Advanced Years and Medical Treatment

In prolonging human lifespan, many people worry about not only population explosion,but also the resulting aging problem, thinking an aging society may cause a great shortage of work force and a great drop of productivity, greatly lowering the living standard.

 Is the aging problem so terrible? In terms of the standard of International Population Organization, when the ratio of the aging population is over 7%,the aging of population begins. By this criterion,the world falls into three types of countries:The least developed countries in Asia and Africa, such as Rwanda, Chad and Kenya of Africa,  Maldives of Asia, are youth-type countries, with the lowest ratio of old people and the highest ratio of young people;Adult-type countries mostly concentrate in the developing areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America;Almost all the old-age-type countries are developed countries, for example, the aging population of USA accounts for 12.6%,so it is a country with heavy aging. So, you see, aging cannot lower productivity, nor will it lead to shortage of work force necessarily.

 We need work force all right,but what we need is an advanced work force. An advanced work force does not refer to people toiling in the fields all day long,nor does it refer to laborers working with both hands and feet in the deafening noise of the factory. Only by possessing wisdom, information, science and technology can we possess the most powerful work force. According to a scientific estimation, the annual workload of USA with only 200 million at the end of the 1980’s is equivalent to the annual workload of 40 billion people in the world. What they rely on is not giving birth to many more young people, but the several million computers only!

 In the USA,just two persons, father and son, till 1800 acre farmland,equivalent to the cultivated area of a middle-sized township in China. The father and son can do the work of several thousand farmers of China, and besides, they raise 1000 pigs and scores of milk cows. They also use their domestic computer to inquire about the information on the grain market of the world, and sell their own grain through the futures market…

 We have passed the agriculture age and the industrial age,and entered the information age and science age,thus, our work force has changed from taking physical strength as the main to taking brain power as the main. The disadvantages of the old age, such as physical strength and energy, are no longer the most important factors,and what is most valuable is just the knowledge, wisdom and experience that grow together with the age. Premier Zhu Rongji, just like Jiang Ziya of ancient China, became a premier at seventy,and he showed a brand-new image before the whole country and the whole world, winning admiration from all walks of life. Can you let him retire at 60, too? Does he contribute to the society less than young workmen? Can’t you see that many state heads are senior citizens? Isn’t their wisdom and experience still the most precious wealth of the society? Aren’t they still dominating and determining the state’s fate and the people’s well-being?

 Aging may increase burdens for the society, but may also accelerate social progress. Burden or progress,just depends on how we utilize it. In fact,the oldsters today are much better than the people of the same age in the past in both health and intelligence. It is not only because of medical progress,but also because of the work they are doing.

 World famous managerialist Peter F. Drucker suggested: “Now the proper retirement age should be 79”. According to the anticipation of the long life in future, people’s retirement age may be put off greatly.

 We should never keep the definition unchanged. If someone asked a farmer living in the 14th century whether he wished to live to be 70 years old,he would feel very laughable for certain, as their anile parents might have passed away at 40, and living to the age of 70 would mean being more decrepit than their parents. In fact,people at 70 may be younger and stronger than people at 40 of that time. In ancient novels, we can see such a description: “The door was opened, and in came an old woman in her thirties”. Even now,the definition of old people is also different from the recent past. In the past, the definition of each age group is like this:4 ~ 14 as the childhood period, 15 ~ 34 as the young period, 35 ~ 44 as the middle age period,45 ~ 59 as the earlier old age period, 60 ~ 89 as the old age period,and people above 90 were considered as longevous oldsters. But now, according to the definition of the World Health Organization, it is like this:Under 44 as young people,45 ~ 60 as middle-aged people, 60 ~ 75 as youthful oldsters,75 ~ 90 as oldsters,and above 90 as longevous oldsters. After the revolutions in modern science and technology, biotech, medical treatment technology, food and drink structure and life style, it will be nothing rare to have 80-year-old boys or 100-year-old lads.

 By that time,a 100-year-old person will be just in his(her) “flowery years”,just like a boy or girl of 20, hot and strong… 100 or 1000 of “venerable age” will still be “youth”. Then,there will be 600-year-old boys or 800-year-old girls everywhere in the society. The “getting old” of that time will be “reaching a high age only” in fact,and to be precise,it can be called “high age development of youth”. How can that seem terrible?

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