The topic here is not ageing, but the evolution towards a long life society.
Admittedly, life expectancy is increasing, but the age at which someone can be considered to be old is rising in parallel. Since 1945, life expectancy in France has lengthened by 17 years for men and by 19 years for women. The figures for Japan are even more striking: 32 years for women and 28 years for men. To be aged 72, as I am, is not the same thing as it was in 1945 or in 1900. In France, 70% of those aged over 70 live without health worries. In 2040 the number of people aged over 75 will be the same as the number aged over 60 in 1940.
Modern societies are trying to develop concepts that allow them to protect their citizens and at the same time stay competitive in the globalized markets. The approach of the new welfare state is no longer to arrange for full coverage of (ideally) all risks but to replace the existing extraordinarily expensive systems with more targeted and efficient approaches. They achieve this through requiring people to assume more risks individually and to organise adequate protection themselves. This is the so-called ‘risk shift from public to private’, a concept we have been developing for a number of years at The Geneva Association1.