Book Reviews Age of Ageing

7 thoughts on “Book Reviews Age of Ageing

  1. At the beginning, I want to write some information about Gorge Magnus – the author of the book. He is an outstanding economist. He is Senior Economic Adviser of UBS Investment Bank. Magnus has great and successful career in the financial service industry, having worked with Lloyds, Bank of America and much more. He was the Chief Economist UBS from 1995 until 2005. He has written and spoken much in the media and at conferences and events on the core issues associated with ageing societies. He also wrote book entitled The Age of Aging about which I want write a few sentences.

    The main theme of the book is a problem or I should write problems of aging societies. In the next 25 years in most countries number of people aged 65 will be doubled. What more interesting the most rapidly expending age group will be those over 80, which will multiply six fold by 2050. Of course, the aging effect will be greater in highly developed countries with low birth rates and low immigration. Population forecast for next decades are not good and should be treated with care. After nearly half a century of increasing life and falling birth rates in large number of countries, some aspect of aging trend are unavoidable. Although, as I mentioned later, Magnus affirms that the aging trend is most pronounced in developed states, this is a global phenomenon. The rise in life expectancy has extended by two years in each decade. This is due to better living conditions and highly advanced medicine. He also mentions that, despite the fact that there are signs of rising birth rate in European countries and China, it is not enough for the population to reproduce itself without immigration. The drop in birth rate shows that women have more control over fertility. Well as huge cost of having children affect this. Large number of women who decided to have a baby lost their earnings and also chances to promotion. Magnus gives as an example situation in Great Britain, where women form middle-class who become mothers even lose something about quarter of million pounds. The result is that they postpone motherhood in later and this causes low birth rate. Magnus commends the solutions in Sweden, where young parents can use free childcare and get good material benefits. Aging is not something definitely bad like poverty or cataclysms. It is good that people on the whole world live longer. Nevertheless, as George Magnus insist, if aging is to be regarded as a positive issue, we have to reckon with costs of this process and these costs are not modest. As we can read, when 65 years old people are about 20 or even 30 per cent of population, then their incomes may constitute something about of GDP. Here we must ask who will be working on their retirements and annuities if they form a large proportion of the population. In addition there are also medical and care costs. Author of the book attempts to present some ways to solve the problem of an aging population. He has smoothing to say about policy solutions, but much of The Age of Aging is concerned to lay out the shape of problems. As I mentioned at the beginning, Magnus is an economist who objectively stresses that government and public schemes are vital to solve the problem of aging society. He also thinks that small-scale changes can reduce effects of aging societies. As an example, he thinks that good idea is to reduce age discrimination in employment and also reduce unemployment among older workers. However, he stresses that it’s not easy to achieve, at least not in next few years. These are a few examples of issues that Magnus raises in his book. He realizes that today we live in ages where the commercial organization of finance and saving is failing, and needs to be replaced by a financial regime geared to public utility. Magnus is worried that central governments may take on too much, but the solution here is to decentralize public finance via a regional network of funds, not to return to a bankrupt business model.
    Maybe we don’t find clear solution to solve the problem of aging society but Age of Aging shows us that issue of aging society is a dangerous is dangerous for the world economy in the future and can cause serious problems. The book is not easy to assimilate but raises interesting topics. But it must be said that for the average reader like me, it is also difficult in the relative content. Some words and phrases are difficult to understand and must resort to other sources. In my personal opinion, even though the book does not belong to the simplest is well worth reading to be aware of the risks that may threaten national and global economy. Gorge Magnus confirms that he is an outstanding economist and good writer.

