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Pension: World

Archives: 1981 - 2000


Mushrooming Costs of Japan's Aging Population (December 26, 2000)
This article, published in The New York Times, shows the far-reaching conservative interpretation of financing pension in Japan. The main theme that emerged from the Japanese budget is the increase in pension payments. Indeed, Japan's population is growing older: it has the lowest birthrate of any developed nation. The Finance Ministry's balance sheet shows that the pension liabilities are close to the nation's annual economic output of 500 trillion yen (about $4.4 trillion). the aging of Japan will be a severe problem for the government's finance. We suggest reader examine the rhetoric of privatization embedded in this piece.

Europe Rethinks Its Pensions (December 26, 2000)
This article taken from The New York Times, provides a general and updated background on the European situation regarding pensions.

A Persistent Thorn for Europe: Funding of Pensions (December 27, 2000)
This article  assesses the situation in European countries regarding pension fund systems. While some countries such as Sweden have undergone massive changes, France has put reforms on hold... The International Herald Tribune reports. 

Standard Life Aims at Pension (December 3, 2000)
Foreign companies have been interested in taking over China’s pension fund system. Among them is Standard Life, a company that has recently gained licensing in Hong Kong and India. According to China Daily, Standard Life is willing to wait for its license to operate in China, and sees China’s complications with its own insurance system as routine for the beginning stages. 

Attente prolongée pour les retraites (November 14, 2000)
(in French) The following article, published in the French daily newspaper Le Monde, reports that a reform of the retirement system is still in the air. Despite a general trend towards reform within the European Union member states, France seems reluctant to make any move, lagging behind. But apparently, even though the need for a sweeping reform is acknowledged, nothing will be undertaken before the presidential elections.

Korea: better social policies for a stronger economy ( November 09, 2000)
This article, published in The OECD Observer, permits to get familiar with the Korean social situation. Although the traumatic economic crisis of 1997 seems nowadays only a bad memory, further social reform is needed in several areas in order to erase some basic weaknesses within the social system, for example, the immaturity of the public pension system. That’s why Korea, member of the OECD since 1996, needs to keep reforming a certain number of social issues: trade union pluralism, labor regulations in the public sector…

L'inéluctable retour des quinquas (October 16, 2000)
(in French) This article from Libération analyses the fact that in France older employees will become more and more present in firms. Indeed, in 2015, the population of 50-65 years adults will be around 3,7 million while the number of younger adults will decrease to 1 million. After decades of encouraging older person to retire, French firms now start slowly to keep them on the job. But this new situation needs more reflection about conditions and organization of labour.

A quand les réformes? (September 11, 2000)
This article from Libération urges politicians to make reforms about pensions. The demographic changes require either an increase in contributions or a decrease of the pensions’ coverage, but also an increase of the retirement’s age. The author suggests that the reform is an issue of equality between generations, and not between rich and poor.

LEADER : Open the door to immigration (September 5, 2000)
This article from The Financial Times describes how foreign workers, both skilled and unskilled, will be needed in the workplace to prevent the proportion of pensioners from outnumbering working-age people in the European Union.

Factory Closings in China Arouse Workers to Fury (August 31, 2000)
This article from The New York Times shows how unemployed Chinese workers find themselves in an extremely difficult financial situation due to the lack of a social security net for the unemployed as well as the elderly.

Pay-as-you-go pensions face a bleak future (August 23, 2000)
In this Financial Times article, Horst Siebert, president of the Kiel Institute of World Economics, demonstrates how European governments must adopt a partially privatized pension system to enable the political viability of the welfare system reform.

Pension Reform to Increase (August 27, 2000)
The difference in China’s pension fund revenue and expenditures totaled 7 billion yuan, or about 843 million dollars in 1998. Because China’s elderly population is projected to increase, the current pay-as-you-go collection system must be improved. China Daily’s article includes critiques of the current system and ways in which experts hope to improve the system.

Waiting Game (August 17, 2000)
Korea has many problems to solve concerning pensions. First of all, the social situation has changed: many older Korean workers are now retiring early and modernization is eroding the link between generations. In the rush to become more competitive in the international market, companies are pushing out older, more expensive workers in favor of younger cheaper employees. Secondly, some Koreans do not trust their public system anymore. Recently, the collected money, which is supposed to be invested in public interest such as welfare facilities for the elderly, was used to buy land for government buildings. Reforms to prevent such abuse go into effect in 2001. However, the development of a private-pension industry appears to be opening, if only in annuities and bonds. Far Eastern Economic Review reports.

Grow Old, Be Poor (July 2000)
A new International Labour Office report says most world workers won't have old age pensions. The ILO recommends pluralistic retirement systems and makes recommandations on how countries can increase the percentage of protected workers.

A Caring System (July 28, 2000)
This comprehensive article, extracted from Asian Week, shows that the economic and social changes in Asian regarding to aging. The author wants immediately to denounce a myth: a country which has a lot of people reaching old age is not necessary a rich society. This article shows examples both from rural countries and urban countries.

