As the Intergenerational Report has recently brought to our attention, we are on the cusp of new age.
An age, where across the globe, we will live longer than ever before.
The report provides a solid statistical analysis of the demographics trends of ageing and how this might affect Australia's future economy in terms of skills shortages and productivity. It talks about how we expect there will be fewer people to pay for aged and heath care services for older people, and the efficiency of financial structures such as superannuation.
The trends in the report most definitely show that, if we continue on in the same way, with the same models, we have reason for concern for our future.
It has been fascinating to read and watch the media coverage on that followed the release of the report. Some of the coverage is about sharing the statistics, some of it is an analysis of how the financial models need to change, much of the coverage is negative to the point of positioning the generations against each other with headlines such as "We’re getting richer, so why shouldn’t Gen Y subsidise baby boomers?"
While these are legitimate questions I believe the way forward is better served by bringing the generations together, rather than in opposition.
We should be asking ourselves
"What mental models must we adopt to create alternative futures for an ageing population?'.
"How can young and old work together to co-create the alternative models for employment, finance and housing?"
"How can bridge the gap between the existing paradigm of ageing (which is largely about decay and decline) and adopt a new paradigm that acknowledges longevity and create alternative, equitable models for work, housing, super, health (etc.)?"
The current realities described in the Intergenerational Report are ones that we have created.
Equally, we can create alternatives. We can create a new horizons that give people choice and agency as they get older.
It is up to us to chose to do so. To test our assumptions and beliefs, and consider what it will take to create the futures we are seeking for young and old alike.