The lengthening of the life cycle is a decisive social and economic event — possibly a real revolution — with an extended impact over the coming decades, particularly in view of the rebuilding of the welfare society in its many facets.
This issue of the EUROPEAN PAPERS ON THE NEW WELFARE, contributes to the exploration of various fundamental issues in the following order:
• the first article shows that the lengthening of the life cycle (the wrongly termed phenomenon of the ageing of societies) is NOT only a matter of concern for the older generations. Very young authors (Fernandez and Wollgam) stress the point that this is a key issue on which the building of the future for the YOUNGER generations largely depends;
• the second, a wide ranging study by Yehuda Kahane, reminds us that the present demographic trends are by-products of profound technological changes which have lead us to a post- industrial society, defined by Alvin Toffler as a ‘third wave’. It is what the Risk Institute defines as the transformation of our economy into a ‘Service Economy’ — as described at the end of this publication. this analysis provides the reference background or context against which the present demographic changes are taking place. All this requires a broad rethinking and refinement of the complementary relationship between private and public functions;
• quality of life and sustainable development are other important aspects linked to the lengthening of the life cycle, as analysed by Aleksander ZidanŠek;
• the study by Richard Jackson and Neil Howe on the Greying of the Middle Kingdom (China) is a powerful indication that the counter-ageing society is a genuine global issue, extending in time to all parts of the earth;
• why is it that we seem to believe that retirement is like living Sundays seven days a week? asks Patrick Liedtke, referring to the ‘Bismark’s Pension Trap’ in the context of the German pension problem;
• long term care as discussed in the United States is the important contribution by Yung-Ping Chen. This is a specific, sometimes dramatic issue, which requires strong solidarity and efficient welfare measures;
• the scientific contribution of Enrico Tongiorgi proposes an evolutionary view of the role of the brain in regulating lifespan. Great developments await us in this area as in most other scientific fields of research;
• technology-based services supporting ageing in place are described by Nicola Pangher. An area of practical applications of the greatest importance;
• the double helix of learning and work is the formula to promote human capital via vocational contents in higher education extended to at least those of 76 years of age.
• Monika Queisser provides a very useful view from the OECD of the private pension provisions;
• the role and function of the insurance industry in facing the lengthening of the life cycle is clearly analysed by Fausto Marchionni;
• Maciej Duszczick and Jakub Wiśniewski provide a comparative perspective of the polish pension system;
• finally, Tudor Modovan introduces us to the same issue for Romania.
All these contributions, although varied, cover but a fraction of the issues confronting us in the new counter-ageing society. In the previous issue in Italian (No. 3) we have dealt in more detail with the situation in Italy (employment and work, pension funds, incentives for late retirement etc), the contribution of psychology in the ageing process, the biological basis of ageing and have also presented studies on the lengthening of the life-cycle in Finland, Denmark, Holland and Switzerland.
We also remind readers that the English version of the EUROPEAN PAPERS aims at increasing the contributions from the Eastern European countries, as proposed at the founding conference of SEED (South East European Division) of the World Academy of Art and Science, held last November in Zagreb.
In our effort to establish the EUROPEAN PAPERS ON THE NEW WELFARE as a significant contributor in the making of the COUNTER-AGEING SOCIETY we welcome comments and proposals from our readers.
Tags: counter-ageing, Editorial, new welfare