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:
1. Demographic transition
Barely 20 years ago the world was confronted with a population explosion. Now we witness a more complex phenomenon: while in some countries population is exponentially increasing resulting in an age distribution where the majority are younger than 25, in most of the developed countries the fertility rate has dropped to about 1.5 (considerably lower than the replacement level of 2.1) and the life expectancy has increased resulting in the number of persons older than 60 becoming greater than the number of those under 25.
by Raimondo Cagiano de Azevedo
University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’
Vincenzo Marigliano says that we have cultural barriers to the accepting of some evidences from the medical or the statistical point of view. I would like to do the same exercise with you: to read the same data with the current cultural barriers and without them.
‘Society is getting older’ — how often have we heard this statement! but it is mistaken. The lengthening of the life cycle, involving better physical and mental conditions in most cases, introduces us to a counter-ageing society, where the older generations are clearly ‘younger’ than they have been in the past (in Italian this is called the process of ‘svecchiamento’).