Aging

Aging

Global Aging is considered to be a significant problem today. Although, the effects of it are not crucial now, many scientists believe that it will become the biggest economic and social problem in the nearest future.

Peter Peterson (1999), in his article Gray Dawn: The Global Aging Crisis, highlighted two major problems of aging. The first one is the fiscal and economic consequences of aging and the second one is the impact of aging on foreign policy and international security. The author states that increase in the number of the elderly population will cause serious economic problems because the tax-paying burden will be on the working-age people. Moreover, the real GDP may decline because labor productivity may not rise fast enough to compensate for the loss of workers. According to the author, the problem of international security may occur because the demand for young workers will increase and the number of soldiers will decline. The only way to maintain an army at the high level will be to invest into technology and weaponry. However, it will be difficult for the government as they will have to invest into the high-tech medicine.

The economic problem occurs because of the size and quality of the workforce (Bloom, Boersch-Supan, McGee, & Seike, 2011). The quality of life is increasing while the fertility rate is decreasin every year. This means that the amount of old people is increasing while the percentage of the workforce is decreasing. However, in many developed countries pensioners live a long time after they retire. For example, according to World Health Organization, in OECD countries, in 2007, the average man left the labor force at the age of 64 or earlier could expect 18 years of retirement (WHO, 2011). The idea of retirement was to help old people who cannot earn ones living. Today, many retired people can easily continue working, but it is obvious that they chose retirement instead. The forecast, written in Peterson’s article, can already be noticed in the world. For example, in 2006 Germany raised the retirement age, and is going to do it again in the nearest future. However, in most countries people do not agree with such policy. The problem is that they simply do not understand that the changes in policies are inevitable and working age must be increased in order to keep the economy strong. As Peterson (1999) states, the problem of global warming is discussed more intensive by the societies than the aging problem. However, the second one is more crucial and definite.

In his article, Peterson claims that in the future developed countries will have to spend on defense as much as they do today. However, the United States which has the biggest army in the world is thinkinng over cutting their military spending in the nearest future (Daileda, 2014). The countries are unlikely to spend a lot on defense, because the modern world has more serious ways to conflict than military ones. Economic wars are more effective and less costly. Peterson (1999) writes that spending on high-tech weaponry will be impossible because of spending on high-tech medicine. In fact, the decision is much easier because the governments should promote a healthy lifestyle in order to save money for medicine. Today’s society is based on profit gaining; in addition, smoking, drinking and other bad habits are advertised more than healthy food and sports.

The increase of average life expectancy is recognized as one of the greatest achievements of the previous century (Aiyar, 2007). On the one hand, it can bring numerous problems and challenges to the society. Also, it can benefit the society because the families will be bigger, they can keep and transmit their values and traditions. All the problems scientists expect to appear are not insurmountable. This is a task for the government to develop proper public policies, design new pension system, insist on saving money for retirement from the working-age period and promote the healthy way of life. Moreover, it is important to create programs and social packages for young families to increase the birthrate.   

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