Commercial Times: Graying population: Taiwan's chronic ailment
Central News Agency
2014-08-25 10:44 AM
A new government report indicates that Taiwan, long home to one of the world's lowest birthrates, will see negative population growth for the first time in 2022 -- four years earlier than previously predicted -- with the working-age population expected to begin falling as soon as 2016. With an increasing number of people idly staying at home as fewer able-bodied young people enter the workforce to replace them, the country's economic momentum will become weaker and weaker. The prospect of labor shortage will discourage business investment. Without young people, there will be less shoppers and consumers. This will mean a decrease in private consumption, which accounts for 60 percent of Taiwan's gross domestic product. While a normal economic downturn can be improved by the introduction of various stimulus measures, stagnation caused by a graying population cannot be resolved using quick fixes. If a recession is an acute problem, the graying of society is a chronic ailment. Chronic diseases are usually neglected, and the issue of a rapidly aging population has been often placed at the bottom of the government's priorities. Despite repeated warnings from experts over the years, the government has never presented any serious policy to deal with the problem, except providing some meager subsidies and tax deduction and creating a slogan to encourage people to have more children. We have already delayed addressing the problem for 20 years. There is not much time left to take action. (Editorial abstract -- Aug. 25, 2014) (By Y.F. Low)
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