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Ageing in the era of globalization

By Ioan Voicu - posted Thursday, 2 March 2017


In accordance with a recent assessment formulated by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, "Globalization has been an incredible generator of wealth, of prosperity, improving living conditions mostly everywhere in the world, decreasing absolute poverty quite substantially". However, from the same assessment we learn that the asymmetric effects of globalization cannot be ignored. Globalization had its losers, and "it is very important to recognize that there are many people left behind, and in many societies this generates a reaction against globalization", asserted António Guterres . That may be valid in many fields, and also in the case of older persons or senior citizens who are subject to undeserved marginalization and are not portrayed and perceivedas equal actors in their communities.

Expectations

In "Is successful ageing possible?" - On Line Opinion - 3/3/2016 we tried to summarize some fundamental facts, findings and relevant opinions about ageing during the current era of globalization.

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Is there anything really new and significant to be expected and discussed today about the unavoidable ageing phenomenon ?

The first attractive answer is provided by scholars. What do they say ?

Firstly, quite recent studies predict that while most people born in rich countries will live longer by 2030, with women in South Korea projected to reach nearly 91, citizens of many other countries will continue to have low life expectancy.

In the past, an average life expectancy beyond 90 was considered to be impossible. Yet, medical progress and adequate social programs have created conditions under which people might reach 110 or even 120 years.

Secondly, some researchers used longevity trends to predict life expectancy in 35 developed countries starting their calculations from the hypothesis of a baby born in 2030.

Women would be ahead of men in all countries. Behind South Korea mentioned above, women in France, Japan, Spain and Switzerland were projected to live until 88. For South Korea men, life expectancy is anticipated to reach 84. Next are Australia, Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands at nearly 84.At the bottom of the list: Macedonia for women at nearly 78, and Serbia for men at about 73.

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Genetic factors are not sufficient to explain the longevity in certain countries, as social and environmental factors have an important role to play in the life of all human beings. That brings the whole discussion on this topic to an obvious planetary level.

Global opinions

While the findings and conclusions of scientists on ageing have an obvious value in the process of increasing longevity in general, they have to be confronted with the collective opinions expressed on this matter at the global level by the world community of nations , as illustrated in specific resolutions adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on behalf of 193 Member States.

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About the Author

Dr Ioan Voicu is a Visiting Professor at Assumption University in Bangkok

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