Trying to find “the golden ratio”, trying to have the right balance…
The aging of the population, especially in Greece, is a forced reality with huge socio-economic impact that concerns us all. The general, prevailing view is that the cause of the problem is the declining birth rate combined with the increased life expectancy. In reality, however, the problem is not that we live longer, but that we live proportionally longer as economically inactive and unproductive people.
Old age now has another dynamic. Older people live longer, in better conditions, with better health and a constantly open window to information, continuing to actively participate in the global economy. Longevity can turn into a major asset for society.
We are concerned – and quite rightly – about the brain-drain in the new generations, but we overlook the internal peculiar brain-drain that is happening today in the generation of sixty-year-olds who “immigrate” compulsorily to the margins of a society which, while it needs them more than ever, awkwardly leads them to the premature “demobilization” from every aspect of economic life.
And, since demographic changes are slow and they are even slower to reverse – especially when prejudices and stereotypes of age discrimination have to be tackled – we have to accept that we have to face a forced and multifaceted reality, the management of which requires new policies and new measures which have not been tested before.
Policies aimed at “Active and Healthy Aging” are needed with a view to create the right conditions so that the population ages in good health and remains economically and socially active. After all, the evidence shows that the longevity economy is the fastest growing market.
The cooperation between generations can only contribute positively to the economy. The state and the businesses should take measures and follow policies that support the reconciliation of work and family life, family and motherhood as well as the active aging, use the skills, the knowledge and the experiences of older workers and avoid any early labour market exit. The strong mix of skills in the workplace is based on a multigenerational workforce as well as on different generational strengths.
Advisor to the ACEO Board