Presentation on theme: "Is this our future too? Away from the pleasant, tree-lined streets the price of Japan's transformation into the world's greyest society is being paid by."— Presentation transcript:
Is this our future too? Away from the pleasant, tree-lined streets the price of Japan's transformation into the world's greyest society is being paid by a growing number of people who live, and die, in complete isolation. In 1960 not a single Tokiwadaira resident was aged over 65, but its demographics, like Japan's, are changing fast. Now, almost a third of the 5,360 residents are elderly; in 10 years they will make up around 40%. "It has changed beyond recognition," says Yutaka Sakai, head of a local group that reaches out to at-risk residents. "Tokiwadaira has become a cheap place for old people who live alone. They move here when they retire and find it difficult to make friends. In many cases they're dead within a few years.(Source: Guardian April 17 th 2007)
Causes of Ageing Population People are living longer – the first trend Women are having fewer children – the later trend
The ageing population
UN Forecast for 2050 One person in three will be a pensioner Nearly one in ten will be over 80.
Is it very useful to simply project this trend?
Longer and longer lives? But life expectancy in more than 40 countries is anticipated to be lower in 2010 than in In Russia womens life expectancy fell from 74 to 71 in the ten years to 1994 and mens fell from 64 to 57 In sub-Saharan Africa, life expectancy has dropped by years in the past two decades. This is largely because of AIDS. Because the young are dying, populations are ageing proportionality Also as more people become obese while others overuse alcohol and drugs, subsequent generations in several countries may not live, on average, longer than previous generations. The WHO predicts a surge in deaths around the world from diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
27% of US medicare costs are for people in the last year of their lives while end-of-life care itself may be cheaper both in terms of treatments and lower in-patient costs per day than hospital treatment, as people live longer and are more likely to spend several years with the conditions that will eventually kill them, the cost of end-of-life care as a percentage of overall healthcare spending is likely to rise sharply..... The Quality of Death – Economist Intelligence Unit Report
Make Old People Work Longer? Raising the age at which people can retire and draw a pension as a way of reducing the cost of pensions assumes that there are jobs and training available. In the UK, some 40 per cent of the one million people aged between 50 and 65 who want to work are unable to find employment, according to a 2004 National Audit Office study.
Take over of pensions by the finance sector Pension funds and their assets are largely controlled by international financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies. The trustees appoint fund managers and often an "external" investment firm, such as a bank insurance company or an independent investment company, that charges management fees for the service. Such managers are often in fact divisions of huge financial corporations such as Citigroup or Merrill Lynch, and as such seek to promote the interests not only of the fund but also of their parent company.
The Theory of (Private) Pensions People save out of earnings. The savings are invested and make the economy more productive. That allows people to live on the extra productivity of the economy through corporate earnings in their old age so much for the theory.....
The reality of private pensions (1) Private pension schemes dont significantly affect savings – has been shown in research Most people cannot afford to save enough anyway For the private sector to provide reasonable pensions, it has been calculated that every adult in the UK would need to save 15 per cent of their income for 45 years of their working life. Such saving is beyond the capacity of most people, particularly if they also have to pay for student loans, mortgages, school fees, health care and credit card debt Pension funds shifting their money around on a vast scale destabilise financial markets anyway and......
The reality of Private Pensions (2) Fees charged by private fund managers can almost halve the growth of a personal pension over a 40-year period according to some research. (Robin Blackburn, Finance and the Fourth Dimension, New Left Review 39, May-June 2006 ) The actions of fund managers working with huge assets have been a major cause of financial instability – which then wipes out the value of pensions The stock market crash of August 2011 wiped £250bn from the value of ordinary peoples pensions, whilst the Financial Times calculated that on average savers had lost one fifth of their pensions.
There is an even bigger problem..
Most business and investing strategies by the pensions industry have ignored limits to growth issues and have often piled investment into industries and economic sectors that are unsustainable
Action of Climate Change and Pensions The overweighting of the UK stock market towards fossil fuel companies means that UK pension funds are at particular risk of any sudden reassessment of the viability of high-carbon energy sources, according to a leading analyst. According to the most likely projections by climate scientists, at least one-half of fossil fuel assets will have to be left in the ground, said Nick Robins, head of the HSBC climate change centre of excellence in London. Were still pricing [companies in the extractives sector] as if they are all going to be exploited. This is a particular concern for the UK as our stock market is overweight fossil fuels, he said, creating the risk of stranded assets. Unhealthy-Overweighting-of-Fossil-Fuel-Stocks.html
This is a bitter irony because
Inter-generational Justice and Sustainability "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs – Brundtland Commission Definition 1987
Peak Oil and Pensions With peak oil, what is likely to happen is that the default rate on existing debt will rise, so Pension Funds that own bonds (or other debt instruments) will discover that they are worth less than they thought, perhaps nothing. Pension plans will discover that quite a few of their assets arent what they thought–they will never be repaid with interest. So insurance companies are likely to stop selling annuities, because they really cant make good on long-term promises any more, if there are too many debt defaults. Pension plans may then become uncommon. People will figure out that they really cant save very well for retirement–they will have to depend on their friends or relatives, or perhaps a government program funded by taxes or alternatively...
New models? Alternative models may arise in which people invest for the long term in objects that provide something ongoing for local communities – e.g. getting a share of ownership in their local community wind farm – perhaps taking their pension as a certain amount of energy generated by the wind farm – if denominated in kWh this would not then be eroded by inflation and the uncertain value of money... In that sense saving and then investing in the wind farm would be like buying wind energy in advance for your old age...
Ultimately however Security in old age depends on being loved and supported by others in a reciprocal relationship where one continues to play a valuable social role as late as possible and being in a caring community This is not a technical problem of market returns but a problem for communities and for the provisioning economy....
So, for example, older people work in unseen ways Age Concern, estimates that the childcare provided by grandparents in the UK would cost about £3.9 billion in childminding fees.