“Andrew Scott, a professor of economics at the London Business School and a previous Davos speaker, hates the phrase “silver tsunami”. He hates the idea that living longer is somehow a problem. He sees it as an opportunity – provided we take the challenges seriously.
Yes, the average Briton has never been so old. The average Briton has also never had so long to live. What if that extra life was useful time – fulfilling for us, positive for the economy? Suddenly, it’s not so bleak. We need, he says, to “worry less about the changing age structure of the population and the rising number of old people, and focus more on changing how we age”.
Scott, co-author of the The New Long Life, says that this message is beginning to get through. “The past few months you can see the Treasury waking up.” In the summer, a package of policies was introduced to try to convince people to come back after early retirement. “You can see them thinking, ‘Oh shit, we’ve got all these workers over 50 leaving the workforce.’ And for me, that’s the real first sign we might be beginning to see a different approach.”