Longue vie et prospérité

Vivre longtemps est un de nos souhaits les plus intimes et les progrès de la science et de l’économie offrent l’espoir de le voir se réaliser. Certains scientifiques annoncent que la durée moyenne de vie de l’être humain pourrait atteindre 90 ans ou plus aux alentours de 2050. Qu’adviendra-t-il si notre souhait se réalise ? À quoi sert de vivre plus longtemps si l’on ne peut maintenir notre niveau de vie ?

La difficulté principale de l’organisation en prévision d’une longévité élevée est que nous n’avons aucune garantie que cela se produira réellement. L’espérance de vie pourrait très bien n’être que de 80 ans à cette date, soit la même qu’aujourd’hui dans les pays industrialisés, si les progrès de la médecine se montrent décevant ou sont neutralisés par de nouvelles menaces ou de nouveaux dangers. Si nous nous montrons prévoyants en vu d’une certaine longévité qui finalement ne se produit pas, nous aurons gâché d’énormes quantités de ressources économiques précieuses. Si nous ne parvenons pas à être prévoyants en vue d’une certaine longévité qui alors se réaliserait, de nombreuses personnes âgées seront condamnées à la pauvreté.

La longévité des populations conditionne toute l’orientation économique d’un pays. Une forte population âgée implique qu’un grand nombre de personnes vivent dans certains endroits, recherchent certains types de logements et consomment certains types de services. Le type d’entreprises qui seront demandées, les infrastructures construites et la recherche et le développement qui seront nécessaires dépendent tous des données démographiques des demandeurs.

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