Thursday, February 02, 2012

World Economic Forum on Global Aging, Releasing Social Capital

In advance of the winter meeting in Davos, the World Economic Forum released a book on global aging, addressing many issues, including how individuals find fulfillment, at what age they retire, and their quality of life once they do retire; how governments devise social contracts to provide financial security; how the older and younger generations interact as they divide up the economic pie; how businesses staff their jobs to compensate in many countries for shrinking workforces; and how health systems respond to the altered needs of those living longer.

With respect to the aging workforce itself, Global Population Ageing: Peril or Promise? has essays on:
  • "Population Ageing: Macro Challenges and Policy Responses" by David E. Bloom, Axel Börsch-Supan, Patrick McGee and Atsushi Seike, who, among other things, suggest that "To adapt and possibly benefit from an increasingly aged world, businesses must shift organizational structures and practices in a number of areas.";
  • "Social Capital, Lifelong Learning and Social Innovation" by Simon Biggs, Laura Carstensen and Paul Hogan, who conclude that "[i]f societies are to adapt, steps will need to be taken to release the social capital that is locked up in their older citizens. This potential would include the application of accrued social and emotional intelligence, an understanding of the ways things interact with each other and an ability to place single events in their wider perspective.";
  • "Organizational Adaptation and Human Resource Needs for an Ageing Population" by Atsushi Seike, Simon Biggs and Leisa Sargent, who suggest that "Organizational adaptation will be a key element in achieving the human resource needs for a world with fewer younger workers and greater numbers of older workers. Where older people continue working, it can create a virtuous circle for public policy, whereby individuals continue to pay taxes while not drawing down on benefits systems."; and
  • "Ageing Workforces and Competitiveness: A European Perspective" by Giles Archibald and Raymond Brood, who recommend focusing on flexible work, eldercare, flexible retirement solutions, training and working conditions.
Source: Fox News"Economies thrive on older staff, new social policy book claims" (January 31, 2012)

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