Age Shock: How Finance is Failing Us by Robin Blackburn

By Robin Blackburn

A searing examine the financial problem of an getting older society, with radical new proposals.
Most international locations face the long run with an getting old inhabitants, but such a lot governments are decreasing on pensions and the care providers wanted through the aged. Robin Blackburn exposes the perverse reasoning and distinct pursuits that have mixed to provide this nonsensical scenario. This up-to-date paperback version of Age surprise incorporates a new preface explaining why the credits crunch and eurozone main issue have had this kind of devastating influence and outlining the way to warrantly first rate pensions and care provision.

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But even with these cuts, Europe still needs to find extra funds to plug the gaps in its social care and pension budgets. 67 In facing up to the costs of an ageing society, it will be helpful if new sources of finance can be found so that existing taxes do not have to carry the whole burden. The alternatives laid out in chapters 6 and 7 of this book retain their validity, as does the need to tax capital rather than labour incomes. But direct contributions from employees also have a role. In an important book, Teresa Ghilarducci urges that in the US the Social Security old age pension should be supplemented by a universal, man datory pension for all employees.

The `reforms' recommended by the G20 implied considerable regulation, but proved irksome rather than effective. In the end governments felt obliged to bow to the needs of the finance houses. In nearly every case bondholders and shareholders have avoided paying for their own mistakes ± instead, taxpayers have had to stump up. Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, became restive at the veto powers wielded by the often feckless or miscreant mega banks. 37 If financial engineering brought real benefits then it could fend for itself without government backing.

The response to the crisis was overwhelmingly confined to manipula tion of interest rates and the money supply. It should have embraced control of the banks and tangible projects of public utility. In the wake of the crisis the British government failed to prevent the closure of a Vestas factory making wind turbine blades in the Isle of Wight, a Pfizer laboratory in Kent, research facilities in Cambridge and a rail plant in Derby ± with each closure throwing specialist engineering and research teams on the scrap heap, reducing tax revenue and swelling unemploy ment costs.

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