Demographics

Upcoming Issues with Providing Adequate Retirement Income in the West

Over the years, on a previous blog, I wrote many articles about how the West has no worthwhile future. While some might see this as wishful thinking, my analysis was based on multiple converging trends from very low fertility rates and technological stagnation to deindustrialization and concurrent financialization of their economies. My point was, and still is, that the large number of adverse trends is beyond coping ability of any society, let alone one which was already on a long-term downward path. While many of my previous posts on this area focused on certain specific issues such the widespread loss of institutional competence, extensive social atomization, rise of secular doomsday cults such as environmentalism, spread of neoliberalism etc, I have yet to address one specific issue (at least directly) and this post will fix that issue.

So.. let us talk about ability of the system to provide for adequate retirement income and its many adverse consequences. But before we go there, let me make one thing clear- this problem will be far more severe in the anglophone West than in countries such as France, Germany or Japan. But what caused this problem in the first place? Didn’t older people through most of human history and prehistory get along without the state or some company providing them? Well.. yes, because for most of human history and even today (outside the West) most older people live with their children and grand-children. In fact, the concept of older adults universally living with their offspring predates the emergence of modern humans as a species. There is a good amount of archeological evidence for Humans and Neanderthals caring for their chronically sick and older people tens of thousands of years ago.

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