October 14, 2015

There are many reasons we the aging should pray for the young allowing us to fade away with grace

Sir, Manoj Pradhan explores the question: “What will the future hold for the world’s ageing populations” and titles his article “Ageing economies will grow old with grace” October 14. That is indeed a sunny view; let’s pray for it.

When Pradham writes: “The elderly will resist moving out of their homes; a huge wave of construction will be needed to house the young and the millennials” some difficult questions linger: Are the young and the millennials willing to cast themselves as the downstairs and allow the upstairs elderly to stay in their homes? Will the savings and pension plans of the elderly be sufficient for them to stay in their homes? With retirement comes the wish to hold savings more liquid and so who is going to finance that huge wave of construction?

As I have argued for years, bank regulators, with their capital requirements based on perceived credit risk, which has given perceived credit risk too much weight, has caused a stagnant world… and to keep social structures amiable to all in a stagnant world is not an easy task. 

In March 2007 Peter Peterson, in FT, concluded his “Sacrifice can solve the entitlement crisis”, by citing the German theologian Dietrich on the ultimate test in moral society being the world it leaves for the children, and saying that “It is time for us to become worthy and moral ancestors.”

And in August 2006, I had finished an article I sent to FT, but that was not published with the following:

“It is said that in Scandinavia, a long time ago, when the older people felt that they stood in the way of the young, they threw themselves off steep cliffs known as an ättestupa. These days it could seem like quite the opposite, if we consider how our democracies might have been captured by us baby boomers. We need to revise urgently how our society deals with the next generations, before they throw us down an ättestupa—for damned good reasons!”

Sir, there are many reasons we the aging should pray for the young allowing us to fade away with grace.

@PerKurowski ©