Redesigning Society?

You might find the link below interesting.  In a nutshell, this article suggests society is not well designed for longevity that is now the norm. When a typical lifespan was 65 or 70 years it made sense to finish formal education in one’s early 20’s, work for the next 40 or so years and save enough money to live out the remaining 10. Now, however, when living to one’s 90’s with a greater degree of health, is not uncommon that model doesn’t work as well.

How easy is it to earn sufficient money to live well for 30 or 40 years without new income? How realistic is a social structure that doesn’t accommodate  simultaneously raising children, caring for parents/ grandparents (who may be 1000’s of kilometres or a country away), saving for a long retirement etc.? How sensible is it to finish formal education in your early 20’s when within 5 or 10 years that education is dated? How appropriate is it to expect 60, 70, even 80-year-olds to sit back and let a younger generation do the work and provide the [only?] leadership when that older generation is increasingly healthy and able? How can we create a society where all who are interested, willing, able can share in the “tasks and the privileges”?

These are important questions and to a large degree, not ones that have much municipal focus. I wonder, however, if some of them might fall into the local government sphere? Are there things related to our land use plans that might better address, not stages of life as we do now, but mixed stages – children and older parents, start-up second or third businesses, while pursuing different training, and paying a mortgage? If we accept a less linear view of life’s stages what, if anything, does that mean for transit, tourism, business development, local government, community volunteerism, leadership?

This is a heady thought for a Saturday morning!

Longevity has surged — we need a major redesign of life

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