Policy Convergence Across an Ageing Society on the Global Stage

Topics: Retirement, Old age, Pension Pages: 11 (3778 words) Published: April 12, 2013
‘Now that the various issues surrounding an ageing society are widely recognised on the global stage, there will be more policy convergence across countries. Discuss.’

The title of this essay, ‘Now that the various issues surrounding an ageing society are widely recognised on the global stage, there will be more policy convergence across countries’, poses several questions to be explored and answered. It questions the issues surrounding an ageing population, and sets the stage for a comprehensive and complete analysis of these problems. The second part of this question requires an in-depth analysis of the policies in place to deal with an ageing population in a comparative format. To answer this complex and multi-layered question, this essay examine the extent of the phenomenon of an ageing society on a global scale, to set the tone and allow you to truly understand the scale of this issue worldwide. After the scale of the problem has ben realized, this essay will then go on to examine the two main problems faced by a government with an ageing population: financial assistance such as pensions and access to healthcare. This will be followed by the comparisons of policies in place by Norway and Greece, to allow a complete comparative analysis of policy. This essay will then examine the Madrid response to ageing societies, and this will display that policy convergence is indeed happening across countries on a large and global scale. At the end of this essay, a conclusion will be followed by a list of all references used to research this article.

The extent of the phenomenon of the ‘ageing society’ worldwide
When the term ‘ageing society’ is mentioned, it could be derived that the first thing to spring to mind would be the elderly living in a society being cared for in nursing homes. For the purposes of this essay, ten different people were asked the question, ‘what do you think of when you hear the term ageing society?’ and this was the response, or some very similar variation. This clearly shows the lack of knowledge of society of the sheer depth of the phenomenon of the ageing society.

A study carried out by the United Nations in association with Help Age International was published in 2012. This study gives some shocking facts into the true extent of an ageing society. According to the study, the ‘old’ sector of society, that being people over sixty years of age, is the fastest growing sector in the world. If this sector is broken down again, it can be divided into two categories, the ‘old’ and the ‘oldest old’. The ‘oldest old’ refers to people who are over eighty years of age, and this is the single most rapidly growing sector of the worldwide population.

To add some figures to back up these arguments, the United Nations report found that in in the year 1950, there were 250 million people in the world that were aged sixty and above. If this is compared to the current figure for 2012 which states there are over 810 million people currently alive that are over sixty years of age, it is clear to see that it is an extremely significant jump. However, the worrying fact is that it is predicted to keep on rising, with a figure of over two billion people estimated will be living in the year 2050 over the age of sixty.

There are several reasons for these sharp increases in population life expectancy. These include much lower fertility rates of the younger generations, better access to medical care, lower infant mortality rates, and better standards of living. The next question to be answered then, is what are the implications of this rapidly expanding sector of the population at a societal level, and how will governments cope? The Issues associated with an Ageing Society

There are many issues associated with an ageing society. These include financing the ageing population in terms of access to healthcare and ensuring they have adequate money to live off, insuring informal support systems for an...

References: United Nations Population Fund (2012) Ageing in the Twenty-First Century: A celebration and a challenge. http://www.unfpa.org/public/op/edit/home/publications/pid/11584
Ervik, R., The Battle of Future Pensions (2008) SAGE Publications
World Health Organization (2002) Active Ageing: A policy Framework. Geneva. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2002/WHO_NMH_NPH_02.8.pdf
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