Bridging the Great Divide (July 28, 2000)
This article, extracted from Asian Week, argues on social security issues. The author pledges for global social protection, which could provides greater global prosperity.

Elderly people in rural areas need help (June 28, 2000)
70 per cent of the total ageing population is composed of rural older residents. This China Daily article describes how increasing urban migrations in China increase the need for a social security net among the elderly.

Income Security in Old Age (June 21, 2000)
Here is a document taken from the ILO's press release, dealing with old age  issues, from pension systems to social security. More information on the subject can be obtained on the following website: 

The Pension System in Argentina: 6 Years After (June 2000)
Here is a general overview of the pension system in Argentina after the 1994 reform, describing the basic features of the new system and presenting some information on performance during its first six years. Is it “an excellent lesson for other countries that are considering a reform in their own systems? “

Les vieux salariés ont le vent en poupe (May 25, 2000)
(in French) This article, published in the French newspaper Courrier International, analyzes the recent phenomenon in Britain, where companies tend to hire old persons. It also raises the question to know whether it is a good or bad news.

Du modèle "bismarckien" au modèle "béveridgien" (March 23, 2000)
(in French) In the world, two systems of retirement exist. The first one is based on the Bismarck model, which creates a link of solidarity and a fair sharing of wealth between generations. France , Germany and Italy apply this model. The second one is based on the Beveridge model, which offers a minimal rate of retirement financed by taxes; the remainder, if any, must be contributed by the worker. This kind of retirement, which is found in the United States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain, is not safe: people could loose everything because of inflation or bad management. Le Monde reports.

Township Workers Also Need Pensions (January 21, 2000)
Experts and agency leaders are asking China to expand its pension system to employees of township enterprises. According to China Daily, China has made pension reform a recent priority, but its current system only benefits urban workers, leaving 125 million township workers unprotected. As of 1998, township industries account for one third of the rural labor force.

La CRI a t-elle détourné l'argent de ses cotisants? (January 13, 2000)
(in French) This is an investigation made by a French newspaper Marianne denounces an outrageous embezzlement by a French pension fund, the Caisse de Retraite Interprofessionnelle. The investigation unveils the practices of the fund marred by three big scandals.\

Rapport d'information fait au nom de la délégation du Sénat pour la planification sur les conséquences macroéconomiques du vieillissement démographique (December 16, 1999)(in French)
The French Senate (in the name of the planning delegation for the Senate )published an information report about the economic planning on the ageing macroeconomic consequences in France. What are the different foreseeable theories? What can be made to welcome these new baby-boomers?

Vive les vieux salariés ! (December 9, 1999)
(in French) This article, published in the French newspaper Courrier International, highlights a new thinking within the corporate environment, where employers may now be less reluctant to hiring old people, due to the demographic evolution.

Differently Deserved Pension (November 6, 1999) (in Russian)
Data published recently by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of Ukraine clearly shows that there is an elite group among pensioners. At the same time the remaining 95% of pensioners live below the poverty line, the elite group is comprised of former military and police servants, public servants, prosecutors, judges, custom servants, people with Chernobyl status, and peoples deputies. The vast majority of pensioners, including the veterans of the World War II and the victims of repressions, do not belong to the elite group.

Germany's Problem is Europe's Problem (September 26, 1999)
This article from The New York Times details Germany's problems and how it will affect pension benefits.

Great Expectations: The Retirement Mentality vs. Reality (August 15, 1999)
This article from the New York Times shows that the different views of people towards aging issues and what the problems actually are, can have a great impact on how the social security system will be sustained.

Menaces en cascade sur "une génération sacrifiée" (May 24, 1999)
(in French) According to a study of “Caisse des depots” (a French governmental organism), this article analyses the demographic issues of retirement with an interesting economic aspect. Indeed, France is getting older: in 2035, 31% of the population will have 60 years and more (in 1995, 19,5% only). Consequently, when the current generation of workers will be retired, the employment and inflation rates will be high. On the contrary, during their work time the baby boomers have known a very high unemployment rate. Le Monde reports.

Sauver les retraites (May 24, 1999)
This article from Le Monde shows the political issues of retirement in France. Political forces are agreed on deep reforms in few years. They have two options: to move back the age of retirement or to create more flexible pensions’ system. But the government’s policy is not coherent, because in the same time it wants to favor anticipated departure in retirement in order to drop the unemployment rate.

How Mother Russia Plucks Her Pensioners Clean (May 17, 1999)
This article, extracted from The New York Times, describes the hardships of Russian citizens who are depending upon the Government's pension for survival.

The Russian Party of Pensioners (May 1999)
A new party is established in Russia to protect the rights of pensioners.

"L'avenir de nos retraites" : An introduction to the Charpin Report (April 1999)
A brief introduction to a French report about retirement financing, which was produced under the supervision of Mr Jean-Michel Charpin, Commissaire général au Plan.

Les conclusions embarrassantes du Rapport Charpin (March 30, 1999)
Excerpts from the French magazine Marianne, listing the findings of the Charpin report on the state of pensions in France with graphics

The World Turns Gray (March 1, 1999)
This article, published in US News, shows how the leading proponent of privatization of public social insurance argues his case. It also describes the economic, demographic and social situation in the world. For readers interested in another approach to the challenges described in the article, consult our section on "social protection".

