The question that has been on our minds for a while has finally been answered.

Debated by teams of a mix of students from Emmanuel College and St Bede’s School, one side ‘It’s a blessing’, the other, ‘It’s a curse’.  After some professional coaching with our guest experts and judges: Gareth Johnson, Brewin Dolphin, Dorian Hughes Blackrock and Martin Cox, John Locke Institute, the students were ready to go.

Introduced by Gavin Clarke, Emmanuel College, chaired and moderated by Caroline Theobald, NIBE, the debate was opened by the  team from Blessing.  Each team then took turns to argue their well-researched points, with passion and conviction.

The students from the Blessing team argued:

‘Everyone wants to live as long as they can, people can have more than one career, they can vary their working life more, they can pass on their wisdom to the younger generation.  More provisions would be put in place to counteract loneliness and ill health, if people worked longer the money they pay in tax will cover the cost of healthcare.  Society adapts to change it will adapt to an aging population in a positive way. Older people are more inclined to be entrepreneurs which will be an overall benefit to society.  The advances in healthcare will ensure that the older generation has good health, leading to a better quality of life.  Advances in artificial intelligence will bring new careers in tech related industry, helping to improve lives and enhance life experience.   Society will adapt and see that 80 is not old age, it’s a new beginning.’

The Curse team counteracted with:

‘Old age brings ill health, dementia, depression, loneliness, the cost of healthcare will rise, care homes won’t be able to cope, the elderly will have to live with family already struggling with the cost of raising children.  The cost of food will rise as the world struggles to produce enough to feed everyone, fuel supplies will be under pressure, the need for more land to dispose of waste will increase.  Not everyone enjoys working and to have to work longer would be a curse, today’s generation would need to work until they are 80.  The experience and wisdom the older generation holds will be obsolete to the fast pace of the younger generation. Mental illness cannot be cured but can be controlled, the NHS would struggle to cope with the demand.  The advances in artificial intelligence will take over jobs performed by humans, humans will lack purpose.’


With both sides arguing so eloquently it was a good job there was an expert panel chaired by Prof Geoff Moore, Durham University, comprising of the experts above, as well as Prof Ron Beadle, Newcastle Business School, to decide who argued their point the best.

And the winner is:

BLESSING!  100 year life is a blessing and based on the impressive arguments of this generation, it’s in safe hands.

Congratulations to all students involved!