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This imbalance is the light at the end of the tunnel for the masses of unemployed in the developed world. Someone is going to need what you produce and they will pay you to produce it. Hooray! Millions are prepared to work, not to worry Tyler Durden.
It's amazing. One mention of older people and younger people lose their economic wits. As Dean Baker often says, think of the trend line in productivity. Think of improvements in health as a positive. Think of services that elderly might eventually need as productive economic activity. MMT doesn't usually panic. It tends to be calm in a storm. Time we demonstrated a thorough going understanding of demographics, took on board our understanding of uncertainty, and look seriously at the economics of an apparently aging population and low birth rates. And by thorough, I mean REALY thorough.
This is a world chart, not US. For US have they added in the millions of immigrants that will become citizen. Also, the impact of this, if any, is the impact on available real resources. I would also think that if those twenty million ever find a job the impact will be less. So this chart doesn't add much we all did not know IMO.
Whatever happens I'd bet my shirt, austerity won't make the future more bearable.I'm also quite sure the "for profit" private sector won't be providing anything to those with no income.
My guess is that we will see developed societies adjust their dependency ratios by finding a variety of creative ways for older citizens to do productive work.Many, perhaps most, older people can and want to work. They just can't and don't want to put in 40 hour weeks. I suspect some of our social arrangements will change, and instead of promoting the currently institutionalized sharp retired/unretired, we will see workers instead go through a transitional period of "throttling down" to 30 hours, 20 hours, 10 hours before finally entering full retirement. These different grades of retirement can be associated with a scale of gradually increasing social benefits and public support.I think in a few years we will be talking about the increasing prominence of the "gray economy" - the sector of the economy consisting of predominantly older workers producing goods and services for others in their age cohort.
Dan K. "Many, perhaps most, older people can and want to work."My maternal grandfather was a civil engineer from Vienna that worked all over Europe as a railroad engineer laying out track. When he emigrated to the US, he because a mechanical engineer working on machines that make machine tools. He had to quit working at 85 due to a progressively worse hart condition and passed away at 86.The company manager had told my mother that in the last few years before my grandfather could not work any longer, he used to nod off much of the day but they kept him on at full pay since he had worked there so long and loved his work. The manager said they knew it would kill him if they forced him to retire.
We may also begin to recognize that children and other apparent total dependants contribute also - it's a bit like the campaign slogan from women in the 1980s - yes, they do do work at home. We know are more likely to admit to the fact that some women went out to waged work because they had to to keep up with household costs. Women have rights to work of course, but women were also counted simply because productivity gains were leached out of the economy by finance rents. We must challenge the idea of the 'productive person' as something adopted by capitalism's bean counters and implies that the only way to contribute is to be in the labour force. That's never entirely been the case, though this was much easier to understand when the home and land were the site of subsistence economic activity. As David Graeber argues, communism and cooperation is part of our daily lives in countless ways - we contribute continuously in our daily being.Hence it's politics and values that limits the measure of our contribution solely as the output of the wage slave. The sophisticated Marx knew this when berating the workerist tendency amongst socialists. He understood that the status of wage slave is as much a historical outcome of feudalism as it is of being apparently free wage labour within capitalism, as Graeber also argues. If we behave like slaves in our politics and values, then we will be treated like slaves!The other dispicable tendency is to believe that our contributions are necessarily consumed in the moment. The communal ideas of the commons into which we put things of value as a store for the future have also been lost to the bean counters and their timeless models of greed and expropriation.We are at another watershed. Older people will only be dependent in fact if we see their condition as the outcome of no longer having worth as a wage slave. If we don't challenge this idea then the dependency of the wage slave will also be the legacy we leave for our children to inherit.
The informal economy is estimated to be the second largest in the world, ~10T.
The problem is (Tom Hickey) as Dean Baker has also pointed out, that many people are ill or disabled by the time they reach the age of 55. We believe and say that such people are 'retiring early'. No, they just can't work any longer. That doesn't mean that they don't have very full contribution records e.g. In pensions, or in kind because they simply have contributed.I like the idea of your grandfather, but we're under the yoke of austerity. We need to politicise and protect people from the panic and ageism spread by wealthy asset strippers.
@ JWRight. The US is acting more and more like a failed state than the world leader setting the example and pushing out the envelope.
I felt confused when I visited the US - we only get our familiarity from outside, so I'd say the US can be great as are some of you people. Thanks for a friendly reply in the face of my disaffection with world capitalism.
And to Dan too! Apologies and thanks for your very helpful comment.
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