population ageing and economic growth

Pundits frequently warn us to avoid population ageing, because of its negative effect on economic growth. FT reader Simon Ross, in contrast, sees population ageing as an opportunity to be seized.

An ageing population should encourage us to use the skills and experience that workers have developed during their careers into their later lives. A falling workforce can prompt us to improve both workforce participation among the marginalised, and levels of automation and efficiency.

…. Populations cannot grow forever. A falling population is an opportunity to reduce the cost of living as competition for housing and other resources falls, to reduce emissions and resource depletion, to move to sustainable energy production and to improve biodiversity from today‚Äôs low levels. For the individual, what matters is not the overall size of the economy but average per capita income, and how that income is distributed. [Emphasis added.]

Simon Ross, “Use the experience older workers have developed“, letter to the editor, Financial Times, 27 August 2015 (metered paywall).

Mr Ross is CEO of Population Matters, a UK-based advocacy group.

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