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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ponce de Leon lives

Some news from Seoul

South Korea, battling the effects of an ageing population, plans to spend more than 20 million dollars over the next 10 years to discover the secrets of eternal youth.

The investment is aimed at keeping older people economically active for a longer period to compensate for the country's rock-bottom birth rate.

By 2016, the Ministry of Science and Technology plans to inject 19.8 billion won (20.6 million dollars) to fund local scientists developing age-defying technologies.

"The money -- 2.2 billion won every year -- is not enough to stop a declining population but useful to make our society healthy," said Cho Seong-Chan, a director of the ministry's technology department.

"This will also help South Korea become a superpower in the biotech industry, which is regarded as our future source to earn foreign currency," he said.

The project reflects prevailing worries about a declining population after South Korea officially became an aging society in 2000, when the ratio of the population aged 65 or older exceeded seven percent.

Falling birth rates are a global trend but the phenomenon is especially marked in South Korea -- sparking fears that economic productivity will be seriously threatened by a rapidly ageing population.

"Our society is ageing at the fastest speed in the world," said Moon Hyung-Pyo, a researcher at the state-run Korea Development Institute. People aged 65 or above will account for 37 percent of the population in 2050, causing a huge fiscal deficit as well as a social headache, he said.

Higher spending on welfare and health care is not a perfect remedy, Moon said, suggesting South Korea should boost its birth rate and allow old people to remain healthier and work longer.

Otherwise the economic growth rate could drop from a current estimate of 4.7 percent to 2.91 percent in 2020 and 1.6 percent in 2030, he said.
South Korea isn't the only country facing the problem of a aging population. Japan, France, and in particular Russia are facing similar or worse crises. Lower birth rates and industrialization go hand in hand. That's why a total clamp down on legal immigration to the US would be foolhardy. This country will need a constant influx of people so to continue our economic prosperity.

The 20 million planing to be spent by the ROK seems both miniscule and misdirected. I doubt 2 million a year will even dent this looming problem, besides trying to stop aging is like getting the world to stop spinning. It just won't happen. The government would be better off to offer inducements for married couples to have more children. Though with a nation the size of Indiana, and 40 million people living in it, producing more South Koreans also has its drawbacks. I'm afraid there is no easy answer.

Hat tip- GI in Korea
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