“Live Each Day As If It Was Your Last” quote wanders around for a while, so here’s a quick thought on this.
First, those living their days as their last don’t live well. The poor in developing countries face many life-threatening risks. These risks make their ordinary days more like their last days. Technically, it means lower discount rates:
An annual discount rate stands at 8–15% in developing countries and at 3–7% in developed ones. Since the rate discounts exponentially, poor nations basically ignore the future.
Short-sighted decisions, which high discount rates are about, hurt the present. Families save less, banks have fewer deposits, businesses borrow and hire reluctantly, so the economy grows slowly and incomes stagnate. People avoid long-term commitments because they don’t expect to live that long. In street terms, the last-day thinking leads to more crimes, less education, and post-apocalyptic surroundings. How about wages equaling 1/10th of those in Europe and US?
Europe had them in the Middle Ages. The Church tried to raise the discount rate artificially by promising eternal existence. (“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”) The attempt didn’t impressed the congregation, which sinned like crazy. After all, the problem was solved differently.
For this, it’s even more surprising to hear the last-day advice after all these years of hurting experience.