The Grey Challenge

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  • The Grey Challenge
    • Causes
      • Some diseases and conditions that were previously untreatable are now easily dealt with
      • Technical and economic progress has led to reductions in birth and death rates
      • Fertility rates have been falling fast in MEDCs
      • Lower birth rates typically accompany industrial and economic development
      • Improved primary health care and screening
      • Development of new drugs and general advances in medical knowledge and treatment
      • Increased life expectancy and the consequent lowering of death rates is also important
      • Fertility rates are also decreasing in LEDCs
    • Global Trends
      • Expected doubling of the number of people over 60 in the world from 600 million (10% of the world total) in 2000 to 1.4 billion (about 16% of the predicted total) in 2030
      • Pensioners will then outnumber children in Europe and North America for the first time
      • Much of the predicted increase will be from the better developed LEDCs, especially in Asia
      • Welfare systems in the EU tend to be more generous than in the USA, but even the US public pension scheme is expected to go into deficit between 2015-2020
      • ~25% of European countries' GDP goes on welfare spending
        • ~50% is spent on pensions
    • Positive Economic Effects
      • New niche markets e.g. stair lifts and wheelchairs
      • Service sector has been boosted by use of leisure and recreational facilities at off-peak times
      • Some large properties that previously had little commercial value were turned into residential homes and became profitable
      • Many pensioners are good travellers and have extended the tourist season, allowing hotels and tour companies to spread their costs over more of the year
      • 1 million people in the UK over 65 are in employment
      • Customers want to talk to someone mature
    • Negative Economic Effects
      • Local councils with a higher percentage of dependents will have to spend more on specialist facilities (e.g. hospitals and care homes)
      • Welfare Systems exist in all MEDCs and cover pensions, health care and social security
        • Pensions
          • The proportion of working people creating wealth and paying direct taxes is decreasing
          • The proportion of elderly people who are dependent on pensions is increasing
            • Eventually the amount being paid in will be less than the amount that needs to be paid out
              • The proportion of working people creating wealth and paying direct taxes is decreasing
      • Government spending and investment has to be cut in other areas; taxes rise
      • Stock market crashes are expected in 2024 when the baby boomers cash in their shares
      • Older workers with more experience are more expensive
    • Statistics for the UK Area
      • By 2030, 56% of Britons will be working to support the 27% who are retired
      • Currently 60% of Britons work and pay the state pension for 21% of the population who are retired
      • 33% increase between 2002 and 2012 in the number of those aged 90 and over
      • Two funding arrangements for pensions in the UK
        • Pay-as-you-go
          • The current working generation pays some of their income into the state system that uses the money to the currently retired generation
        • Self-funded
          • Private pension provision - individuals make personal contributions into private pension schemes or join an occupational pension scheme. The funds are invested in shares and build up over time. Favour with government as it shifts some of the funding obligations away
      • B&Q (DIY Company) has a good hiring policy for the elderly - 1/5 of their employees are over 50
    • Solutions
      • Cost of current pension systems must be reduced - "downsizing"
        • Higher retirement age, due to a higher life expectancy
        • Reduced levels of benefit by changing the basis for its circulation (e.g. by indexing pension rises by the retail price index not average earnings)
        • Flatter structure of benefits to target the poor better
        • Increase Taxes
      • Take away investment from other areas
      • Change attitudes to reduce ageism in jobs to help the economy
      • Allow immigration
        • helps dependency ratio
      • Encourage a higher birth rate through benefit schemes etc
    • Positive Social Effects
      • Hopefully the age-bias that job-recruiters often have will disappear as the average working age increases
      • Older workers have more experience
      • Opportunity to reshape communities
      • Online banking is becoming easier for older people to use
      • Elderly workers are flexible, have a strong work ethic and bring experience and maturity with them
      • Younger people benefit from working alongside someone older
      • Intergenerational working boosts morale
  • Welfare Systems exist in all MEDCs and cover pensions, health care and social security
    • Pensions
      • The proportion of elderly people who are dependent on pensions is increasing
        • Eventually the amount being paid in will be less than the amount that needs to be paid out

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