  2. “The Age of Aging” by George Magnus review
    Demographics is becoming more and more important topic nowadays. That is why in libraries, bookshops and reading rooms we can find so many materials about it. Why is it that so? People have always been fascinated by population changes. What is more, today’s world has to face with another frightening and disquieting phenomenon: rapidly aging populations. The world is changing and we need a solid and reliable knowledge about society and its evolution. Every single prediction must be based on accurate analysis and conclusions drawn from observations. There are so many reasons to be interested in demographics. One of most interesting research and analysis was written by George Magnus entitled: “The Age of Aging: How Demographics are Changing the Global Economy and Our World”.
    As the author explains, that what he tried to do was to catch the attention of readers to the problem of transformation in world’s societies. The book is not only about the economic and social characteristics and implications of demographic change but, inevitably, about necessary changes that have to be made in people’s thinking. Many people accuse Magnus of lack of clear and specific solutions to such issues. For me, it is its biggest advantage. I will try to explain why.
    Magnus is a renowned in the City of London sober-minded economist. His exhortations and remarks are not addressed directly, but while reading, recipient feels like these words are directed personally to him. Magnus calls a spade a spade. It is easy to see when he writes about retirement pensions: “(…) Indeed, they were designed to allow people to stop working and enjoy their last few years in relative comfort while making way for new, younger workers” . But it is true, that in years this project has become an idea how to spend your leisure time regardless to the conditions of world’s economy. As Magnus rightly pointed out, institution of pensions is ossified and there is no instruments that could make it more flexible. As longevity increases and fertility decreases, the ratio of working people to retired people goes down, with potentially dire implications for the tax structure.
    I also found references to other works like Spengler’s Decline of the West very interesting. References to such works show how our world has changed in recent decades. We live in a completely different reality now than our grandparents used to live. Our expectancies, attitude and goals are undoubtedly different.
    The text contains many formulations that perfectly appeal to readers. Dry tables, statistics and charts left on their own without a word of explanation are very difficult to interpret for average everyman. In “The Age of Aging” it is different. Analyzing the Malthusian Theory Magnus notes, that the area of discourse in that topic has changed recently. “Modern Malthus” is no longer about the pressure of population growth on food supplies but its overall impact on the environment and our ability to sustain life in some parts of the world . However, this Malthusian theory was in the later discussion on that topic repeatedly criticized. I do not support the theory, that the population can adapt itself to the resources available to maintain . Magnus discourse therefore contributes to the wider debate on the theory of Malthus in the world today also conducted by inter alia W. Godwin and J.A. Condorcet. But we must remember that the limit of production capacity, even if still far today, exists.
    While reading, I drew more attention to the so called “Singaporean model” requiring companies to rehire older workers to raise the participation of workers aged 55-64 from 53,7 to 65 percent. Magnus devotes little space to this issue but for me it was quite interesting and forced me to search some extra and detailed information about it. This law is to become effective in 2012. That re-employment policy, that Magnus is writing about, can be in my opinion for some reasons rational and well founded in Singapore, but generally speaking, it should not be adapted in other systems. If the employer is unable to offer a job to the retiree, there will be a one-time Employment Assistance Payment to help the Singaporean worker until he finds another job.
    In my opinion, we should invest in human capital of young people. Supporting the elderly will make access to the labour market for ambitious, young and well-educated people limited. It is definitely not an long-sighted answer for Singaporean ageing society, but only a single operation that may delay the emergence of serious structural problems. Existing employers’ attitudes towards older workers would limit the effects of measures stimulating their higher labour market participation. They could also have difficulties in adapting to new work patterns . To sum up, new policies to encourage older workers to stay in employment often do not coincide with reforms aimed at improving working conditions for older workers and increasing their employment prospects. Other thing is, that policies stimulating labour market participation of older workers should be considered within a framework of the broad economic and social policy reforms needed to adapt.
    I also found Magnus’ considerations about gender discrimination and public debt insufficient. But as I wrote before, I treat this work only as an introduction to further exploration of the fascinating secrets of modern demography. Magnus was to encourage me to do that and I have to admit, that he succeeded. I regret that it is so difficult to find that work on the Polish market.

  3. Review on ‘The Age of aging’ by George Magnus

    Demographics is becoming more and more important topic nowadays. That is why in libraries, bookshops and reading rooms we can find so many materials about it. Why is it that so? People have always been fascinated by population changes. What is more, today’s world has to face with another frightening and disquieting phenomenon: rapidly aging populations. The world is changing and we need a solid and reliable knowledge about society and its evolution. Every single prediction must be based on accurate analysis and conclusions drawn from observations. There are so many reasons to be interested in demographics. One of most interesting research and analysis was written by George Magnus entitled: “The Age of Aging: How Demographics are Changing the Global Economy and Our World”.

    The author explains, that what he tried to do was to catch the attention of readers to the problem of transformation in world’s societies. The book is not only about the economic and social characteristics and implications of demographic change but, inevitably, about necessary changes that have to be made in people’s thinking. Many people accuse Magnus of lack of clear and specific solutions to such issues. For me it is, on the contrary, its biggest advantage. I will try to explain why.

