Demography is the study of human populations and thus population ageing.
For all countries and regions (apart from one) economic growth is the mandate for all governments and economies. It is believed that economic growth increases standards of living. It is the term used to indicate the increase of per capita gross domestic product (GDP) and refers only to the quantity of goods and services produced.
Economics is the branch of social science that deals with the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services and their management through the analysis of the Factors of Production. The factors of production are the four resources which enable production; land, labour, capital and enterprise.
Focussing on the labour component, labour is a measure of the work done by human beings. Labour economics seeks to understand the functioning and dynamics of the market for labour. Such analysts are predominantly concerned with labour in terms of labour force participation and unemployment.
But, given that labour must be produced on a daily basis to achieve economic growth it should also be accepted that labour must be reproduced on an intergenerational basis.
This theory results in a concept known as Total Social Production. Total social production is where neither production nor reproduction can take place in the absence of the other. Therefore economic production and demographic reproduction are mutually interdependent.
Most economic analysts see demographic reproduction as secondary to economic activity. This ignorance has been a significant contributory factor as to why we are experiencing population ageing now. What has been missed by policy makers is the ability to ensure that production and reproduction can co-exist.
To manage the implications of population ageing into the future, the role of demography is paramount and can not be ignored any longer. It is time social policy and economic policy co-existed.