Random thought. If end-of-life health care costs eat up 33% of US health care spending = $850 billion, then that means that if you could make people less afraid of dying and more willing to accept it, you would save = make a colossal amount of money. (In fact $850bn = roughly ten years of revenues of US President Obama’s optimistic projection if he raises taxes on the richest Americans.)
In other words, changing people’s attitudes could add 10% to the GDP of the biggest economy in the world.
Random thought #2. If we’re interested in maximising utility across the economy rather than increasing production levels, then perhaps the most important field of research is not bioengineering but the psychology of satisfaction. If you could figure out how to make people appreciate the things they have and not covet the things others have, then gross utility would shoot way up. How much? Billions? Maybe even on the order of the entire economy itself?