    Magnus is a renowned in the City of London sober-minded economist. His exhortations and remarks are not addressed directly, but while reading, recipient feels like these words are directed personally to him. Magnus calls a spade a spade. It is easy to see when he writes about retirement pensions: “(…) Indeed, they were designed to allow people to stop working and enjoy their last few years in relative comfort while making way for new, younger workers” . But it is true, that in years this project has become an idea how to spend your leisure time regardless to the conditions of world’s economy. As Magnus rightly pointed out, institution of pensions is ossified and there is no instruments that could make it more flexible. As longevity increases and fertility decreases, the ratio of working people to retired people goes down, with potentially dire implications for the tax structure.
    I also found references to other works like Spengler’s Decline of the West very interesting. References to such works show how our world has changed in recent decades. We live in a completely different reality now than our grandparents used to live. Our expectancies, attitude and goals are undoubtedly different.

    The text contains many formulations that perfectly appeal to readers. Dry tables, statistics and charts left on their own without a word of explanation are very difficult to interpret for average everyman. In “The Age of Aging” it is different. Analyzing the Malthusian Theory Magnus notes, that the area of discourse in that topic has changed recently. “Modern Malthus” is no longer about the pressure of population growth on food supplies but its overall impact on the environment and our ability to sustain life in some parts of the world . However, this Malthusian theory was in the later discussion on that topic repeatedly criticized. I do not support the theory, that the population can adapt itself to the resources available to maintain . Magnus discourse therefore contributes to the wider debate on the theory of Malthus in the world today also conducted by inter alia W. Godwin and J.A. Condorcet. But we must remember that the limit of production capacity, even if still far today, exists.

    While reading, I drew more attention to the so called “Singaporean model” requiring companies to rehire older workers to raise the participation of workers aged 55-64. Magnus devotes little space to this issue but for me it was quite interesting and forced me to search some extra and detailed information about it. This law is to become effective in 2012. That re-employment policy, that Magnus is writing about, can be in my opinion for some reasons rational and well founded in Singapore, but generally speaking, it should not be adapted in other systems. If the employer is unable to offer a job to the retiree, there will be a one-time Employment Assistance Payment to help the Singaporean worker until he finds another job.

    In my opinion, we should invest in human capital of young people. Supporting the elderly will make access to the labour market for ambitious, young and well-educated people limited. It is definitely not an long-sighted answer for Singaporean ageing society, but only a single operation that may delay the emergence of serious structural problems. Existing employers’ attitudes towards older workers would limit the effects of measures stimulating their higher labour market participation. They could also have difficulties in adapting to new work patterns . To sum up, new policies to encourage older workers to stay in employment often do not coincide with reforms aimed at improving working conditions for older workers and increasing their employment prospects. Other thing is, that policies stimulating labour market participation of older workers should be considered within a framework of the broad economic and social policy reforms needed to adapt.

    I also found Magnus’ considerations about gender discrimination and public debt insufficient. But as I wrote before, I treat this work only as an introduction to further exploration of the fascinating secrets of modern demography. Magnus was to encourage me to do that and I have to admit, that he succeeded. I regret that it is so difficult to find that work on the Polish market.

  4. Notes about George Magnus “Age of Ageing: How Demographics are Changing the Global Economy and Our World” – why it’s not perfect: demonstrated by a few examples.

