The economic impact of COVID-19 on an aging society

A conversation with Andrew Scott, economics professor, London Business School & author of The 100 Year Life

“COVID-19 has accelerated our arrival into the future. some of that is around technology and how we’re living and working, but also it is about an aging society.”

Andrew Scott is a leading authority on the economics around longevity, an economics professor at the London Business School, and co-author, with Lynda Gratton, of the global bestseller The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in the Age of Longevity. He joins me from London for this episode of the Work in Progress podcast.

“This is the first pandemic we’ve had when the population of people aged over 65 exceeds those under five, and that has fundamentally changed the way we have to deal with COVID,” Scott tells me.

“It justifies, for instance, a much greater lock down. Because if there are a lot more people over the age of 65, given the risk characteristics of COVID, there are more lives at risk so we have to shut down the economy more.”

Scott says COVID-19 has made us finally start the dialogue we’ve needed to have about “rethinking age, rethinking ‘old’, recognizing that not everyone old is ill”. But he adds, he fears “the impact on everyone’s finances will be greater than any impact on life expectancy, which means people are going to have to work for longer.”

“We have this huge unemployment and we know that there’s age discrimination in hiring. The trouble, of course, is if you’re 50 plus, you haven’t got a lot of time to repair that damage.”

Scott goes on to talk about the challenge governments have in balancing a healthy economy and a healthy population when we have so many older people. You can listen to the full podcast here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

And be on the lookout for Scott’s and Gratton’s newest book, The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World. It examines jobs, careers, education, finances, and relationships, and is intended to start a debate on how we support an aging society. It’s out May 28 in the U.K. and later this summer in the United States.

Episode 135: Andrew Scott, London Business School economics professor, author of The 100 Year Life
Host: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Executive Producers: Joan Lynch, Melissa Panzer, and Ramona Schindelheim
Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4.0.

You can check out all the other podcasts at this link: Work in Progress podcasts