Sunday, April 17, 2011

Aging & Skewed sex ratio

Aging society and the skewed sex ratio are the two main topics in population problem.

To the certain extent, aging of societies is inevitable, requiring changes social system and the way of doing business.

Ceteris paribus, in 2050 2.6 Americans need to support one pensioner, and the staggering figures for France, Germany, Italy and Japan will be 1.9, 1.6, 1.5 and 1.2, respectively. Most say that the best way to cope with the disequilibrium is to make the retirement age raised to 70. There are some virtues in raising of retirement ages: first, the old people will enjoy the increase in lifetime income; second, since the working force increases, the government will see the increase in tax revenue; third, the economy grows thanks to the more working force. To me, increase in the retirement age has additional rationale, given that originally retirement is to enjoy the last days of one’s lives. In the societies with longevity, the retirement age should be adjusted based on the life expectancy.

Users of TV viewer are aging more rapidly than the aging societies. In US, the median age of viewers is around 50. Those median people have their own and fixed tastes, and that is why TV programs mainly target at people with age ranged from 19 to 49 in their promotion. Trends are the same in newspaper readers. In US, 45% of newspaper’s readers are over 55, and in Japan the average is circa 50. Big chunk of their sales is coming from subscription of older people. Same are in the music industry. For many of the companies, the aging is realized as costs, but it potentially is opportunity. Some companies succeed in taking advantage of old people as work force. They have knowledge which would not be depreciated shortly, experience and network. If I were an entrepreneur, I will start my business with more than one elderly person. The faster switch across the industries is mainly due to progress of IT. Younger generation switched their source of information from paper-based ones to internet-based ones faster than the older generation. The transition is unavoidable, and the shakeout of the newspaper firms would be accelerated. In the case of newspaper, only those with strong contents (personally speaking, WSJ, FT and Economists are the ones) would survive.

Another serious issue is skewed sex ratio. In China and India, whose population accounts for about one third of the world population, there are more boys than girls, due to gendercide. Cause of the issue is regulation and economics. China’s notorious one-child policy, together with the weaker economic status and rising education costs, is leading to the tragedy. In China, the ratio of boys to girs is 123 to 100, and the figures for India is 1000 to 914. The skewed ratio would have repercussion effects: human trafficking and rapes will be increased as many men cannot find wives.


Anonymous said...

Bad news has wings.

Anonymous said...

"The skewed ratio would have repercussion effects: human trafficking and rapes will be increased as many men cannot find wives." This is really a problem we have to solve...