Welfare is about employment, education, health (physical and mental), pensions, financial and non-financial contributions to our well-being. As such it is today a fundamental part of our wealth, of the wealth of nations. The two — wealth and welfare — are inseparable: the production of wealth provides the resources for the development of welfare.
It is fitting for the last year of the millennium to be the International Year of Older Persons, with the theme “towards a society for all ages” — a society that does not caricature older persons as pensioners, but sees them as both agents and beneficiaries of development”.*
With this issue of the European Papers on the New Welfare, we again try to stimulate research, discussion and pratical solutions on one of the key issues of our society: the lengthening of the life cycle which little by little is extending the world over. The present financial turmoil is also adding particular significance to the subject, and we would like here to stress some major points:
It was in October 2004 that the first conference on “Strategies for the New Welfare Society in the Larger Europe” took place in Trieste, organized by The Risk Institute, The Geneva Association, the Club of Rome and The Central European Initiative, with the patronage of the Autonomous Region Friuli – Venezia Giulia. This event gave birth to the “European Papers on the New Welfare”, with the contribution of Macros Research. The programme was published in issue 1 of these Papers.
Why do these EUROPEAN PAPERS ON THE NEW WELFARE exist?
Who is supporting them?
This time let us answer these questions first:
• this magazine exists because a number of people believe that the phenomenon of a longer life-cycle (extending little by little to the whole world) is a crucial factor in the present and future development of our society. This is a true revolution, concerning culture, economics, social justice, individuals, family life and political institutions. Fundamental issues are at stake: intergenerational solidarity, the capacity of the younger to better manage their future life cycle, the capacity and possibility of the older to integrate in an open society. In other words, to provide and manage hope, vision and results for everybody’s life. This ‘problematique’ (as The Club of Rome calls it) is so challenging that it should mobilize more and more all those who feel they should also look beyond their immediate interests. Read More
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:
‘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’).