Choose how to age: there are four ways

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

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
14 May 2024 Tuesday 05:50
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Choose how to age: there are four ways

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 the birth rate and increasing life expectancy, leaving the UN's demographic projections, which always fall short, behind reality.

Soon the birth rate of our species, thanks to an India that looks more and more 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 years away from us – 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 peoples: the first would be a Dorian Gray, who lives forever 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 assumes that each individual and society opts for certain lines of scientific, socio-health and pension research. And the fact is that the current model of studying for 25 years, working for 35 and collecting the pension for another 35 is unsustainable.

It will be necessary to work more years, but not only: we will also have to educate ourselves, retire and return to work several times throughout a life that, long before what the UN said, will be 100 years on average.

Funding it requires earning a salary in your 60s, 70s and beyond, common in American workplaces today, but much less so here. Demographers warn that the only thing these new systems cannot be is mandatory, because their success depends on a great personal and collective effort to embrace ageist diversity from the classroom to the boards of directors.