    In my opinion, Mr. George Magnus’s book „Age of Ageing: How Demographics are Changing the Global Economy and Our World” is a big, over inflated balloon. Author made a great effort to make this analysis but it doesn’t reflect the situation. I do believe that it is impossible to make good predictions on such a big subject as demography in politics, social and economic point of view in one book.
    At the very beginning, it is a great, theoretical deliberation about demography at all and it’s influence on economy. It was slightly irritating that Magnus wanted to provide us with the universal answer for all questions, based on a huge generalization he made. From the first page, it is noticeable that the author is focused on the economical influence of the demographical situation nowadays, which is great for young people, as me and my peers; we want, and need to know what is going on and what we need to do if we want to be successful. Unfortunately, anyone, who has any idea of politics, want to know what will happen, and why such a crisis exists. But none of us can find any answers in this book. It’s been written with a lack of political and sociological knowledge about the situations in European Union member states (which is the main subject of this publication because of the deteriorating demographical situation).
    I must admit, the economic analysis is quite fascinating, although, mentioning of political and social factors is very inadequate. Author pointed out that female work participation rate in Europe, is much smaller than in Asia (especially in China and India for certain reasons), and it is the smallest rate in the World; but what I need to ask is… how come? What stands for this situation? And my question is left with no answer; both the author and his book remain silent. All cultural differences between our societies had been omitted: he writes only about what can be done to attract a woman to work and breed. Unfortunately, picking up these two different cultures and comparing them by economy is just pointless. If China have a female participation rate at 60%, is it possible for Europe to have an identical rate? Obviously not. I would like to ask when Chinese women have been emancipated, and do European women want to work in factories, or just in large corporations in CEO-like positions, earning thousands of Euros or Dollars? One of them need to work to live, the other group is just whining for more. The first group need to have “one child policy” to stop them from breeding; the other, needs to have new laws and franchises to be encouraged to, generally speaking, start to breed. These are the most obvious reasons that make comparing these, and making any generalization based only on them, unreasonable.
    Another thing is the immigrant problem – he’s got a point that our economies needs them and he’s telling the truth that we don’t want them anymore. But his main thought is based on economy once again. He mentioned the „Polish Plumber” and presented him as the biggest threat to western societies. The next example is a little bit tougher to discuss, because I agree with Magnus that our economies need immigrants, but our societies and our political systems can’t take care of them anymore under present conditions. In 2009, when this book has been written he couldn’t knew about the upcoming riots in London or Sarkozy’s policy for Romani people, but in that time there was problem of Arabic enclaves in Great Britain or Germany, the “rightful citizens of Europe”, were afraid of them as potential terrorists. And we have got an ultimate proof – veto against the Bulgarian and Romanian participation in the Schengen group established by Netherlands. Western Europe don’t want the one of their own to travel, live and work without problems in whole Europe, because some of them might be “burglars and thief’s”. If so, what can we say about Arabs? Why the Greece government wanted to build a wall on their eastern border? We are afraid of them, they are different and they don’t want to act and change their lifestyle for ours, and in that case author should mention this as an important factor – fear and anger, they are sending their money to Arabic world countries where their families are, they are not like ours and for some reason they don’t want to be. It is not safe to let them in if we want Europe to stay Europe.
    Of course, there is a reason that Magnus had written all this, and his conclusion is just; we need them but we have to, somehow, force them to turn into Europeans. Another thing that I noticed was the lack of answers for the immigrant problem in Europe (which is combined with the lack of political and social background in book); some might say that immigrants are our salvation and we need to get them as fast as possible at any costs. I believe that these costs are too big and we can’t accept them (on present “terms of agreement” as I wrote earlier). I think, at this point there is no escape from a great overflow of immigrants from outside of the European Union.
    The end of the European Union, as a world player, is just upon us. Because none of us can be sure what will happen if we will not breed, with immigrant enclaves inside our dear Europe. Who will stand up to protect us from outside, Middle-east and Russia (which have different, more far-east political culture)? We can’t take anything for granted, and I think, that’s the major, hidden conclusion of this book.

  5. Review of „The age of aging” by George Magnus

    Nowadays, the world have to struggle with a new problem, which is rapidly aging population. George Magnus, the author of “The age of aging: how demographics are changing the global economy and our world” presents an analysis of what is going to happen in demographic structure in the world, and what will be the consequences of changing trends in the future. He also makes a comparison between how position of every country looks like today and how it will change within ten, twenty and even fifty years.

    The prognosis for Western societies is not very positive. They have to cope with the crisis of not having enough children who would become tomorrow’s workers and breadwinners for the rest of population. This is caused by low birth rate, rising life expectancy and low fertility rates, and countries have to figure out the way to deal with that issue. In many cases, the situation is only getting worse, the population is becoming older and older, which means higher expenses on health care – but it also means less young people who would pay for that. The governments must work out some solutions to make a difference in the future.

    What exactly must be done to solve the problem of aging societies? George Magnus believes that governments have to reduce gender gaps in employment, encourage support the employment of older workers – it is very important, especially in the situation, where there is a lack of young people in the employment sector. It is also worth improve productivity by focusing on life-long education and sustaining or increasing high levels of immigration to avoid possible labor and skill shortages. It is also significant to improve the adequacy of retirement savings and improving the provision of health and social care services.

