By Robin Blackburn
A searing examine the financial challenge of an getting older society, with radical new proposals.
Most international locations face the longer term with an growing old inhabitants, but such a lot governments are decreasing on pensions and the care companies wanted by way of the aged. Robin Blackburn exposes the perverse reasoning and specific pursuits that have mixed to supply this nonsensical scenario. This up-to-date paperback version of Age surprise encompasses a new preface explaining why the credits crunch and eurozone quandary have had the sort of devastating effect and outlining how to warrantly good pensions and care provision.
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Additional info for Age Shock: How Finance is Failing Us
The privatizers usually employ a 7 per cent, or even 9 per cent, rate of return ± levels which always looked optimistic. In the last deeply troubled decade such rates are clearly unrealistic, and even 5 per cent is demanding. But across several decades, and with concerted, government backed measures of investment, it would be achievable. In suggesting measures of regulation and control there is a real danger that one misses the systemic impetus of capitalist accumulation. In this age of financialization this is stronger than ever and is seen in the recklessness with which the great banks pursued the expansion of their balance sheets.
Preface to the paperback edition xxxix By the summer of 2011 a new climacteric had been reached, but its advent already bore out the doctrine of Heraclitus that you don't step into the same river twice. The monetary mechanisms that had been at least half successful in 2009 were no longer available. Dropping interest rates to zero boosts demand, but even negative rates will not overcome the shyness of badly burnt investors. The willingness to engage in stimulus packages had evaporated. In 2007±8 the G20 governments were willing to take concerted measures; in 2010±11 the best that Washington and Brussels aspired to was ± as the phrase of the moment had it ± `kicking the can down the road'.
Some commentators believe that there are processes in motion that will lower Western living standards by about a quarter over the next decade or two: The imbalances in world trade and growth over the last decade have been hidden from the average voter by the ability of the West to borrow. This has allowed consumers and governments in Europe and America to maintain their living standards and neither recognise or adjust to the fact that the economic tide has turned against us. It's like being unemployed.