Aging devours productivity

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The FINANCIAL — This provocative statement from Professor Bert Rürup struck a chord at the second day of the Berlin Demography Forum, according to Allianz.


The chairman of the executive board of the German Institute for Economic Research spoke out for extending the working age, increasing full employment for women and mandatory pre-school years and all-day schooling in Germany.

On the first day of the event Allianz CEO Michael Diekmann had also promoted extending the school day in a 5-point plan for Germany that he presented. In addition he pleaded for a mandatory year of social work for young adults, changing the country's pay-as-you-go social system to a capital cover system, improved quality for ambulant and stationary care and policies that would encourage more immigration into the Germany.Policy makers, researchers, business leaders and other social experts agree: as German society gets older and older and birth rates continue to decrease, this will profoundly influence the economic and social systems. But when it comes to solutions there are many different views.

Germany's interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich explained that aging societies also represent an opportunity. However, it is critical to allow greater flexibility regarding the three phases in life we are so used to. Immigration can also contribute to dealing with the challenges of demography – but is still not the solution to the problem.

"We don't have too many old people, but rather not enough young people," said Prof. Ursula Lehr, Chairwomen of the BDF advisory board and also of the German Association of Senior Citizen Organizations. "We need more ways to help people say 'yes' to children, to found a family. For example, it should be easier for parents to attend university." On the other hand, she was pleased that a working mother is no longer seen as neglecting her children.

According to Professor Renate Köcher, director of the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy, elderly care is becoming a bigger and bigger issue in the public mind. "There is a great willingness among families to take on care-giving tasks. However, in order to utilize this willingness, we need to do more to promote the combining of elderly care with professional careers.



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