Mélina FRANGIADAKIS English paper4RI1 30/10/072
2. Economic and social consequences of the ageing population.
Global ageing deeply affects economics and society. The median age of the world populationis expected to rise from 38 years at present in the most developed countries to 46 years in2050. At a microeconomics level, it implies a
change in labour productivity
. At amacroeconomics level, labour will become scarce. Since
the number of working age peopleis bound to fall
, the relative price of labour will change. We can also easily imagine a loss of GDP at a worldwide level.This is not a projection. This change in the structure of work is happening right now in Chinawhich is about to lose its position of « world’s workshop » that the country had won thanks toits numerous and cheap workforce. Some factories already left the East Coast of China (i.e theregion which had boomed the economy of the country) because the workforce became tooexpensive, less competitive.In Japan where one can observe rural exodus, it has become very difficult for elderly farmersto keep on working, since the agriculture is sustained by a collective effort. In a village namedOgama, local people even have decided to make their town disappear from the map ! Othervillages will be administratively reorganized i.e will become part of another city.All this raises obviously the problem of the pensions and of the healthcare systems.
Publicspending is projected to increase
as a direct budgetary consequence of the ageing of population to cover those costs. Recent studies show that there should be 1 dependent personfor 4 working-aged people in 2050, instead of 1 for 10 at present. But in addition to thefinancing of pensions, other areas of public spending depend on the age structure (education,family subsidies…) and will be transformed.There should be 2 billion people aged 60 or over in 2050.
This increasing number of « seniors » among the consummers will for sure affect the consumption markets
in eachcountry. The sector of old people’s home and care will be developed because working-agepeople do not have time any more to look after their parents.
3. Other demographic issues.
We have seen, in the set of articles we studied, that global ageing would probably be the mostpreoccupying concern for industrialized countries in the next future. However, it is not theonly demographic shock we have to face. Indeed, the documents we studied point out at least2 other underestimated issues : AIDS and gender inequality. I will also say a word of international immigration which I think, is worth mentioning too.
is another consequence of some fertility policies such as China’spreference for sons (118 boys are being born for 100 girls). Besides the problem of abortionsand infanticides it causes, it contributes as the generation is growing up, to a serious genderimbalance. It concretely means that millions of Chinese men will have no chance to getmarried. Same problem in India, where rural families want to get boys only, not to paydowries when their child gets married.
AIDS currently decimates entire countries
. Sub-Saharan Africa is in a dire situationregardind HIV-infection spread. Since we focused on Europe and Asia, we did notexpressively mention it during the class but AIDS in Africa is a real challenge for the