Ageing population and pensions

The issue of pensions and pension policies are in the news again today. In one respect, this is because of the context of the economic crisis and the anti-public or state sector rhetoric engaged in by the Tory-Lib coalition government as it drives forward massive budget cuts. Yet, pensions as a sociological issue is really tied up with the ageing of the population, uneven cohort sizes and concerns about the demographic ‘time bomb’. As I argue in Age and Generation in Modern Britain (1995), cohort size matters, but sociologists caution against demographic determinism. In the future, whether or not the demographic time bomb ‘explodes’ has as much to do with economic conditions, patterns of labour force participation and the operation of social policy as it has to do with demographics.

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