Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Andrei The real world vs the ivory tower

The Retirement Commissioner, Diana Crossan, has thrown the Government a curveball with her suggestion that the retirement age be raised to reduce the expenditure on pensions as the population ages.

John Key, like every other politician in living memory as reacted by kicking the issue into touch. Which displeases Diana Crossan.

The real problem is of course the declining fertility of the New Zealand female. Whereas the women of New Zealand raised large families in the years immediately following World War 2, their offspring and their offspring's offspring have not.

And the generation born in the aftermath of World War two are now retiring creating a large liability upon those still in their productive years. A situation predicted many years ago now and kicked into touch then as now.

Of course while in a theoretical sense Diana Crossan is 100% correct that raising the retirement age will address this, in the real world it will just shift the problem.

You see in the ivory towers people can indeed easily continue to work into their seventies and beyond. But in the hard scrabble real world which the vast majority inhabit it is not quite that simple.

For example a good friend of mine is 48 years old and a boiler maker. In days gone by he helped create, as a small cog in a big wheel, things like Kapuni.

But after years of manipulating large, heavy and recalcitrant pieces of steel into conforming to the specifications as drawn on blueprints, his back has gone, along with two fingers. And he can no longer do this, no longer can he climb dizzying heights or contort himself into awkward positions to construct the wonderful structures that make the world work.

What's a man to do? He could I suppose study education, get a masters degree in Homosexuality in Education or something and embark on an entirely new career. But somehow knowing the man I doubt that this would have a particularly happy outcome.

Meanwhile in the economically important field of gender studies (say) the academic is unlikely acquire physical ailments in the course of his?/her employment. And indeed the depredations of time have far less impact upon the ability of him?/her to carry out the duties required of him?/her as per his?/her job description.

And to be blunt, if aging does bring a slowing down in the rate of publication of important papers in gender studies journals, who the hell is even going to notice? So not retiring until seventy or more is indeed a perfectly viable option under such circumstances.

1 comment(s):

Moist von Lipwig said...

Exactly!
Who the hell is going to notice if aging does bring a slowing down in the rate of publication of important papers in gender studies journals, or any other academic endeavours for that matter.
Your 'real world' analogy is spot on.
Suggestions for raising the retirement age always seem to come from people who think de-fragging a hard drive is 'work'

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