In today’s Guardian:
An influential conservative thinktank – fronted by the former work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith – has proposed the state pension age should rise to 75 over the next 16 years. If the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) had its way, the retirement age would go up to 70 just nine years from now, as the change is phased in.
This has been on the cards for a while, hasn’t it? Four million women have already been asked to wait an additional six years for their promised pensions. They want us to work until we die. No gold watch! No respite!
“Well, 75 isn’t quite the end of life,” one might say. Well, maybe that’s true for some but:
In Glasgow, boys born between 2015 and 2017 have a life expectancy of just 73.3 years – meaning under this plan, many would never reach pensionable age.
The wealthy and powerful Right don’t want us to ever rest.
And it’s the way they put it too. That the unwilling sweat of their citizens will “boost the economy” as if that were’t tyrannical lunacy while also adopting the tone of all this doing the work-knackered elderly a favour:
The CSJ’s idea of raising the pension age further received glowing coverage in sections of the rightwing press, with the Telegraph marvelling how it would “boost the economy” by £182bn and stave off the “escalating cost” of state pensions. As Duncan Smith tweeted this week: “Removing barriers for older people to working [sic] longer has the potential to improve health and wellbeing, increase retirement savings and ensure the full functioning of public services for all.”
It really does feel like like we’re at an extreme crossroads now, at which we need to choose between expanding the leisure franchise or enslaving everyone forever.
Escapologists may not be personally motivated by a state retirement as such, what with it requiring forty years of work to reach and all, but it would be nice to live in a world where Escapology (a rare and individualist act) were’t the only way to be free from drudgery.
It’s a dystopian vision of life, in which capitalism tells workers who have already grafted for 40 years that working a five-day week through their 70s is in fact the path to a healthy body and society.