Friday, 22 May 2009

Economic madness

2 contrasting stories today. The Times has a piece about the pioneering work of George Magnus, who is joining the growing numbers of us in making the point that the demographic time bomb that is with us is as great a natural disaster as climate change in the short term.

"Baby-boomers hitting retirement may not sound exciting next to the threat of countries disappearing into the ocean or drought wiping out food crops, but the threat is real and the results could be expensive. Mr Magnus puts this into context by explaining that the cost of cleaning up the banking crisis will be up to 25 per cent of GDP, but that the cost of the UK’s ageing population – the next four decades of pensions, healthcare, disability benefits and residential care – will cost 330 per cent of GDP." “The richest source of participation in this country is people aged over 55,” Mr Magnus, 60, said. “We have to change the nature of work and the workplace to allow people to work longer.” He states that a retirement age of 65 is a total nonsense. Our economy cannot support an increasing number of people living 20 unproductive years after that.

Yet on the other hand, a recent survey from Age Concern and Help the Aged shows that 1 in 7 HR managers plans to use the default retirement age to help cut jobs. Why is this craziness occuring? Because yet again we have no leadership on this issue from this current G'ment.

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