By Alban Goguel d’Allondans
The debate over the relationship between aging populations and social creativity dates back to antiquity, when the question concerned the age from which an individual can assume responsibilities in the city. However, responsibility is often confused with creativity, that is, the making of something new that will be socially accepted. Our society is organized along norms based on chronological age, and this limits individuals’ creative potential. However, the linear career paths dictated by age are no longer relevant in today’s society. In rich countries, the longer lifespan of the (large) middle class, the desire for continuous learning until an advanced age, the drive to do, learn, and achieve, and the need to be recognized through activities or expertise, all point to individuals who, without reference to age, should be multi-skilled and mobile. Were this to happen, society would acknowledge these individuals as such. The case of the Nordic countries shows that it is both desirable and feasible to adopt a vocational, continuous education policy catering to all age groups and thus to combine social protection and employment policies that can adapt and renew all individuals’ skills during their chosen period of activity.