    But let’s get back on the topic about the condition of the world. We cannot say that African countries have the same dilemmas as Western societies. In this part of the world, for instance, we can see the highest fertility rates of over six to seven children, when in the same time, in the Europe we do not even have replacement rates (rate below 2.1 children per woman). But still, we have to mention that Africa has to cope with many serious difficulties as famine, domestic wars or AIDS. The last one is the biggest killer of Africans, responsible for one in five death – twice the death toll from malaria and ten times that of violence and war.

    About the China, we cannot say that is on its road of prosperity – of course, if we are taking into account the issue of demographic structure. It is true that this Asian country play a important role in the international economic area and has the most numerous population in the world, but it has to struggle with demographic troubles as well as other countries. China has a problem with relative lack of women, which mean as many as 10 percent of men between 20 and 45 will be unable to find a spouse by 2020. There is a impendency that China may be dysfunctional and old before it is rich enough to cope.

    If we are talking about China, it is also worth mention about India, which is the largest competitor for the Chinese in the Asia right now. In the future, the number of India’s population will overtake of China. In 2050, population in India will grow by almost 500 million, when in the same time, population in China will increase not too significantly – only 80 million.

    The author of “The age of aging (…)” takes into consideration some challenges for the world caused by aging population – the politicization of religion and the management of international security and writes also about finding ways of making both globalization and immigration work for all. It is worth mention that he is a Senior Economic Adviser and UBS Investment Bank, so he has more than a proper knowledge to write such a title, but still he has achieved to publish a very readable and understandable book for even those who are a complete amateurs in economic matters. There is a lot of many various diagrams and graphs, which can be very helpful to understand some presented problems. The first chapter is a great introduce to the main issue and helps to discover some new questions that we did not know about earlier.

    To sum up, George Magnus wrote a good book about demographic changes and how the world will look like in the future. He broaches many important questions, shows the contrast between Western countries and developing ones, tells what tasks stands before governments and warn that something must be done. If not – the situation will be getting worse, because pretending that nothing is wrong does not seem like a good solution. It examines as well the economic effects of aging and how aging societies will affect family and social structures, and the type of environment in which the baby-boomers’ children will grow up. It is important to perceive aging as a global phenomenon, and I believe that this book will convince many to that state after reading it.

