You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
People are living longer. Some people think that this it causes big problems. Others, however, think the aging population has many advantages for business, government and for society in general. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
It is true that the life expectancy of people throughout the world is increasing. While some people fear the consequences of this trend, I agree with those who contend that it has significant benefits for business, government and the whole of society.
On the one hand, some believe that an aging population will have serious economic and social consequences, and will therefore present serious problems for national and local authorities. They imagine a decline in labour productivity as the workforce becomes older. Then, as people extend their working lives, they foresee a time when younger people will be denied the chance to pursue a successful career and will have only limited promotion opportunities. They also argue that an increasingly elderly population will place an intolerable strain on public health services and on state-funded pension schemes. If governments do not curb public spending in these areas, it will be necessary to impose spending cuts which will impact unfairly on younger people, in fields like education and family allowances. On the other hand, I agree with the view that such fears are exaggerated.
Firstly, technology has revolutionized the nature of work, and modern high- skills businesses require employees who have acquired skills and knowledge over many years. Instead of taking early retirement, senior employees can easily job-share with younger colleagues, passing on their valuable experience. Secondly, when governments prioritize expenditure on health, every member of society benefits. Also, with the promotion of health awareness campaigns and the growing emphasis on preventive medicine, many people are remaining fit for most of their lives.
The view that older people should be economically marginalized and represent a burden to society is profoundly misguided, and governments must instead recognize the contribution of older people to the economy and to society as a whole.
national and local authorities: government organizations acting at a national level or within a smaller, local area
labour productivity: the rate at which a worker, a company or a country produces goods, and the amount produced, compared with how much time, work and money is needed to produce them
to pursue a successful career: to have a series of jobs in a particular area of work, with more responsibility as time passes
promotion opportunities: chances to move to a more important position in a company or organization
public health services: the agencies funded by the government to protect and promote the health
pension schemes: a system in which you and your employer pay money regularly into a fund, to use when you retire from work of the population
to curb public spending: to restrict what the government spends on something
to impose spending cuts: to introduce new rules to spend less money on something
to acquire experience/knowledge/skill: to gain experience/knowledge/skill by your own efforts or behavior
to take early retirement: to stop working before reaching the age at which people usually stop working
to job share: to share the hours of work and the pay of one job between two people
to pass on: to give someone something that someone else has given you.
to prioritize expenditure on: to put the need to spend money on certain things first
health awareness campaigns: publicity to encourage people to be concerned about their health.
preventive medicine: practices of healthcare intended to try to stop illnesses
to marginalize (verb): to make somebody feel that they are not important and cannot influence decisions or events
misguided (adjective): wrong, because you have understood or judged a situation badly
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