Aging, Longevity & Our Demographic Destiny

As we bite on our neighbourhood story exchanges about our attitudes towards aging, or how we are dealing with our aging parents, we also chew away on the future of our health care system, pension plans, retirements (or non-retirements) and all that falls out from there. But it’s good that we also nosh on the bigger picture to better understand aging and longevity within the broader global context of social change.

Futurists, demographers, scientists and, as I’ve highlighted several times, entrepreneurs and marketers and other thinkers with a mind share in this, are all taking a stab at decoding the numbers, discussing the issues and exploring the promise and yes, the peril of aging and longevity. I do spend a significant amount of my time noshing on the bigger picture and of late, more of the dots are connecting in my mind.

Our challenge often is that we run the risk of discussing one issue, trend or forecast as a stand-alone without blending it in consideration of another, for example our current frustration about employment insecurities for young people and how to re-calibrate career expectations with a shift in social priorities leading to new business opportunities and work in an aging world. Salt that up with the conversation about how older generations now and well into the future, need or want to work. How will these people re-calibrate the expression of their value?

2050 – isn’t that a long way away?

OG-AG175_2050ov_SOC_20151120194348A number of these futuristic roll-outs, framed by the year 2030 or 2050, appear like a smorgasbord, recycled and reheated every few years, but interestingly to me, the ingredients (world social issues) seem to be congealing. And though we don’t really know for sure, we do seem to have it more within our line of sight, to be able to make choices about the promise of the future we want.

Some will question as if to argue: 2050! Isn’t that a long way away? Depends on your perspective. You may be fifty today and wake up then at 85 reciting Michael Caine’s line from his latest movie Youth, “I wonder how I got here.” Or maybe you are today’s budding centenarian. Bring on 2050 for you.

To stimulate your thinking, along comes this engaging web site from the Wall Street Journal – 2050 Demographic Destiny. There are seven themes:

Population Implosion
End of Cheap Labour
Manufacturing Bust
• Girl’s Life
Gender Gap
Promise of Youth
Aging Gracefully

Click through each of these themes and ask yourself, how are each of these themes interconnected and why should it matter to me, and my global neighbours, even though they may live a world away? We are all getting closer every year. The visuals on this site are well done and if you impose your own mental selfie into each frame, you might find enough to make you think about the big picture and … nosh on.

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