  6. Review of ‚The Age of Aging’

    Being born in Central Europe at the beginning of the 90s of previous century, when the freedom and capitalistic economic system took over the communism had an enormous consequence on the way in which we, present students, were brought up. As our parents truly believed that the ‚promised times’ had just came, they tended to ensure us that the whole world is wide open for us. Unfortunately, when the euphoria has fallen and years later economic crisis has came, it became clear that future is not so bright, as it was told to be.
    One of the main causes of this global situation is the one to which the book ‚The Age of Aging’ written by Geogre Magnus is devoted. The global population is getting older with unparalleled speed and thus, alarming lack of labour force slows down the general economic develompent, to which we got used to. Without possesing even slight knowledge about this phenomenon young human cannot successfuly act in the society, that reshapes from top to bottom. Thanks to interdisciplinary approach and deft metaanalisys G.Magnus attemps to describe the complexity of temporary global situation in ease way, understable for layman.
    The following topics he touches upon are closely connected with each other by almost cause and effect chain. Firstly, from the historical point of view, the author of the book proves, that nowadays we have to face unprecedented phenomenon. Thus, there are any trusted method to cope with this issue and greater attention must be paid in order to control the situation. The dramatical aging of society all over the globe for the very first time ever is not caused by any obstacles of the living standards development, but by its rapid acceleration, indeed. The common people experiencing a sense of safety began to put much more greater significance to their own needs, than to the good of nation. Decreasing number of offspirings per family was one of its results.
    Secondly, the author with the skilful usage of demografical statistics indicates who in the close and further future is going to give the rhythm to the next chapter of history. It turns out that the Europeans are forced to reconcile with the fact of losing their primary position to the younger inhabitants of developing regions of the world, mainly located in Asia and Northern Africa. Such a turn may evoke a fear of unknown cultures, which in near future will probably alter into main world players.
    Its sightly possible to understand the meaning of demographic statistics without refering of economy, which is next main topics of the book. Simple statement reflects the issue: if we want to live longer, we first need to work harder to be able to afford that. Unfortunely, this dependency seems to not to be so obvious for the most. That is the reason why in Europe any ideas of increasing retirement age tend to cause strong general content. In order to prepare the budgets for harder times, every social group is encouraged to work longer, move intensively and effectively: no matter whether we mean youth, women elder people, or entire labour force. Also, the state as political institution must create the proper conditions for such occurence, previously.
    Surely, demografic and economic circumstances differ significantly according to the stage of development on which given state is. Scarcely the mixture of this two kinds of data conected with some cultural aspects may built the coherent vision of the future. Geogre Mangus takes the reader in the journey across emerging and developing countries, discussing the strenghts and weaknesses of the most important of them. This step is a trial in looking for an example of stirring up internal blossoming for the others. He cracks down with popular myth of China being leading power in Asian region and then puts India on pedestal instead, calling them ‚an Asian America’. Also, he brings into the light the weak basis of Russia as empire of energy resources, then moving to the region of Middle East and Africa, which have more issues to face that it is commonly believed.
    Having taken the closer look to the particular countries, one should make a greater distance and analise the present reality globally. That is the reason why G.Magnus changes perspective and presents dense net of connections and mutual dependency of particular states in global dimesion. The conflics of interests takes a new shape in this case. In recent weeks, the issue became flagrant during the talks about uncertain future of the European Union, where some states visibly put their own benefits above the good of the whole unity. As every union is only an utopian idea which is practiced in far-from-utopian reality, one must remember about the frictions of states which fight for their best position for further development.
    After discussing all those facetes, the author makes and attempt to find out any solution for previously presented problems. As a result he rather proves that there is any obvious and non-complex resolution for ongrowing disproportions of economics situation of given regions. Immigration, which might be believed to simplify the situation, is only short-time resolution, which posses its negative influence, as well. Moreover, in longer perspective the cost of the inflow of immigrants may only worsen the financial situation of the country, not fully resolving the lack of labour force. Then, the impulse for maintaining at least present status quo, must come from the inside powers of the state and only partially be supported by outer influence.
    According to that statement the question arises: how the society will react to the neccessity of adopting to the new situation? To be able to even try response this ask one should pay attention to a series of matters. Due to this, G.Mangus talks over the influence of religion, capitalims and ongrowing individualistic sense on the nations’ demography. In a word, any factor modifing human style of life, and by that the decisions about the structure of their families and their finances, will matter in this demographic puzzle. One may guess that most of those changes are not positive for insreasing a number of the youth in society. Nevertheless, the governmental powers are obligated to counteract with aging of their nations, and so the common people should feel.
    Taking all presented thesis of Geogre Mangus into consideration, the suprisingly simple conclusion may be withdrawn: the new way of thinking about geopolitics is needed for the new times. Hanging on tightly to out-of-date representation of present demography would lead to irreversible mistakes, that following generations would be forced to solve. First of all the common education concerning there issues is required, if we aim to maintain effective economies in aging societes. Thus, the book ‚The Age of Aging’ written by George Magnus might be a first step toward better understanding on this matter. Especially, when present days, the beginning of the second decade of 21st century are commonly believed to be pretty tought time for young people to enter the adult life and at the same time enter the markets facing with global crisis of 2008. According to this, it is even more essencial to prepare oneself and act right before it will be too late.

  7. Review on ‘The Age of aging’ by George Magnus

    One of the most discussed issues in the twenty first century is the demography. World is changing but only a few of us are aware how the increase or decrease of population number either will or already affects our day to day lives. One of those who touched on this matter is George Magnus whose book ‘The age of aging’ showed in a clear way how the demography affects economy, politics, society or religion.

