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Homo sapiens is ageing fast, and the implications of this may overwhelm all other factors shaping the species over the coming decades – with more wrinklies than pimplies, more walking frames than bike stabilisers, more slippers and pipes than bootees and buggies, and more grey power than student power. The longevity revolution affects every country, every community and almost every household. It promises to restructure the economy, reshape the family, redefine politics and even rearrange the geopolitical order over the coming century.

This is frightening, even for rich nations. In Germany, France and Japan, there are fewer than two taxpaying workers to support each retired pensioner. In Italy, the figure is already fewer than 1.3. Some predict that the world will face a wave of “ageing recessions”.

No texto da New Scientist tem um contraponto ao que vai acima interessantíssimo. Um tanto romântico, é verdade, mas interessante.

“Ageing,” he wrote, “is the best thing that has happened in the modern world, a cultural and ethical shift that looks a lot like sanity.”

At 50, we do not expect to act or feel as we did at 20 – nor at 80 as we did at 50. The same is true of societies. What will it be like to live in societies that are much older than any we have known? We are going to find out, because the ageing of the human race is one of the surest predictions of this century. If the 20th century was the teenage century, the 21st will be the age of the old: it will be pioneered by the ageing baby boomers who a generation ago took the cult of youth to new heights. Without the soaring population and so many young overachievers, the tribal elders will return. More boring maybe, but wiser, surely.

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