Daily, we have become accustomed to reading about the many challenges America faces as a nation. It has unemployment problems, runaway federal deficit, real estate depression, health care crises and senior citizens that live longer. Yes, many see people living longer as a problem because we still operate industrial age economics with its archaic retirement system for a knowledge century.
Accordingly, when we look at what it will take to care for retirees over long stretch, economists get worried. From Germany to Japan, managing human longevity in the developed world has taken a central role in governments. On Sept 7, 2010, millions of people demonstrated in France over the government’s plan to change the unemployment age from 60 to 62.
But are these people really retiring, technically?
People retire at sixty years and then spend six hours a day on social media. These hours could have actually been redesigned to become work, if the system has mastered the constructs of the knowledge economy. When someone retires from running a small website and spends the number of hours we put on the social media, it simply shows our system is broken.
We fail to understand that in the knowledge era, someone could work far beyond seventy years. Yes, that old economic model of factory and farm economy that depended on physical energy is ending. Accordingly, the retirement age it produced should be replaced. I see no reason why a webmaster that maintains a website should retire from it and then spend 6 hours a day as a retiree on social media.
What the world needs is a new system that defines retirement based on the industry. In other words, we have to develop industry-based retirement system that looks at what it takes someone to do its job. While it makes sense for a farmer to retire at a younger age because of the physical requirements to work, it is not really important for someone whose work resolves around the web to do the same. So, we could say that the factory and farm workers could retire two years earlier than the knowledge workers.
Though it is bound to create challenges in the system, we can make do by finding ways to ensure that those knowledge workers that put so much time in the social media can invest some of the time in creative activities and government will pay them. So they might have retired, but government will put them through a transition stage through which they can technically work for the government via the web.
As more jobs move to the web, senior citizens can still provide opportunities than going into retirements immediately. It is possible that we can extend the years by creating a program where as they socialize on the web, we can develop work they can do. It is building a system that seamlessly blends into their retirement experiences.
The developed world needs a solution to meet obligations to the future and it is imperative that we use new opportunities technologies have provided. And associated human habits they have helped create. Nations need to quantify and understand how some government works could be done via the web and distributed to senior citizens who even during their retirements can help. Doing that means having a process that is structured to be in sync with their social media experiences.
Take for instance data collection and web surveys. Such activities can be assigned to senior citizens under a partnership through which they can be asked to help. It is important that private companies can be encouraged to develop a model where they can tap the enormous hours people invest on social media, especially the senior citizens, and use that to save costs. They could work remotely from their homes under flexible work schedules.
For a nation like Japan that has 23% of its population over the age of 65 and fertility rate of 1.34, about 0.7 below the acceptable minimum for a developed nation to maintain a constant population, it must think deep into new models for retirement. This will require more thoughts than what some of its provincial governments are doing- running dating sites for singles to boost procreation.
The developed world needs a system that evaluates the new nature of work. As work moves towards knowledge, requiring lesser physical energy, we have to find ways to extend the time people retire without obstructing how they have viewed their post-work lives. By using technology to build productive works into their retiree’s experiences, America and indeed the whole developed world could discover ways to continue to tap their senior’s experiences while balancing the nations’ budgets.