Ageism is Bad – Except in Silicon Valley?

GlobalAgingA report last year by the Milken Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging  reaches a shockingly ageist conclusion – a younger workforce is “tremendously beneficial” for growth in industries like Silicon Valley.

The 2016 report, Redefining Traditional Notions of Aging; Embracing Longevity Across Cultures,  discusses the evils of ageism and goes on to state:

“Granted, there are industries and sectors within the economy in which a younger workforce is tremendously beneficial to growth. This is especially true in places like Silicon Valley, the global bastion for young budding technology engineers and entrepreneurs.”

The authors credit Silicon Valley’s youthful workplace for “creative ideas and the abilities to build new products and provide new services have boosted innovation, efficiency, and economic growth.” The report notes the average age at Google is 30; Facebook, 28; LinkedIn 29;  and Apple, 31.

(The authors do not acknowledge that the average ages noted above are the result of pervasive and unaddressed age discrimination in Silicon Valley, which technically is illegal under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.)

The aging center is chaired by Paul H. Irving and the report was written by Milken Institute staff members Perry Wong, Belinda Chng, Amos Garcia, Arielle Burstein.

The Center’s Board of Advisors includes Joanne Jenkins, CEO of the AARP;  Joseph Coughlin, Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab; and, Catherine Collinson,  President, Transamerica Institute and Executive Director, Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement.

The report singles out the retirement age for failing to reflect increasing longevity and the prolonged healthier mental and physical abilities that allow older adults to remain active and productive for a longer share of their life. The report stresses the importance of keeping older workers in the workforce because “[a]ging populations …  draw down their savings, reducing the amount of capital for investment-related spending and depressing economic growth.”

The report also equates the aging of the world’s population with the potentially world-ending threat of climate change.

According to the report:  “Much like climate change, population aging is a hidden global force with few discernible indicators of its impending social impacts.” The “reality of aging,” the authors warn, is mental and physical decline that can burden society.

The Milken Institute describes itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to increase prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health.  

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