Befolkningensaldringens overvurderede konsekvenser: Ældrebyrden til eftersyn


  • Mathias Meijer



Mathias Meijer: Overselling the burden of the ageing population. This article challenges the apocalyptic discourse of population ageing that maintains that the ageing of the Danish population is one of the greatest challenges to the welfare state making it unsustainable without considerable welfare reforms. By relating the future demographic projections to historical and international trends, the article shows that population ageing is not a new phenomenon, and that Denmark is one of countries with the slowest rate of ageing in the OECD. Contrary to most other Western countries, Denmark has already made several reforms that reduce the future economic pressure posed by an ageing population. In addition, economic projections about Danish economy artificially amplify the future economic challenges caused by population ageing by not taking the dynamic development of the population into account. The article argues that the reason population ageing is continuously referred to as a major challenge to the welfare state is that it is used as a neutral, non-ideological and apolitical pretext to discredit the welfare state in its current form in order to legitimatise neo-liberal welfare reforms. Hence population ageing is used as a Trojan horse to change the structural relationship between state, market and civil society by transforming Denmark into an all-working society and by strengthening political discourses aiming to reduce the role of state in the economy by intensifying privatisation and contracting out of public services.


Mathias Meijer

Cand.Scient.Soc. fra Aalborg Universitet, Socialantropolog fra University of London.