Thursday, April 26, 2012

We, the aged, are the Achilles heel!

I saw China's Achilles heel in the print edition of Indian Express today. It disturbed me and I have been trying to understand why.

The first factor was the demographic dividend has seemed like a  joke to me. I can easily rationalize that belief based on my efforts to find competent people to recruit in India.

But that wasn't it. What troubles me are statements like
But rapid ageing also means China faces what is called the “4-2-1 phenomenon”: each only child is responsible for two parents and four grandparents. Even with high savings rates, it seems unlikely that the younger generation will be able or willing to afford such a burden.
The number of those just setting out (those in their early 20s, who are usually the best educated and most productive members of society) will have halved.
These statements reflect the implicit assumption that we, the aging, are unproductive liabilities. What they may lead to in a period of crisis is frightening especially in societies where money is becoming the only way to decide.

Ian McEwan's protagonists are aging as time progresses. I look forward to a book written by him where the protagonist is now an aging unproductive member of the society.

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