'The inspirational Jeremy Seabrook beats any celebrity radical in the art of speaking hard truths through fine prose.' Boyd Tonkin, The Independent 'Jeremy Seabrook [has] a preacher's talent for prophesy and a capacity for righteous indignation reminiscent of George Orwell.' The Guardian For the first time in mankind's history, the world's population is ageing. Decade by decade, people are living longer than they ever have before. For rich countries in the west, the problems are obvious -- economies rely on youthful populations to provide for those who have retired. As the population ages, we face a profound economic and social crisis -- how do we care for the elderly when pensions and social security systems are under threat, housing is short and fewer young people are entering the workplace? There are anxieties at the highest level in the U.S., that an ageing population may make the country forfeit its image of youthful dynamism, as new creative generations come of age in the South. Yet this is only half the story. Populations in the poorer countries of the South are also ageing. Life-expectancy has increased due the availability of life-saving medicine.
Child mortality has decreased, so people are having smaller families. India will soon have one of the largest populations of over-sixties. The one-child policy in China will similarly lead to a severe imbalance in the age-profile of the people. In A World Grown Old, distinguished author and journalist Jeremy Seabrook examines the real implications of the ageing phenomenon and challenges our preconceptions about how it should be tackled. Arguing that the accumulated skills and experience of the elderly should be employed to enrich society, rather than being perceived as a 'burden', he makes a passionate case for a radical re-thinking of our attitude to population issues, migration, social structures and employment policy. Illustrating that the reintegration of the elderly into societies worldwide is vital for our survival, this lively and readable book will be of interest to activists and NGOs, students and policy-makers everywhere.
Jeremy Seabrook is a journalist and writer. He has written for the New Statesman, Guardian, Times and Independent. He writes plays for stage and TV and is the author of numerous books including Pauperland: Poverty and the Poor in Britain (Hurst, 2013) and The Song of the Shirt: The High Price of Cheap Garments, from Blackburn to Bangladesh (Hurst, 2015).
Introduction - The ageing population of the world: demographic time-bomb or unique opportunity? Some facts and figures 1. Ageing and the role of the elderly in the changing cultures of the world 2. Work and the elderly, in the West and the South 3. Themes and issues (i) Widowhood (ii) Witchcraft (iii) Remembering (iv) ...and forgetting (v) Sex in old age (vi) Ageing and sexual minorities (vii) Stranded in a world moving on (viii) Poverty in old age (ix) Old age in traumatised societies - war and natural catastrophe 4. North and South - sefety nets: the social security of flesh and blood and the social security of financial support. The elderly in individual countries, including USA, China, Vietnam, South Africa 5. Active Ageing; testimonies of the elderly 6. Self-Help, Mutual Help