Five rules for an ageing world

China is not the only country with demographic challenges. What should countries be alert to when faced with a greying, shrinking population?

China's population declined for the first time since the Great Leap Forward, more than 60 years ago. PHOTO: REUTERS
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There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who believe the defining challenge of the 21st century will be climate change, and those who know that it will be the birth dearth, the population bust, the old age of the world.

That kind of column opener is a hostage to fortune. If I’m wrong, it might be quoted grimly or mockingly in future histories written with New York underwater and Texas uninhabitable.

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