Pessimists look at America's aging population and see nothing but doom ahead because of the strains it will put on Social Security, Medicare, and the like. They might cheer up by taking a look at Japan, where "America's future has already arrived," writes Dante Ramos. Nearly 1 in 4 Japanese are 65 or older, and those doomsday scenarios are nowhere in sight. Most seniors remain healthy, productive members of society, with entrepreneurs looking for new ways to tap into their expertise.
"Japan's experience shows that, while the aging of society looks mainly like a problem for the social-welfare system when it appears on the horizon, it reveals other dimensions when it arrives," Ramos writes in the Boston Globe. "Not all senior citizens need nursing care, and not all can take, or want to take, the equivalent of a permanent vacation in West Palm Beach. Over time, aging societies will have to recognize their older residents as an economic force and as a pool of talent."