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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Retirement: Out of the Game?

Retirement Identity in Modern Society

      The following ideas are connected to an excellent book that I rediscovered on my upstairs bookshelf.[i]  The authors’ premise argues that since we are now in a consumer society upon retirement “The individual’s role within the productive process is no longer central.  “Increasingly identities are expressed, revised and represented through consumption”
      In addition boundaries between the working class and middle class have become blurred. “Rather than class coming to serve as a cornerstone in people’s sense of self, that role increasingly is performed through consumption.” 
      As we become retired a lot of us have to be more careful about spending what money we have. It may be more accurate to perceive retirement as a structurally imposed identity thrust upon older people by a society dominated by the interests of capitalist economy.”
      If that is the case no wonder that in election debates, aside from the NDP, the major parties have little to say about the difficulties faced by older people as the society attempts to plow it’s way through the current “economic downturn”
      Especially, as things get worse governments like those in Canada and the USA discuss finances in terms of Trillions of dollars.  And instead of expecting seniors to pull us out “… the gap between the well of and the (relatively) poor older adult population will continue to widen unless there is a massive expansion of state provision—a scenario that seems extremely unlikely.”

[i] Gilleard, C. & Higgs, P. (2000). Cultures of aging: Self. Citizen, and the Body, Pearson Education Limited

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