ageing populations

Financial crises and the five stages of loss

The Financial Times has kindly printed my letter as their lead letter, arguing that the rise of the populists emphasises the risk of continuing to deny the impact of today’s ageing populations on the economy. Sir,  Martin Wolf’s sobering analysis of policymakers’ post-crisis decision to “go back to the past”, ( “Why so little has changed since […]

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Older workers are looking for something more

The Financial Times has kindly printed my letter arguing that we need new policies to help people adapt to their extra decade or more life expectancy. Sir, There is another angle to Janan Ganesh’s interesting exploration of whether “Liberals risk the charge of complacency” (February 20). This is the question of why the policy elite has […]

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Recession the base case scenario for 2017

It is hard to be optimistic about the outlook for 2017. The good news is that policymakers are finally giving up on the idea that stimulus can somehow return us to the growth levels seen when the Baby Boomers were young.  As the Bank of England note in a new Report:   ”Economic theory suggests that a […]

Economic policy needs to focus on impact of the 100-year life

Nearly two-thirds of people in the world’s top 25 countries feel their country is heading in the wrong direction, according to a new poll from Ipsos MORI.  As their chart shows: China, Saudi Arabia, India, Argentina, Peru, Canada and Russia are the only countries to record a positive feeling The other 18 are increasingly desperate […]

World’s demographic dividend turns to deficit as populations age

We are living in a world of ageing populations for the first time in history.  For many, this conjures up a picture of vast numbers of old people leaning on walking sticks with one hand, and swallowing mouthfuls of pills with the other. But reality is a long way from this stereotype. LIFE EXPECTANCY HAS SUDDENLY INCREASED IN […]

Ageing UK households’ impact on growth

My new post for the Financial Times FT Data blog highlights how household spending is very dependent on age. Guest post by Paul Hodges| Jan 29 11:28 | The UK’s ageing population is creating major headwinds for economic growth, data published last month by the Office of National Statistics shows. The issue is simple: the […]

G7 births in 2013 equal Great Depression year of 1933

In 2013, there were fewer births in the G7 countries – responsible for nearly 50% of the global economy – than in any year since the Great Depression year of 1933.* As the chart also shows, 1933 was an exception.  Births bounced back immediately afterwards.  But the low figure in 2013 is part of the declining trend seen since […]

Ageing consumers from Chile to China need affordable, quality goods and services

The New Old 55+ generation is the key demographic for future consumer spending.  Their numbers are rising rapidly as global life expectancy has risen by 50% since 1950. Over the same period, global fertility rates have halved.  So there will be fewer younger people joining the wealth-creator generation of 25 – 54 year-olds that has historically driven economic […]

Toy industry hit by lack of babies

The blog’s latest post for the Financial Times FT Data blog is below.  The industry is going through major difficulties, which is bad news not only for its suppliers of plastic and other components.  It is also a problem for China, which manufactures 70% of the world’s toys. The toy industry is going through difficult […]

“US population is aging: older people tend to consume and spend less”

Its not just the UK that is seeing an earthquake taking place in consumer demand patterns, as the blog discussed last week.  The same earthquake is taking place in the world’s largest consumer market, the USA.  As the Wall Street Journal reports: “For the past three years running, unit sales of consumer products have been […]

McDonald’s starts hiring young and old as the ‘demographic cliff’ arrives

Its really not that difficult to work out that much of the world faces a ‘demographic cliff’. But very few companies seem to want to act on the implications. So hats off to McDonald’s Europe for highlighting what needs to be done. Their chief people officer, David Fairhurst, told the Financial Times this week: “The […]

A New Year resolution

Do you recognise any of these women?  Pictured in an excellent Financial Times article they are (left to right), New York Style icon Iris Apfel; model and actress Marisa Berenson; model and actress Lauren Hutton; fashion designer Jenny Kee; actress Meryl Streep. Nothing difficult about that you may say – even if, like the blog, you remember […]

“Stagnation might prove to be the new normal” for the US

The blog returns today to its series on how demographic changes are impacting the 5 largest economies in the world.  Having looked at China and Japan in NEA, it now moves across the Pacific to the USA.  Like all the major economies, the US is now ageing fast as a consequence of the trends in the chart above: […]

US New Old 55+ generation makes major move back into the workforce

We had another excellent audience for Thursday’s ACS Chemistry and the Economy webinar.  We were swamped with questions both before and during the session, which kept moderator Bill Carroll and the blog on their toes right until the end. The above chart came from the early part of the session, and focused on the two […]

China and NEA’s ‘demographic dividend’ turns to deficit

October’s post ‘Women now have half the number of children compared to 1950‘ attracted great interest amongst blog readers from around the world.  It highlighted how global life expectancy has risen 50% since 1950 to average 70 years.  Over the same period, the average number of children being born has halved to just 2.5 per woman. It thus suggested today’s […]

Quantitative Easing – where it all went wrong

Back in September 2011, the Bank of England published the chart above to show how it expected Quantitative Easing (QE) to revive the UK economy*.  It argued: “How does the economy adjust to asset purchases? “The overall effect of asset purchases on the macroeconomy can be broken down into two stages: an initial ‘impact’ phase and an ‘adjustment’ […]

One in three US adults now in the New Old 55+ generation

“Its only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.”  We may soon discover the meaning of this wisdom from Warren Buffett, one of the world’s leading investors.

The reason is that the macro trends that …

One in four Japanese now over 65 years

Japan’s new government has embarked on a desperate gamble to restore economic growth after 2 decades of decline. Unfortunately, it is doomed to fail.  The chart from the Financial Times, explains why.  And the reason is very simple: One in four Japanese are now over the age of 65 And this proportion is continuing to rise, […]

Demographics has “frightening implications” for the economy

The blog first wrote about the potential impact on GDP growth of changing demographics in January 2010, in its first White Paper, ‘Budgeting for a New Normal’  This put forward the Scenario that the world economy could face an: “L-shaped recovery, where we follow the pattern of the Japanese economy after its ‘financial bubble’ burst in 1990. […]

Time again to ‘Manage by Walking About’

Different times demand different skills.  During the SuperCycle, one could assume growth was a constant.  So forecasting meant a focus on better understanding developments down the value chain in the relevant product silos.  Then managers could be set ‘stretch targets’ to ensure they met expectations for revenue and profit growth. But today, as the blog has […]

Wishful thinking dominates US government economic forecasts

350k Americans are now reaching the age of 65 each month until 2030. But according to government forecasts, this surge in the retirement population will have little impact on economic growth. That’s the view of the White House Council of Economic Ad…

Water, Food and Ageing top global societal risks

The latest Global Risks report from the World Economic Forum warns that its highlighted “societal risks all have a relatively high likelihood of occurring in the next 10 years”.

As the chart above shows, the top 3 risks are those also highlighted in ‘…