The Push Is on For Elderly Assisted Suicide

"The assisted suicide in Switzerland of the aged scientist David Goodall — and the media swoon over the event — has pushed the assisted-suicide advocacy envelope beyond the dying to the elderly." National Review

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Andrew K's picture


Let’s say more of the world moves to a Netherlands-style euthanasia law.  While euthanasia is at first based on individual consent, it usually evolves into a “in unclear cases your spouse or guardian has the actual say.”

How will this affect bargaining power within the family?  Here are a few options:

1. Family members will be much nicer to each other, ex ante, so they will be kept around for longer if they come down sick.

1b. Because of time consistency problems, family members won’t be much nicer with each other.

1c. You fear that family members aren’t willing enough to pull the plug on you, so you become actively less nice.

2. Family members will be much more anxious with each other, because they will so often be wondering how the others will wish to dispose of them, and when.

3. Some family members will make explicit ex ante deals, such as: “You can send me to my doom when the time comes, with a clear conscience, but on Tuesday nights we’re going to watch my game shows, not your reality TV.”

4. “It stresses me out that you are stressed out over my dying, so I will apply for euthanasia right here and now, even though I still have nine months to live with my cancer.  Except I will tell you that I just don’t want to live any longer, so you don’t feel bad about why I am doing this.”

5. You have no family and given your illness you are a net revenue drain on your nursing home.  If you go back to live out your final days, you’ll end up with the worst room and less spicy food and no private TV.  You agree to euthanasia, granted that they send $20,000 to your favorite charity.  You leave this earth with a warm glow, feeling that 20k probably saved at least one life.  In reality, with p = 0.68 it subsidized someone’s overhead.

What else?

from "Euthanasia and bargaining power within the family," by Tyler Cowen, May 15, 2018 at 2:17 am

Aaron Blumer's picture

Cowen's forecast is, unfortunately, not hard to imagine as a possible future.

From the NR piece: "They always say, 'start a conversation,' and when they win, they insist the conversation must stop." At that point it's "settled science." (Cf. Calif. bill on efforts help those with gender dysphoria)

Bert Perry's picture we want to empower the heirs to decide when the testator dies, given that nursing care is currently north of sixty grand a year in Minnesota?  (says the dad of one, going on two, CNAs, who know what the cost is, and take home a nice little chunk of it)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.