A Special Report on Aging Population

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A special report on ageing populations June 27th 2009

The Economist June 27th 2009

A special report on ageing populations 1

A slow-burning fuse
Also in this section
Su er the little children
Most of the rich world is short of babies.
Page 3

A world of Methuselahs
The bene ts, and the costs, of living longer.
Page 4

The silver dollar
There is money to be made in the grey market, but it takes thought. Page 6

Scrimp and save
Pensions will have to become far less generous. Page 7

Work till you drop
Retirement has got out of hand. Page 9

China’s predicament
Getting old before getting rich. Page 11

Into the unknown
The world has never seen population ageing before. Can it cope? Page 13

Acknowledgments
Many people helped with the preparation of this report. In addition to those mentioned in the text, particular thanks go to Andrew Biggs, David Bloom, Gary Burtless, Mariko
Fujiwara, Chiemi Hayashi, Ludwig Kanzler, Je rey
Kingston, Laurence Kotliko , John Llewellyn, Lu Jiehua,
George Magnus, Atsushi Seike, Machiko Osawa, Haruo
Shimada, Richard Suzman, David Wise and a wealth of experts at the OECD.
A list of sources is at

Economist.com/specialreports
An audio interview with the author is at

Economist.com/audiovideo
More articles about ageing are at

Economist.com/ageing

Age is creeping up on the world, and any moment now it will begin to show. The consequences will be scary, says Barbara Beck

S

TOP thinking for a moment about deep recession, trillion-dollar rescue packages and mounting job losses. Instead, contemplate the prospect of slow growth and low productivity, rising public spending and labour shortages. These are the problems of ageing populations, and if they sound comparatively mild, think again. When the IMF earlier this month calculated the impact of the recent nancial crisis, it found that the costs will indeed be huge: the scal balances of the
G20 advanced countries are likely

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