Choose your way to age: there are four

We live immersed in a revolution that is changing our way of life and our future.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
14 May 2024 Tuesday 04:30
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Choose your way to age: there are four

We live immersed in a revolution that is changing our way of life and our future. And the new world... is old. For the first time, the vast majority of countries are simultaneously reducing their birth rates and increasing their life expectancy, leaving UN demographic projections, which often fall short, falling behind reality.

Soon, the birth rate of our species, thanks to an India that increasingly looks like China, will fall below the replacement rate. And more humans will die every day than will be born. The world shrinks.

In Europe we already live twice as long now as before the industrial revolution. In Spain – the pandemic took away our years – men (obviously the weaker sex) live 81.2 years on average and women, 86.7.

Andrew Scott, from the London Business School, points out four models for aging as people and as a society, because demography is the destiny of people: the first would be a Dorian Gray, who always lives young and suddenly becomes old and dies; the second, Jonathan Swift's Struldbruggs, immortal but increasingly decrepit; the third, Peter Pan, always young; and the fourth, Marvel's Wolverine, who ages, but knows how to regenerate and rejuvenate.

The choice means that each individual and society opt for certain lines of scientific, socio-health and pension research. And the current model of studying for 25 years; Working for 35 and collecting the pension for another 35 is unsustainable.

We will have to work for more years; but not only: we will also have to educate ourselves, retire and re-employ ourselves several times throughout a life that, much sooner than what the UN said, will be 100 years on average.

Financing it requires earning a salary at 60, 70 and beyond, which is common today in jobs in the US, but much less so here. Demographers warn that what these new systems cannot be are mandatory, because their success depends on a great personal and collective effort to embrace age diversity from the classrooms to the boards of directors.