need for extremeties as we are consumed with sucking up pearls of technological wisdom. View vid here-

http://mjk-portfolio.com/head.html

Jul. 01 2011 12:01 PM
Gerald Fnord from palos Verdes, CA

I grew up post-war[,World, II], with the usual post-war prejudices. It was a bit of a shock to meet Japanese people taller than I---and I am of slightly taller than average. Many were still shorter than I, but a noticeable number reaped the rewards of more (and possibly better) nutrition.

The same goes for Western Europeans. Say what you will about the Nanny State, but it seems to do wonders for height and facial symmetry.

Jul. 01 2011 11:52 AM
Aaron from Brooklyn

From what I understand most of the gain in life expectancy as a nation is in the decline of infant mortality. The poor and manual workers still die at around the same age they have for the past hundred years and the wealthy have always lived longer. Eg. John Quincy Adams made it to 90 and he wasn't a freak exception of his time.
This is an extremely important point as the debate about raising the retirement age seems to be based on a false premise - not surprising as most of the political debates we suffer are similarly fantastical. Brian it would behove you to be far more suspicious than you seem to be of the current;y accepted wisdom.

Jul. 01 2011 11:47 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Naturally, our primordial ancestors had half the life span, as they had to hunt and face the elements and wild beasts on a daily basis. Many children naturally died at birth. There were no antibacterial drugs, or anything. But if you could bring our ancestors from 50,000 years ago into the modern world they would fare no worse than anyone alive today. There really hasn't much natural evolution from then to now, but only technological, hygienic, and medical improvements. If they were educated and raised in our schools, they would be just as smart or dumb as anyone around today on average as well.

Jul. 01 2011 11:44 AM
Howard from the Bronx

Wasn't there a Russian theory of evolution that was disproved that said the same thing?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamarckism

Jul. 01 2011 11:43 AM
Kepi

In a digital world we don't need big, tall, heavy or strong bodies.

One day we may not need human bodies at all...

I'm - 5'2. I need less air, water and food than big guys and gals. I have the advantage!

Jul. 01 2011 11:36 AM
MJ from NYC

I created a gif animation in 1996 - Internet Exhibition Japan - topic: future of technology on humans - my visual commentary addressed the way in which our bodies would evolve so we are all heads - no need for extremeties as we are consumed with sucking up pearls of technological wisdom. View vid here-

http://mjk-portfolio.com/head.html

Jul. 01 2011 11:33 AM

In spite of advances, for Americans life expectancy is declining.
Is this more a function of lifestyle/success or because the states have the worst healthcare system in the G7. A healthcare system where only the well off are cared for?

Jul. 01 2011 10:35 AM

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