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自学考试英语(二)阅读资料(10)

文章来源:安徽自考网    点击数:    更新时间:2015-06-06 00:00:00  所属栏目:资料专区

    Aging in European Countries

      We have to realise how old, how very old, we are. Nations are classified as "aged" when they have 7 per cent or more of their people aged 65 or above, and by about 1970 every one of the advanced countries had become like this. Of the really ancient societies, with over 13 per cent above 65, all are in Northwestern Europe. At the beginning of the 1980's East Germany had 15.6 per cent, Austria,

      Sweden, West Germany and France had 13.4 per cent or above, and England and Wales 13.3 per cent. Scotland had 12.3 per cent. Northern Ireland 10.8 percent and the United States 9.9 per cent. We know that we are getting even older, and that the nearer a society approximates to zero population growth, the older its population is likely to be - at least, for any future that concerns us now.

      To these now familiar facts a number of further facts may be added, some of them only recently recognised. There is the apparent paradox that the effective cause of the high proportion of the old is births rather than deaths. There is the economic principle that the dependency ratio - the degree to which those who cannot earn depend for a living on those who can - is more advantageous in older societies like ours than in the younger societies of the developing world, because lots of dependent babies are more of a liability than numbers of the inactive aged. There is the appreciation of the salient historical truth that the aging or advanced societies has been a sudden change.

      If "revolution" is a rapid resettlement of the social structure, and if the age composition of the society counts as a very important aspect of that social structure, then there has been a social revolution in European and particularly Western European society within the lifetime of everyone over 50. Taken together, these things have implications which are only beginning to be acknowledged. These facts and circumstances were well to the fore earlier this year at a world gathering about aging as a challenge to science and to policy, held at Vichy in France.

      There is often resistance to the idea that it is because the birthrate fell earlier in Western and Northwestern Europe than elsewhere, rather than because of any change in the death rate, that we have grown so old. But this is what elementary demography makes clear. Long life is altering our society, of course, but in experiential terms. We have among us a very much greater experience of continued living than any society that has ever preceded us anywhere, and this will continue. But too much of that lengthened experience, even in the wealthy West, will be experience of poverty and neglect, unless we do something about it .

      If you are now in your thirties, you ought to be aware that you can expect to live nearly one third of the rest of your life after the age of 60. The older you are now, of course, the greater this proportion will be, and greater still if you are a woman. Expectation of life is a slippery figure, very easy to get wrong at the highest ages. At Vichy the demographers were telling each other that their estimates of how many old there would be and how long they will live in countries like England and Wales are due for revision upwards.

      欧洲国家的老龄化

      我们不得不认识到我们多大岁数了,有多老了。当有7%或更多的65岁或65岁以上的人时,这些国家就被列为"老龄化"国家。到大约1970年,每一个发展国家就成了这样的国家。65岁以上的人超过13%的真正的老年人社会,都在西北欧。20世纪80年代初,东德有15.6%的人超过65岁,在奥地利、瑞典、西德和法国,这个比率为13.4%或更高,英格兰和威尔士有13.3%,苏格兰有12.3%,北爱尔兰有10.8%,美国有9.9%。我们知道人类在日益变老,人口增长率接近于零的社会离我们越近,人口越可能呈老龄化的趋势,至少就与影响我们的未来来说是这样的。

      更多的现实,这其中有些只是近来才认识到,可能会加入到这些熟悉的现实中。有这样一个明显的似是而非的论点:造成老年人比率高的实际原因是出生人数而不是死亡人数。有一条经济原则:抚养率不能自食其力的人依靠能挣钱养家的人的程度在我们这样的更为老龄化的社会里比在发展中世界的较年轻社会里要有利一些,因为大量的无法独立的孩子与一定数的丧失工作能力的老年人相比,更是个负担。有对这样一个明显的历史真实的正确评价:先进社会的老龄化一直以来都是一种突变。

      如果"革命"是对社会结构的迅速重建,如果社会的年龄构成被看作社会结构的一个非常重要的方面,那么在欧洲,特别是每一个人的寿命超过50岁的西欧,已经有一场革命。综上所述,人们只是刚刚开始认识到这意味着什么。这些事实和情况早些时候在法国维希举行的一个世界大会上被视为科学家和政策的挑战而置于显著的地位。

      我们人口的老龄化,是因为在西欧和西北欧出生率比其他地方下降得早,百不是因为死亡率发生了一些变化。对这一观点经常有人不以为然,但这是通过基本的人口统计学澄清的事实。当然,长寿正改变着我们的社会,但这只是经验论。我们之中有一种比先于我们的任何社会多得多的继续生存的经历,这种经历将继续下去。除非我们能在这方面采取措施,即使在富裕的西方,太多的这种经历将被,视为贫穷和荒废的过去。你现年三十几岁,你应当知道,你可以指望在活到60 岁以后再活上差不多15年。现在你年纪越大,这个比例就越高。如果你是女性,这个比例还会更大。预期寿命不是一个固定数字,在最高年龄上很容易弄错。在维希,人口学家互相转告,在像英格兰和威尔士这些国家,他们对将有多少老人和他们能活多久的估计应向上调整。

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