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The Forum > General Discussion > The Intergenerational report

The Intergenerational report

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The treatment of the ageing population as a problem really reveals today's lack of imagination and human aspiration. Incapable of celebrating humanity's leaps forward, we instead see our success stories in medicine and living standards as something bad.

Older people are looked on as burdens on the health and social security system
They are seen as pollutants, unnecessary carbon footprints.

"Are Grandma and Grandpa bad for the environment?" An ethics writer recently complained that young people will, "suffer the environmental consequences of older people's behavior".

Yet experts warn there might be intergenerational conflict if old people stay in the jobs market at a time when youngsters are finding it difficult to get work.

So, the elderly should be put out to pasture, ejected from productive society and left to potter around their houses with their hobbies and their flowers where they belong.

Unable to come up with solutions for making elderly people's lives more pleasant through allowing them to work, paying them higher pensions or finding other ways to include them in the social make-up, we label them burdens.

One solution to this problem can be taken from the books of antiquity and evolution where you were not qualified to teach until you had become redundant in the community as a worker reproducer, with the experience of a lifetime to shape your thoughts and attitudes, having seen war and death, flood and drought, feast and famine

The plus side to this, is to release hundreds of thousands of "teachers" to the productive betterment of society, where they too are no longer a burden to be paid for by taxes.

This "shortens" the teacher entropy cycle (by death) to less than 15 years which would enable quicker response to change so allowing the next generation to reverse excesses and poor decisions of the current ruling generation

Overall a "win win" situation for all "stakeholders" ("stakeholder": the politically correct version of "medieval vampire killer")
Posted by Mawsouth, Saturday, 30 January 2010 10:42:11 AM
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Dear Mawsouth,

I remember one of my lecturers giving the
following reply to a young student who
had remarked, "That's 'cause you're so old!"
The lecturer smiled and said, "Ah, but you're
temporarily young!" And that fact many of us
tend to somehow forget.

I wish that we did live in a society - where
older people were looked upon as "Elders,"
from whom we could learn so much.

But I suppose in any unequal society the
dominant stratum uses an ideology to justify
its position - therefore unequal treatment
is justified. The sad part of this is that
the ideology of ageism takes no account of
individual differences, and instead treats
all old people as though age were the single
most important chanractieristic.

An important feature is its reliance on
negative stereotypes about the minority concerned.
For example, it's widely believed that the old are
not such productive workers as the young. Actually,
they have better job attendance records and
productivity records. Another myth is that many of
them are infirm. More than 80 oercent of the
population over sixty-five are fully capable of
getting around on their own. Another myth is that
a high proportion of the aged under seventy-five
display symptoms of senility; or that many of the
elderly are confined to nursing homes or old-age
homes. The statistics indicate that only 4 percent
of those over sixty five are in this situation.

In addition, there are a variety of beliefs about
the typical personalities of the aged - that they are
cranky, forgetful, sexless, highly conservative,
and the like - beliefs that either ignore the vast
differences among old people (for, after all,
individuals grow more different, not more similar,
as they age), or have no basis in fact whatsoever.

But no matter how inaccurate the public stereotype
of the aged may be, it provides an implicit
justification for excluding them from significant
roles in the economy, the family, and other areas of

However, when society discriminates - best to
remember - each and everyone of us is only
"temporarily young!"
Posted by Foxy, Sunday, 31 January 2010 11:31:10 AM
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Foxy I found your post extremely insightful particularly regarding stereotypes and the perception of the young towards the older people in this country. Your lecturer at Uni must have been a bit of a wag, he certainly hit the nail on the head. I wonder do people honestly think it will never happen to them?

It is how you feel not your age that dictates your ability to continue to work and play after 65 and genes to a certain extent. Let me tell you young people have no idea I am 65. So good post Foxy.

I find Mr. Rudd's comments about the aging population astounding from a Prime Minister, particularly considering the thousands of migrants he has already allowed to settle here and the outrageous number he intents to continue to allow to settle here. His statements and policies are starting to worry me.

