Friday, March 12, 2010


New York Times:

[I]t is still difficult to explain to outsiders why the Greek government has identified at least 580 job categories deemed to be hazardous enough to merit retiring early — at age 50 for women and 55 for men.

Greeks retire too early -- and Americans retire too early, too! Whatever age you are currently eligible to retire at, you should really start thinking about why it is unreasonable. If you need an expert with a chart to help explain this to you, that is no problem.

In a democracy, the retirement age of a society, or for particular categories of workers, is something that the society would figure out; it is an expenditure to be weighed against all other expenditures, in this way evaluated on the basis of importance.

However, the New York Times would like to emphasize that this doesn't take into account the feelings of "outsiders" -- those helpful folks who provide financing for your long-term goals, you know, because "they got the cash." It just happens that when you can't pay back your good friends in finance, their preferences become very important! Suddenly, your friends have a lot of advice to give with regard to how you run your life, and how it might not meet their expectations. Far be it from good friends to contrive just such a scenario with their own interests in mind!

A sane society might recognize the conflict of interest between the power-aspirations of a money-lending class and the public welfare -- doubtless the inspiration behind Jefferson's warning that banks are "more dangerous to liberty than standing armies." It is a very good question why matters of public finance should remain within the private sphere at all, even if this is beyond the scope of any one nation to resolve.

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