Working until 67 or what?

There is a debate going on in most European countries about the need to postpone retirement to account for demographic transition taking place in the rich societies of the Old World. The main argument is that conventional pension systems, within which the current workforce finances the pensions currently paid to the retirees, cannot be sustained any longer. The disproportion between the working parts of the population and the pensioners has become too large. To overcome this problem, it is proposed to change the law and increase retirement age. However, many oppose such proposals, particularly the political Left, maintaining that we already do work too long. In fact, it may well be that both sides are right (or wrong) at the same time. Continue reading

Is Europe’s Population Problem Really One?

One of the biggest challenges currently facing many European countries (as well as, e.g., Japan) seems to be the contraction of its population – i.e., exactly the opposite of what is the problem globally. When you ask a politician or an economist, or a demographer, you will be told that this challenge is a really daunting one – it calls into question one of the foundations of European wealth, the welfare state. However, tough as the demographic overthrow is in the short to middle run and seen locally, it is worthwhile to ask whether it is in the long run and when a global view is taken, too. Continue reading