If this government wants the country to support the number of people predicted they had better start doing something constructive and put infrastructure in place to sustain those numbers quoted in the Intergenerational Population Report - another committee set up by this government to 'look at things'. Stop blaming the aging community; it's no more than a blame game to deflect attention away from their inadequate planning policies. They want the people here, then they have to provide the means to support them in work, housing and living standards.

Of course the government should seriously look at legalising euthanasia. Many elderly and sick people don't want to be a burden on society, it's the last thing they want. People should be able to take dignified steps to end their life.
Posted by RaeBee, Monday, 1 February 2010 2:20:42 PM
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Sorry to be a drudge but IMO the reason we have this stereotyping is that the older generation are less likely to be hyper consumers.
Ask yourself how many fashion shops in a shopping centre cater to the older the larger sizes. How many older people buy new mobiles every year, the latest gadgets, cars ,Car accessories, comparatively few.
Yet, the baby boomers are the largest demographic!
The truth is consumerism is a youth dominated market.
There is more money marketing for the below tweenies than us.

The constant focus in the consumer market on stick women has been declared a bad influence on the young ones.
Compare all that with ads profiling older people on TV their either portrayed as someone to lavish on the younger generation, go away to some retirement home.
Even cruises which are dominated by the older generation are marketed to the young.
My daughter noted that on her 'fun' cruise of 2000 there were 19 singles around her age 23 yet reading the brochures......

With a society well and truly wedded to consumerism, money/profit is everything it seems to me to be inevitable that the old are percieved as a drain, surplus to requirements...hindrances to exuberant fun, by the youth, their conditioned that way.

Even stranger danger is geared at the older men, when they are actually less than 5% of child abduction/sexual assault crime.

Conclusion: we have allowed this to happen in the search of consumerist focus on the most profitable/easiest to appeal to (instant gratification) demographic. The family is now different as a consequence. The meaningful extended family is dying of lack of easy profit as a demographic .
Posted by examinator, Monday, 1 February 2010 3:09:15 PM
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Dear RaeBee,

Thanks for your comments.

Ageism against the elderly is often subtle,
but it is pervasive. Look at the ads on
TV. Almost always they present youthful,
attractive people. When older characters
appear, they're likely to have health
problems and to be promoting health-related
devices: old people are almost totally
absent from commercials about cars, appliances,
clothing, or home-care products.

Advertising, like so many other aspects of
the media, often reflects the "fountain of youth"
theme that courses through a culture in which
people are encouraged to believe that creams,
soaps, lotions, colourings, vitamins, diet pills,
exercise machine, sports cars or whatever, will
make them look like a young adult forever.

Ageist bias is even revealed in people's
attitudes towards their own age. Children and
adolescents often wish they were older and sometimes
overstate their own age, for they correctly see that
their own age status is a low one. Middle-aged people,
on the other hand, often understate their ages, for
they know that the years devalue people the older they

This is especially true for women, who, because they
are socialized to place so much importance on their
youthful looks, are more devalued by advancing age
than men are. Take a look at the remarks I've been
getting since I announced that I'm a first-time gran.
All of a sudden Foxy's become "old." Perhaps behind
this attitude lies not just a fear of aging, but a
fear of death. In our society death has become almost
a taboo subject, and its a phenomenon associated with
old age. I firmly believe in the right to die - but
that's another issue, and I don't want to go into it
on this thread.
Posted by Foxy, Monday, 1 February 2010 7:12:46 PM
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Dear Examinator,

Of course you're right in what you say about
the marketing of products - and the target
audience. Old people don't seem to matter in
the scheme of things. However, it shouldn't
be that way. Researchers should take a closer
look. We see older people driving more expensive
cars, buying more expensive clothing, furniture,
shopping in more selective shops, eating out in
restaurants, going to the movies, theatres, going
on holidays, staying in hotels, travelling, going
on cruises, and so on. Older people usually have
more money to spend. They're not stuck with
mortgages, children to educate, raise families.

Perhaps it's time that they received some recognition
of their worth - especially from the politicians.
Posted by Foxy, Monday, 1 February 2010 7:24:04 PM
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