MARK BARNES: Changing world means preparing the younger generation to keep us aloft
Experience should be available, as it is to the young pilot flying the plane under the watchful eye of the wise captain, but the youngster should fly the plane
We are all getting older. That was okay when everyone got their allotted three score years and 10, but we’ve long since moved on from that rule. Scientists are predicting that the first person to live for 200 years has already been born. In those terms, 70 is a midlife crisis, not anywhere close to dying. The pyramid structure that typically depicts the age and sex distribution of the world’s population is gradually morphing into something that looks more like a lollipop, with a big blob of oldies where the sharp apex used to be. Population growth is slowing, from about 2% 50 years ago to around 1% now, dropping to 0.5% by mid-century. This is mathematically inevitable in a population that has experienced almost vertical growth since the steam engine was invented 321 years ago. We now have an increasing proportion of the population in the 65-and-older bracket that will further double from about 10% now to 20% in 2050, for the world average. For developed countries (those with better...