Few if any of the issues associated with ageing populations in emerging markets are unique to emerging markets. But because these issues are evolving faster, on a larger scale and with potentially more disruptive consequences in emerging markets than elsewhere, the questions to be considered at this symposium are uncommonly urgent. Among them:
Should emerging markets see fast-ageing populations as threats to future prosperity or dividends to be captured through coherent policies and government/business cooperation? If retirement ages were aligned with demographic realities would 70 or 75 become the new 65? How can emerging markets deal with the fact that the unborn child is father to the old man (and old woman) and that the quality of life in old age is causally linked to life in the womb? How can they cope with tensions between filial obligation, urbanization, geographic separation and fragmented families? How can they adapt to the fact that ageing is linked to diminishing capabilities? How should they manage the costs of non-palliative care for the elderly? How can they manage the nexus of falling birth rates, rising longevity, the need for life-long education, technology driven changes in the production of goods and services and deferred retirement?
The themes of this symposium – in different degrees and at different speeds – will help shape the future of every emerging and indeed of every country on earth. Like previous EMS symposia it will address complex issues. Some of them may be more complex than those addressed in previous symposia and their solutions may hinge on sharp and painful compromises.