A Japanese worker (above) turns steel on a lathe at a factory in Tokyo. Japan has one of the oldest workforces in the world Tsuo Inouye/AP/File
Commuters walk across London Bridge during morning rush hour in London. England, like many European countries, faces debt problems rooted in part in the demographics of aging and the cost of pension programs. Getty Images
A Chinese worker sweeps a walkway at the Forbidden City, home to emperors past, in Beijing. China has one of the most rapidly aging societies in the world. It faces what is called the ‘4-2-1 problem’ – the idea that, thanks to the country’s one-child policy, each young worker may need to help take care of two parents and four grandparents. Jeff Hutchens/Getty Images
BBC employees, some holding placards, joined a strike outside the organization’s television center in west London in early November. It was part of a two-day journalists’ strike over planned changes to the organization’s pension system. Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
Employees of the National Agency for Employment (Pole Emploi) demonstrate over pension reforms in Paris last November. Despite widespread street protests, the French government raised the retirement age from 60 to 62 as part of a broad-based austerity package. Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
Supervisor Eric Headley (left) heads back to his office while working for Pimlico Plumbers in London. Britain has raised its fixed retirement age to help cope with a yawning budget crisis. Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
Ren shuanggeng (r) provides information to two Census workers at his home in Beijing in November. China kicked off its once-a-decade census Monday, a whirlwind 10-day head count that will see 6 million census takers go door-to-door to document the massive demographic changes taking place in the world's most populous country. Ng Han Guan/AP
Russia's petroleum-dependent economy is facing a perfect storm of bad news, brought on plunging global crude prices and an ever-tightening set of Western sanctions imposed over the Kremlin's Ukraine policy. The Kremlin, which failed to diversify the economy fast enough during the fat years, now faces the urgent task of carrying out painful economic restructuring and public belt-tightening at the same time. If it doesn't, it risks losing the political and social stability that have been the hallmarks of the Vladimir Putin era.