12/16/2010 11:21:38 AM - 0 Comments
Insights from GLI's Executive Vice President Eileen Pickett on economic development in Greater Louisville: Over the past 18 months or so, GLI has been intensely
focused on the opportunity for Louisville
to become the center of commerce, innovation and knowledge within the sector of
health enterprises known as Aging Care.
The economic growth opportunity would appear to be extraordinary: Louisville
already boasts more HQ of Aging Care companies than anywhere else in the
country. The Aging Care sector is on a
strong growth trajectory as populations age and need grows. And, there is a real need for innovation in
this industry that has seen virtually none over decades. The relocation of Signature Healthcare earlier this year and
the subsequent launch of the International Institute for Long Term Care are
testament to what this opportunity can reap. In parallel to the work and thinking around Aging Care, we
have been developing strategies to leverage the continued globalization of the
economy. What can we be doing to assist Louisville businesses in
making global connections? How can Louisville attract more
foreign direct investment? What
advantages does Louisville have for foreign
companies entering the US
market? The answers to these questions
and others present real opportunity and are central to GLI’s strategic plan. This article from the New York Times magazine looks at these
two phenomena – the aging of the world population and the globalization of the
world economy – that we have been considering separately and examines their
intersection and integrated relationship.
The article points out how quickly the global population is aging. For example, by 2018 there will be more
people over 65 years old on earth than there will be people under five. This represents a historic first. The author posits that the globalization of the economy is
happening so quickly because the population is aging, and that the population
is aging more quickly because of the speed and scope of globalization. The two phenomena are inter-related. The question is raised about China’s long-term viability as an
economic power because they are so dependent upon their younger (read cheaper)
workforce to the exclusion of the growing aging demographic. China talks publicly of – as a
country – growing old before it grows rich. “Older” economies have higher costs – wages, benefits, health care, etc.
– so investment tends to be pushed to younger economies. So that’s an example of how the aging
population affects the global economy. Now consider how globalization actually helps a population
grow older – access to information, health practices, sharing among countries, etc.
Even the global spread of literacy aids in the aging of populations – literacy
equals education and education equals the chance at a longer life. There are no ‘silver bullet’ answers here, but it’s pretty
interesting thinking that can help to inform and form our community strategies
as we move forward in the Aging Care cluster.
As countries deal with the aging of their populations and its effect on
their economies, it certainly becomes clear that Louisville’s
opportunity is not limited to being at the center of US activity. The clear opportunity is for Louisville to be the global
center for commerce, innovation and knowledge around Aging Care.
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