“Though the hair grays, the heart hasn’t; grabbing a golden glass of wine and listening to the good old songs make me feel tipsy.” This Chinese song, written by the eleventh-century poet Ouyang Xiu, reflects the inner mind of Dr. Wu, though the latter regards this song, even seeming to be optimistic, to be not powerful enough on account of the fact that Dr. Wu thinks the substantial alteration and the real action caused by the spiritual awakening of the collectivity matter more.
Dr. Chun-cheng Wu, who has taught at Shih Hsin University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Hong Kong University, currently is the President of the Jet-Go Consulting Group and the Chairman of the Foundation of Strong Generation. Recently, his team consisting of disparate generations is dedicated to a revolution called “Strong Generation” in Taiwan, which ranks number one in the world in terms of population aging rate.
“Gray hair, satisfying age, and orange generation” are terms no more than ageism bias, so I put forward a proposal which focuses more on the positive characteristics of this generation, and hope to utilize our team’s energy to make a change for the society.” Chun-cheng Wu said to the interviewing team of the Icons.
Why is the richest generation facing discrimination in the market?
As a middle-aged man walked into a store, the clerk asked, “are you buying for your kids?”
“Why does it have to do with buying for kids and grandsons? Why can I buy it for myself?” While people think of aging society, fragile government pensions, the health care system that is on the fringe of bankruptcy, the dependency ratio that becomes a burden for the youth, and the negative labels used to classify those “gray class” always come to mind. “But don’t forget that with the advancement of medicine and the universalization of education come ‘three highs,’ which is high longevity, high education, and high fortune, all of which can make enormous changes, both in quality and quantity. What a business!”
“Strong generation comes from the baby boom generation, who have experienced high education, industrialization, globalization, securitization, and digitalization. They hop on the train of economic rise, possess a high ratio of fortune, and in Taiwan and some nations, enjoy the democratization. From the agriculture period to the AI time, they have continued to learn and produce at the frontline, possessing two-thirds of the wealth cumulated in society; now they have smart skills in the office and do not lack a global open-mindedness”
“However, with the betterment of medicine come problems! Compared to the past, people live much longer. If one does not have an ambition, the collapsing might follow suit. In Taiwan and Japan, before people pass away, they spend nearly nine years lying in bed, while the people in the Nordic countries only spend two weeks before they eventually go to heaven.” If people have a six-pack, go to college, or even fall in love before passing away, high longevity might be the best present God has ever given to us.
However, before having this present, people should be aware of the concept put forward by Chun-cheng Wu: “ultra aging society 3.0: the three arrows of the strong generation’s statements!”
First Arrow: awakening – personal social responsibility
Chun-cheng Wu said that the word which can represent people’s earlier period of life is “strong,” which means that people compete for more resources and attempt to reach a higher peak in their life. But how about the later part of their life? What our parents always tell us, such as having a tranquil mind and being willing to accept whatever comes, can be reflected in the meaning of “peace.” According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, “strong” in the earlier period of life is equivalent to the fourth layer, “esteem.” People make efforts and sacrifice their life in order to receive approval and become more valuable, but why do they return to the status of “peace” in the later part of their life, the least layer that is “safety”?
“The solution is to upgrade ‘peace’ to ‘strong.’ The ‘powerful’ in the earlier life is to compete while the ‘strong’ in the later part of life is to seek a broad horizon, a broad mind, and a broad life.” These are what the movement of ‘strong generation’ focuses on, a result of self-awareness. Life comes from being ‘strong’ and ending in being ‘strong.’ Then our life would be worth it!”
Second Arrow: opportunities – corporate social responsibility
Statistics suggest that the number of people who are over sixty years old account for only five percent of consumers targeted by the advertisement of the enterprises in the U.S. Generally, they are not aggressive when it comes to the industry for the older aged people because they think that the older aged people are reluctant to spend. However, according to the surveys conducted by the Foundation of Strong Generation and Consumers’ Foundation, more than eighty percent of the elder feel being biased when purchasing, such as the content and package of a product, the way by which they can report unfair treatment, the words used to describe a product, and the expression of clerks.
“In addition to the insufficient awakening of the strong generation, enterprises have a misunderstanding with regard to the knowledge about the industry for the highly-aged people.” Chun-cheng Wu pointed out that there remain some issues to be pondered over.
The first is “negative label of the industry.” Big data suggests that when “gray hair” is searched on the internet, the keywords popping out would be disease, incapacity, stubbornness, out-of-fashion, and other negative words. Without any other replacement, “gray hair” seems to be a part of negativity.
The second issue is “outmoded statement on the industry.” Previously, the industry for the older people was regarded as something like a winter, so it has developed a much healthier “white business opportunity.” Afterwards, the “orange business opportunity” statement that it feels more like an autumn came up, developing much more aggressive services. However, these are not powerful enough to trigger the spending motivation of the strong generation.
The third issue is to “use broken skills.” Many enterprises devoted to the industry for the older people don’t shake off the notion that they are the elder hence the weaker. A great number of products still focus on resolving the safety need and the physical need of the highly-aged consumers. They say “if the elderly have a problem, I would offer skills to solve it. Is it not bad?” Therefore, these products will only be purchased when the consumers really need them, which means the spending motivation is more of a “stress” rather than an “attraction.”
Third Arrow: solution – government social responsibility
“Policies are made by people, which means if the people make wrong decisions, everything would be in vain. That will cause a national security crisis.” Chun-cheng Wu reminded that now there are two opposing phenomena that warrant attention, the first being ‘people who lying in bed as a result of the aging society’ and the second being ‘the lying flat people caused by fewer births.’
Before they turn sixty years old, the elderly are provided with endless choices and ways offered by the society, from going to school and working to getting married and having children. But after sixty years old, the services provided by the government suddenly become limited, and enterprises only sell products that offer the basic need. Many people feel directionless because of the low degree to which they participate in society, so they become incapable of doing things and end up lying in bed; the youth feel disappointed by the economic downgrade, the stagnation of social stratum, and the escalation of social problems, choosing to lie flat when it comes to deal with things.
Chun-cheng Wu emphasized that it is important to launch critical laws and use the energy of enterprises. These would mean building up a model city and starting a chain effect, making the longevity economy a safeguard for the country. “The strong generation has two-thirds of the wealth in society. If they hide it under the bed, the economic cycle would be lost, so would be the opportunity to start new business and create jobs. If they are awakening, and enterprises can afford products that will satisfy their life, the strong generation would be willing to release a great amount of wealth to create endless start-ups, motivate the longevity economy, and offer unlimited job opportunities for the youth.”
“While they are dressed fashionably and go out to make some purchases, leading the fad, the youth would be trying their best to earn the money in their pockets. Then gone with the lying bed! Gone with the lying flat! The conflicting positions between generations would be gone as well! This would be the whole new beautiful world after the awakening of the strong generation!”