Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Monday, August 30, 2004

Greenspan's Big Idea

Wonderful idea, Mr. Greenspan. Since we all live longer, we should all work longer before we get Social Security. It's brilliant, except for a few small details.

1. Not everyone gets to work with their intellect, like Greenspan. When you work with your muscles, you may be a lot older at 65 than he is at 78.

2. Not everyone is getting older, just people well enough off to have health insurance and a decent standard of living.

3. Exactly how are most of us going to work at good jobs into our 70s, when the most fashionable prejudice in the working world is ageism? I left marketing for technical writing, at 47, because in the former field, one was too old to contribute after 45. One of the reasons I've left technical writing is that, at 57, I "can't learn new things (because I'm old.)"
During the eight months since my last IT job, I've learned fencing, medieval and renaissance tailoring, Welsh, and medical terminology. During the next eight, I'll learn anatomy, physiology, and health care administratrion for my new career. God, it's tough to be too old to learn.

The economic and demographic imperative is that people can and should be able to work as long as they wish. That should not eliminate the responsibilities of a decent government to see that older citizens aren't dying in ditches for want of food, shelter and health care.

The imperatives of unmanaged American capitalism run counter to this. We are rather close to a future in which one's "career" spans the ages of 25 to 45. If you're under 25, you're too young to fit in. If you're over 45, you're too expensive, too old to learn, or would be bored.

So, to make Mr. Greenspan's vision succeed, I'm spending a year learning the new things I'm allegedly unable to learn, to pursue a new occupation that pays about half what my old one did. That's because I'm too expensive and too easily bored.


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