    The author draws reader’s attention to the phenomenon of aging societies. ‘The change that mankind has never experienced before’ according to Magnus are rearranging not only economy but also life styles. It is essential to note that the countries with the highest number of people aged sixty or more are those considered as the most developed with high GDP such as Western European countries, USA or Australia. As the latest statistic shows the old-age dependency ratio will rise from 23 percent to 45 and the effect of it is already visible in the economy. The above mentioned countries face the problem of shortages of labor which is essential to keep their status as the leading force. Another question is rising longevity and its consequences. Increase in healthcare and pension spending are problems which western countries already try to deal with. But George Magnus does not restrict himself to present the problem. He also describes possible solutions with all consequences they will bring. The increase of retirement age will be of course beneficial for the state finances although it is highly arguable if the employer will be more eager to hire experienced people aged over 50 then flexible 20-somethings. Also the question of women participation cannot be overlooked since their rights are not obeyed and very often they are second class workers who have to choose between being mothers and pursuing their professional career. Another idea to make up the lack of employees is a free flow of immigrants. The argument in favor of this thesis is the examples of such developed economies as the USA, Canada or Australia which succeeded partly because of people migrating there from Europe and Asia. According to Magnus the rising number of newcomers would bring further benefits such as increase in fertility rates, bigger tax revenues, low inflation. Nevertheless there are two sides to every coin and Magnus seems to be aware of that. The small number of immigrants is acceptable in western societies but as the latest forecast shows countries such as France, Italy or Spain have to gain more foreigners to keep their economy and population stable. So how the local people react to the newcomers? Some of them treat them as a salvation for the decreasing economy although others are likely to perceive them as a threat rather than a cure for the shortage of the labor. If societies in the Western Europe look at the immigrants from the former Soviet countries with growing anxiety, will they accept the rising number of people who identify themselves with far more different culture such as Arabs or Asians? The latest political trends in the West show that the animosity towards them is growing bigger as the nationalistic political parties who do not hide their anti immigrant views are gaining more and more votes in elections.

    To contrast situation in western world Magnus describes the emerging and developing countries which are likely to become new leading powers within the next two or three decades. Asia is the continent regarded as a rising leader. The country which importance has grown hugely in recent years is China. The Middle Kingdom is thought to have the bottomless workforce sources and high percentage of people under 30 not to mention the high fertility rates. Nevertheless George Magnus claims that the brightening star of China has started to fade slowly and gives reasons why this process will proceed and how seminal it will be for Chinese and world economy. One of the reasons is aftereffect of one-child policy that will cause not only great gender imbalance (120 boys for every 100 girls) but will also lead to for example rising incidence of rape. While the development of China stops gradually, its southern neighbor will become one of the fastest rising economies. Despite the low quality of life, big discrepancies between southern and northern parts of the country India thanks to focusing on domestic development is expected to expand their influences in the next decades. Another expanding part of the world is Africa but as Magnus mention it is its political instability and high rate of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS that stops its development. Nevertheless as Magnus suggest it can be changed within few decades as the African countries started to adapt new reforms. Also the forecasts for Middle East and Arabic world says that the number of young people will increase but what remains disturbing is the fact that without creating new job places and educational perspectives the energy of this generation can be used by fundamentalists’ organizations which would pose a real threat for the West. The country which remain a world leader and whose population is in decline at the same time is Russia. The status of global pertostate is not enough to prevent falling fertility and rising mortality as well as worsening life conditions among the poorest groups. Since more and more immigrants from China are floating to Siberia and many Muslims from post Soviet republics are heading north, Russia is likely in the next few years to tackle possible ethnic conflicts as the nationalistic tendencies among society is more and more popular.

    A great plus of ‘Age of aging’ is presenting demography not only from the standpoint of individual countries but also from the global context due to the fact that some questions cannot be discussed on the ground of one state. Talking about migrations the core of the matter is how much wealthy countries and emerging markets need each other. Young, skilled people from poorer parts of the world are required to keep the economy of USA, Spain or France growing. In the same time China, India or Arab countries are in search for new technologies which are now in possession of the western companies. What is more young Arabs or Asians want to live better and where is it better to take their chance and do it than in the West? Nevertheless this shift of population is due to bring further consequences both negative (spread of HIV/AIDS, rising xenophobia) and positive (popularizing of democracy and human rights, studying and understanding of still unknown cultures).

    George Magnus connects issues concerning religion with demography. As some researchers and historians suggest high fertility rates are noted among religious families what indicates that it will be religion which will influence greatly society, politics and economy. Worth mentioning is the fact that there are signs for the religious beliefs to be rising with age. Adding the mounting number of people aged over 60 the possibility of growing significance of faith factors is becoming slowly a reality.

    Demographic change can be perilous for western countries due to the shrinking number of prospective solidgers. It is not a science fiction scenario that someday NATO countries might be unable to secure their citizens form attacks of terrorists groups such as Al-Qaeda whose recruits come from poor countries with high fertility rate and disillusioned lack of chances for better future are eager to fight for “the better world’.

    In my opinion ‘Age of aging’ is a book presenting to an average reader who is not particularly interested in issues concerning geopolitics or society how our world is changing and what effects it will have for us and the oncoming generations. Nevertheless for me the great advantage of this publication is the fact that the author did not exclude any possible scenario.

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