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In a previous question I asked about a race that is extremely close to humans except for the fact that they physically and mentally (as in the acuity of the brain) stop aging somewhere between the ages of 25 and 35 (depending on environment and genetics, like human puberty). In the end they have roughly equivalent lifespans to humans.

If we assume that we wave our hands and impose on this species a society much like the modern cultures of the first-world of Earth (non-specific, you may specify in your answer if you feel it's important to do so), how would this affect professions (and the professionals who fulfill these professions and their respective careers) in both the short term (<5 years), medium term (<25 years), and long term (<100 years).

To clarify, these individuals stop aging. They are still capable of the same mental and emotional growth of humans but their body physically stops aging (including the brain). In short you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a 25-35 year old and an 80 year old.

Specifically, for point of comparison, focusing on the following professional groups:

  • High-skilled labor, such as doctors, lawyers, and researchers
  • Political professionals (governors, mayors, representatives)
  • Unskilled labor, such as factory workers or fast food servers
  • Military personnel

To clarify, I'm not concerned with other effects (for example, we're hand-waving the social effects of suddenly there no longer being aged members within the society and the panic that might cause). The scope is exclusively the professions, their professionals, and the careers of the professionals, and how these topics might affect society.

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you talking about biological development? The body stops growing prior to that age anyway so it wouldn't have much impact. If not that, are you suggesting that they are incapable of thought development/gaining wisdom/perspective based on training/education/experience? $\endgroup$ – James Jul 22 '16 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ When you say "stop aging" are you implying that the typical breakdown of body and mind do not occur? As in, someone who has been alive for eighty years is biologically "identical" to their twenty-five-year-old self? $\endgroup$ – Avernium Jul 22 '16 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Avernium They could still scar from injuries, be blinded by chemicals in their eyes, etc, but the normal long-term wear and tear we associate from just living and surviving life need not apply. So barring specific external forces their 80-year-old body would be the same as their 25-35 year old self. Looking at a member of their species that's 80, you wouldn't be able to guess if he was 80 or 30. $\endgroup$ – Ranger Jul 22 '16 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ @GaretClaborn I mean not immortal but valid point, but it would depend on the sport. Female gymnastics tend to have a limited window that they can compete, typically competing around 16. But yes, being able to accumulate skill and experience over a lifetime would be a massive boon to some sports, good point! $\endgroup$ – Ranger Jul 22 '16 at 20:00
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    $\begingroup$ Im especially curious what competition and trading would look like. When each generation's "legendary" players dont retire. Is it harder and harder for new players? More leagues? Do young players feel pressure to dope? stuff.. probably similarities in other fields too. oh my.... actors not retiring..yeesh.. $\endgroup$ – Garet Claborn Jul 22 '16 at 20:07
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One overarching thing to think about regardless of type of profession to think about in the first world is this: retirement. Most people don't exit the workforce because they are physically or mentally incapable of continuing, they do so because they have accumulated enough resources and eliminated debt such that they can live a more leisurely life. I imagine this effect might even be amplified in such a world, because the retirees would be "young" enough to travel, play sports, go skydiving, or do just about anything they fancy. They would have the youth and the money to enable a killer retirement.

Highly Skilled Positions:

A major factor is mental acuity. If an engineer or professor is just as alert at 80 as they were at 30, and they happened to be passionate enough about their profession to not want to retire, perhaps they would die doing what they loved. If not, these are typically the individuals (along with politicians) with the most money in the bank at retirement, which could make for a very luxurious and/or exciting last quarter of life.

Political Professionals:

Exciting retirement from above applies equally. Politicians can no longer accuse their opponents of being (mentally) old and senile. This might cause a stagnation of political power, as physical appearance plays a surprisingly important role in persuasion (and politics aren't about facts - they're about persuasion and emotional manipulation). I think attractive females would have a much larger pull in politics - both because they would remain perpetually appealing, and because the electorate of males would have the sexual drive and hormonal composition of a twenty-something. It's much easier to look the other way when the person doing wrong is a smokin' hot lady. (Source: I am a male twenty-something).

Unskilled Labor:

This will vary across different professions. For physically intensive jobs like construction or factory workers, consider that younger bodies are less prone to injury and heal more quickly. Physical strength won't diminish either, keeping workers in those positions much longer. I would label such jobs semi-skilled, though: it takes time to train someone in factory processes, and the like, which is some form of job security.

