You're all idiots. Unless I am
13 Dicembre Dic 2011 1818 13 dicembre 2011

China, pensions, and death

These are all currently assumed to be problems. I believe they may not be, though death is often not great, but, at least, you only have to do it once.

I'm working from the following assumptions:

China, well, South East Asia really, has a monopoly on low cost production which Italy is unlikely to be able to compete with in the near term. In the long term, maybe. That will be the subject of my next post;

People in Italy are now dying at an average of 81 years as opposed to 72 years in 1970. Thus, a person receiving a pension at 65 now has 16 years of life ahead as opposed to 7 in 1970, more than double. This has to be paid for somehow.

So if the West does not have the manpower to compete with China, let's think about using brainpower. The development of society, in general, has been accompanied by the young staying in education for longer and longer as it becomes progressively harder to accumulate the knowledge necessary to become highly skilled and specialised. Thus where secondary education and leaving school at 14 or 16 was once normal, now people are leaving at 19 or even after university, 22 or over.

Now, in part, leaving education is due to the fact there are no jobs, possibly because the majority of the work which can be done by an uneducated 16 is already being done by an uneducated 35 year old either in Italy or in China. But rather than complaining about the lack of jobs and wasting time at university on the way to a repetitive, administrative job, wouldn't it better to try to channel these people so that they have skills which can be used for the next forty years, keeping them in university even until 30, but having them all leave with a higher and broader level of education than is currently the case. If China is going to be the muscle, we need to refine the brain so that the West produces a creative workforce which dreams up the products which China makes. Apple is an example of the sort of company I'm thinking about, but also medical R&D, nanotechnology, software.

The further benefit of concentrating upon these immaterial pursuits is that the user can be active in the field until essentially whenever they choose. The body may grow weaker with age, but the brain generally stays active. The limit is to how much the person wishes to stay active and creative.

Essentially, as a society, we may have to further push back the age at which we consider the end of education and a person to be independent, but the fact that we are living longer and others are performing the basic tasks we once did means that this may be necessary, but aslo not the burden it appears.

Update:

Looking at this Bloomberg article:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-13/china-based-hacking-of-760-companies-reflects-undeclared-global-cyber-war.html

It seems that turning out an increasing number of cyber security experts could be a good plan.

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