Societies worldwide are facing unprecedented challenges due to two inter-related trends.

Irreversible long-term demographic transition towards an aging society brings multi-faceted challenges

  • Decreasing working age population ratios, with old age dependency ratio set to double from ~20% to ~45% across the OECD between 2000 and 2050
  • Growing funding liabilities, e.g., ~7% annual growth in Medicare spending projected in the US until 2024, exceeding GDP growth projections
  • Decoupling of generations due to gaps in ability to absorb essential innovations, e.g., ~40% of Americans above the age of 65 do not use the internet

Growing age-related conflicts in the short term distract from potential to harness benefits from intergenerational togetherness

  • Growing funding liabilities are driving spending rates above returns at the cost of future generations, e.g., the US Social Security Fund will become insolvent by 2035
  • Using natural resources at levels that exceed replenishment rates, amplifying intergenerational injustice
  • Increasing obsession with youth and decreasing appreciation for age, to the extent of defamation of the elderly through e.g. “anti-aging” product marketing, makes intergenerational togetherness more difficult at school, work and in our home