This article reviews the likelihood of inter-generational conflict arising from population ageing in the twentieth century. The evidence used to support the idea of inter-generational conflict is critically examined. The article puts forward an alternate scenario based on different projections about trends in employment, productivity and future economic growth. Finally, the paper reviews evidence that changes in preferences for care within the family will help to reduce generational tensions over the allocation of resources.
The chapter examines both the context for the rise of precarity in the lives of older people as well as responses and alternative areas of practice. The chapter reviews the link between precarity and changes in the welfare state and austerity policies imposed by governments in the Global North. These developments are linked to the influence of neo-liberal policies with their emphasis on individual responsibility for managing transitions through the life course. The chapter then considers the basis for ‘collective’ forms of agency, underpinned by a recognition of issues concerning the provision of universal basic services, substantive equality and collective engagement on the part of older people.
Set within the context of the global economic recession initiated by the collapse of major international financial institutions in 2008, Chris Phillipson assesses the ways in which processes arising from globalisation are transforming later life. Despite the fact that population ageing has frequently been constructed as a global problem and issue, the chapter argues that the on-going reduction of expenditure on public programmes increasingly acts to transfer risks to individual older people and their families. This process creates new and distinctive forms of inequality. The chapter examines competing trends in the exclusion debate in light of such global developments, and considers four potential approaches to challenging exclusion. This involves, firstly, maintaining a framework for supportive ties within and between generations; secondly, promoting understanding of the value of public services; thirdly, securing ‘protected social spaces’ to support vulnerable and marginal groups; and, fourthly, promoting a rights-based approach to development in later life.
It could be argued that discussions about the role of social class in the lives of older people have occupied a tenuous position in social research into ageing. This might seem a surprising statement given the concerns of many researchers with issues focused around financial resources, inequality and social exclusion. Despite the importance of such themes, the tendency has been to examine these only loosely through the lens of social class, with researchers often preferring to emphasise individual characteristics or life histories, other major social statuses (for example gender and ethnicity), or general features associated with the social organisation of age. Social class has in consequence been somewhat marginal to the range of concepts deployed to understand the lives of older people. This chapter develops a number of arguments as to why this might be the case. In addition, it considers whether it tells us anything of wider significance about the way social gerontology has developed. Would a fuller appreciation of social class add anything to our understanding of later life?
Demographic ageing is identified as a global challenge with significant social policy implications across local, national and international contexts. The 2008 economic crisis and related austerity policies further compound and complicate this challenge. Social policy pressures characterising ageing societies increasingly need to be understood within the context of the economic recession and the evolving circumstances of austerity. Yet, the extent to which the global economic crisis intensifies problems experienced in later life has been largely neglected as a research and policy topic. This book addresses this deficit by using Ireland as a site for unpacking social policy issues in ageing through austerity. The book interrogates whether or not the economic recession and austerity has in fact altered ageing experiences for older people in Ireland. A selection of internationally recognised policy issues for ageing societies are explored; demography; citizenship; participation and volunteering; work, gender and pensions; age-friendly communities and place; dementia care; and social exclusion. The book presents a critical analysis to contextualise and elaborate on international debates around these issues within the Irish austerity setting, and to identify future directions for research and policy that are relevant beyond Ireland. A central goal of contributors is to demonstrate linkages between the global, national and local levels that shape the experiences of ageing in a time of austerity. The emphasis, however, is as much on the capacity of the local to shape and manipulate global influence and forces, as it is about the power of globalisation over national and community contexts.
A range of policy developments are influencing transitions from paid work to retirement, focusing on encouraging people to continue employment into their 60s and 70s. This development has been accelerated by reforms in the case of the UK such as the abolition of the default retirement age (DRA), and the raising of state pension age (SPA) for both genders to age 66, rising to 67 by 2028. Other OECD countries are following similar paths, with, for example, France, Germany and Spain increasing their SPA to 67 between 2023 and 2029. The chapter examines the various influences shaping the transition from paid work to retirement, providing, first, a summary of the institutionalization of retirement in the 1950s and 1960s; second, changes affecting employment and retirement in the 1970s and 1980s; third, the reconstruction of this period from the 1990s onwards, and the attempt to extend working life (EWL) into the late 60s and beyond; fourth, a review of the various forms of ‘precarity’ which have come to affect paid work-endings; finally, a concluding review of the implications for developing public policies in the field of paid work and retirement which can resolve some of the pressures and insecurities emerging in this period of the life course.
This chapter explores the interaction between demography and globalisation. It observes that population ageing has been a major factor influencing changes in intergenerational relations, and such a demographic shift is firmly located in broader social and economic developments, including processes associated with globalisation. It also examines how demographic shifts and globalisation are currently influencing the nature of intergenerational relations by linking those two issues together, and asks, are any new forms of contact and reciprocity across generations emerging within and beyond national boundaries?
During the early part of the twentieth century, much uncertainty surrounds the transition from work to retirement. The causal factors for this uncertainty were spurred by the various directions associated with economic, social, and cultural change. The economic foundation of retirement has been undermined with the separation of state and personal pensions, and the movement of companies from defined benefit to money purchase schemes. The social desirability of retirement has also been questioned, with moves to increasing state pension age in all industrialised economies. In addition, the meaning attached to retirement has become more complex, reflecting the varied health, financial and personal circumstances of retirees. However, reversal of the retirement trends may prove difficult. Governments, for a variety of reasons, are encouraging later retirement along with ‘age diversity’ in the workplace. In contrast, attitudes and aspirations on the part of working people may run in the opposite direction. This chapter examines the tensions in the current debates in retirement by summarising the current trends in the transition from work to retirement; examining the range of factors encouraging people to leave employment; and assessing policy options for stimulating age diversity in the workplace.
This chapter examines issues relating to improving training and education for an ageing workforce, especially in the context of the physical and mental health challenges facing workers in the 50-plus age group. It considers current innovation within training and learning for older workers, and the potential contribution of further and higher education in supporting demographic change.
This chapter makes a general review of the pertinent issues and prospects for social and public policy on age and employment. It provides some insights from a detailed review for the Department for Work and Pensions. It outlines the current issues around work and retirement, then considers the many social policy initiatives that have acted as drivers to the removal or ‘exit’ and ‘pull’ factors. It details how social policy, particularly, since 1997, has been encouraging and promoting the exact opposite, the extension to working life. The chapter presents these trends by unambiguously documenting the growing body of work on this area. It suggests that the 20th century marked out a period in which the traditional notion of retirement became the norm.