Aging has become a hot-button issue over several last decades. All Western countries face it and its aftermaths. The number of retirees is getting higher, while the number of young people seems to be declining with each year. There are many theories as to why it is happening now when at the beginning of the twentieth century no aging issues were even present. The answer is pretty clear – industrialization.
Industrial advancement in twentieth century fostered vast inner immigration. There was plenty of jobs available, new technologies made average life expectancy higher and financial well-being enabled people to have more children. With such a large amount of workers economies of the Western countries became way stronger. New taxation systems filled state budgets with money to make sure retirees have nice pensions. It worked pretty well for some twenty of thirty years. But then after babyboomers retired new generation took their working places. The point is that the new generation did not want to have that many children as babyboomers did. And that is the root of the problem. Industrial, or better to say post-industrial society, where people are supposed to spend their entire lives working somewhere in a city, requires permanent increase in population as the younger generation is to be taxed to get a certain amount of money to pension fund. If there is no constant increase of inhabitants, hence there is no money to support retirees to be. It is exactly what we are facing nowadays. If the average number of children in an average family during sixties and seventies was about three to four, later it dropped to two children and even more commonly to having a single child. In that way the number of future retirees jumped up while the number of young workers declined significantly and the situation is not going to change as modern trends and movements like child-free are very popular among the youth.
Different countries are trying to solve that issue in different ways. In Scandinavia, for instance, they decided to make taxes higher and it seems to be working there as social security sphere gains tons of money each month from taxes (usual amount of taxes in Scandinavian countries varies from fifty to sixty per cent). Among other alternatives appropriate for highly industrialized countries there is increased amount of work. In a nutshell it is just encouraging people to work longer before retiring. It is very controversial option, though. First of all many poor people there tend to work on physically hard jobs, and working some more additional years seems to be absolutely invalid. The more complex problem with extending pre-retiring working time is that the job market is not actually very well adapted for it. Another possible solution is outer immigration. Several European countries like Germany are now experimenting with such an option, by now though it seems to make more new problems than solve existing ones.
All in all we have to admit that the problem with seniors being left with very little money is of dramatic importance. It is not yet clear how it is to be solved, or even if it is possible to solve such a complicated issue at all. The main point is that we bear the responsibility to support and help those people, who spend great part of their lives upbringing us.
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