Thursday, 30 July 2009

Grey power

I spotted this letter in the Economist this week and thought it deserved a (marginally) wider audience. It's a superb piece of creative thinking, I'm sure you'll agree...


Regarding your special report on ageing populations (June 27th), I once proposed a solution somewhat tongue in cheek to the problem of pensions: turn retirement upside down. In my plan, people would be supported by society up to the age of 30. During that period they would study, travel, prepare for a profession, reproduce and give full-time care to their young. They would not hold any positions of responsibility, where their youthful enthusiasm, unbounded energy and overambition were likely to cause problems. After 30, they would work until they dropped dead or became incapacitated.

The advantages are many. First, there would be more people working to support those young "retirees". Second, social-security budgets could be prepared years in advance, and with greater certainty. Third, young "retirees" would need very little health care and the money saved could be spent on their education and child care. Fourth, individuals would enjoy life at the peak of their powers and give full attention to offspring. Fifth, no more bored and sick elderly people looked upon as useless.

Cylon Goncalves da Silva
Sao Paulo

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