Aux Etats-Unis, les retraités ne comptent pas pour du beurre (February 25, 1999)
(in French) This article, published in the French newspaper Courrier International, assesses the influence wielded by one of the most famous organization for retired people: AARP.

Lawmakers in Brazil Adopt Step on Austerity (January 21, 1999)
Change in social security benefits for civil servants approved by Congress.

CENDA, Indice Corregido de Rentabilidad de Ahorros Previsionales en al Sistema Chileno de AFP
A recent paper on Chilean pension funds that made a significant impact on the continuing debate there.

Homeless Overwhelm Shelters (December 7, 1998)
This article found in Christianity Today focuses on the condition of homeless elderly people in Russia who are aided by the Salvation Army. At present, the minimum pension for the elderly isonly 19$ a month.

Brio is Gone, but Brazil's Leader May Be Back (October 4, 1998)
This article from The New York Times is about the Brazilian President and the damage he is doing to the welfare system there.

Pensioners to the rescue (September 10-16, 1998) 
Egyptian pension and social insurance funds will be injected into stock market, via three portfolios representing the pension and social insurance funds of government employees, the public and private sector and the national Investment Bank. The pension funds' investment into stock market came from a recent cabinet ruling that overturned a long-held ban on such use of public pension funds. The Social Insurance ministry claimed that diversification of the investment was needed to supplement funds allocated in the budget for pensions. But this injection could be dangerous for pensioners who risk losing all their money in the market. Al-Ahram Weekly reports.

Britons Govern Their Own Retirements (July 19, 1998)
A New York Times article about the almost entirely privatized pension system in Great Britain.

Pension Deliberations At OECD Level - And Elsewhere (May 12, 1998)
A summary of deliberations from various OECD committees regarding pensions.

New Retirement Plan In Germany May Spur Mutual-Fund Boom (April 6, 1998)
A Wall Street Journal article about a new German retirement plan that will invest in stocks, bond and real estate.

Chile's Pension Mirage (March 23, 1998)
Excerpts from a longer article on Chile that appeared in The Nation magazine.

Rights-Brazil: The Stigma of Old Age ( March 22, 2001)
This article, taken from the World News Inter Press Service explains how the weakening of social security systems, a tendency seen worldwide, is making the lives of the increasingly numerous elderly more and more unhappy, according to their few defenders in Brazil.  It reveals how the elderly population is often seen as a burden or nuisance in the eyes of the younger generation.  Elder abuse has become more common.

The Future of German Social Democracy (December 1997)
An excerpt of a speech given by Oskar Lafontaine, the Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, at the SPD conference.

In Old Age (June 1997)
Susanne Paul on the difficult situation of Brazilian women.

The Chilean Pension Fund Associations (May-June 1997)
Article published in 1997 by Chilean authors that describes in detail the workings of the privatized Chilean pension system.

Social Insecurity In Chile (February 1997)
An essay by Fred J. Solowey on Chile's privatized social security system, drawing particular attention to some of the hardships felt by those who fall under it.

La duperie des fonds de pension au nom des entreprises? (1996)
(in French) An article that appeared in Le Monde Diplomatique and which mainly discusses the role of pension funds in the French economy.

Pensions and Pension Reform (March 6, 1995)
A powerful critique of the Chilean reform proposals by one of the top pension experts of the International Labour Organisation. (Paper presented at the World Summit for Social Development).

The Pension Crisis in Argentina (March 6, 1995)
An activist in the Argentine women's movement speaks of the terrible effects of pension-cutting in her country. (Paper presented at the World Summit for Social Development)

The Worldwide Pension Crisis and 'Social Development (March 6, 1995)
Increasing poverty in later life as governments raid public pension funds puts a lie to the Pollyanna slogans of "Social Development" and the pretense that poverty will be reduced. (Paper presented at the World Summit for Social Development)

The Campaign Against Pension Privatization in Uruguay (1995)
How Roberto Bissio of the Instituto del Tercer Mundo in Montevideo translated the Paul & Paul paper into Spanish and used it in a union-based campaign against pension privatization.

Elderly Support and In-Kind Transfers: Taxation Options in Rural Russia (Spring, 1995)
This paper explores the policy challenges generated by the growing post-retirement population in the rural areas of the Russian Federation. The authors suggest  that rural pensions should continue to be subsidized with in-kind transfers, which are justified on both economic and social grounds.

The World Bank and the Attack on Pensions in the Global South (1994-1995)
A major paper that discusses the role of the World Bank in destroying the public pension systems in many countries, particularly in Latin America.

Pension-Cutting, Poverty and the World Bank (1994-1995)
This shorter article was written to summarize the research paper above, but it includes additional information about fightback efforts.

Social Insurance & Economic Security: Is Privatization the Answer? (1981)
Text of a speech at a conference on pensions on the International Day of Older Persons at the UN in 1996. Solowey is a labor journalist who has written about the Chilean pension "reforms."