Growing Old Disgracefully…lots of us!

I think this is the maxim for later life. And according to some new statistics 2 million people who are now 50 will reach the age of 100.

Thats a lot of people behaving badly!

Coupled with this is that sometime during 2011 the population of the world is expected to hit 7 billion people. In context the population in 1960 was 3 billion. By 2045, on current estimates, there will be 9 billion people sharing the planet.

So, were getting older and there’s going to be an awful lot more of us.

The question that is exercising some people is can the the human population be sustained on the planet?

I think that the answer is a guarded yes.

But the way in which we live and consume will need to change. If we are going to live to 100, we are unlikely to be able to make sufficient money in our (short) working lives to live on for a 35 year retirement (Assuming we get jobs aged 24/5 and retire at 65). 40 years of work to pay for 35 years of retirement doesn’t add up.

It’s no wonder the Government have scrapped the ‘default retirement age’.

We aren’t going to be able to consume in the same way either – particularly in our use of fossil fuels. We will need to kerb our carbon emissions to avoid mass global warming. Our insatiable appetite for consumer goods will challenge our natural resources.

But the reason I don’t see armageddon is that we have been pretty good at adapting – that’s what we humans do best. The population of the world in 1930 was 2 billion and scholarly folk at that time were concerned about population growth.

But the key word is adaptation – we need to radically think about our impact on the world we live in. Unfortunately we need to do this soon – as this stuff is all likely to happen in our lifetimes…

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7 comments on “Growing Old Disgracefully…lots of us!

  1. Interesting that population growth is a precursor to economic growth, and vice versa…see Black death in medieval Europe. Malthus was wrong.

  2. I can see the Office of the Future now: a Parker Knoll break-out area for a quick 40 winks, Quiet FM on the piped music, a turbocharger for the aircon ‘when it gets bitter’, and a Horlicks dispenser.

  3. Now there’s a challenge for you, John: in design/creative terms how do you address the, um, mature market? Creative work is commonly seen as something for that tedious 18-35 demographic, but if there are going to be more wrinklies around is that going to change the way we market/design things?

  4. Richard. I would say that is a pretty simple challenge. It’s about appropriateness for the task.

    Speaking to any audience is about treating them with respect and helping them to move forward, gently and not shocking them into something that makes them uncomfortable. Not trying to drive them into ‘yoof’ culture, but delivering something that is fit for purpose and makes them feel good about their decision.

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