It could spell doom for the totally unskilled workforce. The available workforce would be much larger across the board with unskilled labor, so that could mean a much quicker replacement if you screw up at your job. Like in our world (but maybe more so), it means lower pay because "anyone can do your job," except the supply of workers is now much higher than the demand.

Military Personnel:

First, it would mean that at no age do men (and women, if that's the way your society works) become ineligible for selective service (a.k.a. draft). Again, bodies heal faster and are less prone to injury, potentially extending soldiers' life expectancy. These effects work on both sides of the fight, though, so I could see wars of attrition lasting longer as more troops may be drafted and experienced troops survive better.

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  • $\begingroup$ Some really insightful points. $\endgroup$ – Ranger Jul 22 '16 at 19:33
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If there is no difference between a 25 year old and an 80 year old, then that 80 year old is capable of getting pregnant and having a baby.

So instead of women who have to put their career on hold to have kids, then never quite catching up on the career ladder again, you could have women who have a high powered career and then retire at 60 to have their kids. (I'm assuming these are responsible people who don't have a kid at 80 because they know average life expectancy is 86. Though if there is no age related degeneration, then life expectancy may have leaped up to 96 or 106).

High pressure professions may develop an ethos of 'career first, kids later', and not bother with funding maternity or paternity leave.

Alternatively, perhaps people will not vote for a politician who spouts stuff about 'family values' but has decided not to have kids for another 30 years?

If this tradition continues, these women will never see their grandchildren, because their own kids will also wait until they are 60 to produce them.

I've deliberately not mentioned fathers, because Dad could be any age from a 16 to 80. After all, if all women look 25-35 then guys turning up their noses at older women will be on the basis of personality, looks ("I prefer blondes") or common interests ("You like jazz and Star Wars too?").

Meanwhile, your unskilled labour can spend 30 years flipping burgers and then still have plenty of time to decide to get an education, go to university and become a lawyer or researcher. Providing they've saved for their tuition fees, of course. But then, they've had 30 years to do that!

And finally, enforced early retirement ages for professions like the police will vanish.

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I am not certain that I have the answer you are looking for, but I do have an answer...
As you will find throughout life, there are 'phases' i.e. the 'terrible twos, the rebellious teen, the party animal, the homemakers, etc etc.

These predictable changes in life do not end just because one reaches any particular age, only death stops the changes. As found in Gail Sheehy's "Passages" There are predictable, even inevitable crisis that follow every person in life.

Our aging and maturation process produces biological change in us that is reflected in our personalities, our likes, dislikes and our interests.

For most of your proposed people, these processes might be taken into stride, however for those 'professions' that require decades of study, or corporate ladder climbing, I propose that the lack of biochemical changes associated with aging would necessitate other mechanisms to allow for the evolution of personality throughout life.

Just as an 80 year old man with Low Testosterone ( age related) will not exhibit the same behaviors as a 28 year old man, other changes would also be missed.

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Ways to deal with this in the workforce.

Long Apprenticeships high skill & politicos

Since careers are longer, the time spent being a "junior" in the whatever field it is might be longer as well. This could apply to anything skilled.

Peak and Diminished Pay high skill

By law, once in a profession for a specific amount of time, the pay will peak, and then slowly drop off in value as they get past a certain age. I can see some folks talking up a new ident illegally and re-starting their careers, since no one can see how old they are.

Term Limits politicos

We have term limits for politicos. Elected officials only get to stay in office in a particular position for a limited amount of time. This has been a thing since, like, at least Middle Ages. I remember reading a book about life in the cities and elected officials (not Feudal Lords, of course) often rotated out. We age, and even we limit the amount of time someone spends in power.

Military

  • Anyone can be drafted, once they are of age. The age might be older than the standard but, there aren't physical barriers.
  • However, age 35 is a time when many people are no longer as capable as they were when they were 20. The aging process has begun, even if it is stopped. I can see mandatory military service being a thing in this society. If anyone, at any age can get called up, you'd want them to be ready.
  • Also--and this is an interesting angle--maybe it's only oldsters that get called in. I mean, at 60 they've already had their lives so now--they get military duty, since there are not big physical problems with them serving.
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