Age Shock: How Finance is Failing Us by Robin Blackburn

By Robin Blackburn

A searing examine the economic problem of an getting older society, with radical new proposals.
Most international locations face the long run with an getting old inhabitants, but such a lot governments are reducing on pensions and the care prone wanted through the aged. Robin Blackburn exposes the perverse reasoning and designated pursuits that have mixed to provide this nonsensical scenario. This up to date paperback version of Age surprise encompasses a new preface explaining why the credits crunch and eurozone problem have had this kind of devastating influence and outlining the way to warrantly respectable pensions and care provision.

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The great investment banks fly far above the level at which small and medium sized businesses exist, and have no rational criteria to inform their credit decisions ± witness their folly in accepting so much exposure to subprime mortgages. Today a similar problem arises with respect to their reluctance to make any productive investments. In contrast, a public utility finance system, buttressed and sustaining networks of social funds, could reconnect finance to its social context and democratize its work ings.

However, this procedure left the care supplying company with rent obligations that might quickly eat up its profits. Another problem was that the income stream from the public authority would be subject to crisis induced austerity cuts. In July 2011 Southern Cross, Britain's largest private care home chain, responsible for 700 care homes, declared bankruptcy. As their 30,000 elderly inmates contem plated ejection, newspapers revealed that the top executives who spon sored this particular piece of financial engineering had shared out £35 million in bonuses.

39 Strategic public ownership is a necessary but not sufficient condition, since public authorities can be tempted into their own speculative excesses (sadly the IMF and World Bank have encour aged this by their privatization euphoria, on which more below). Management of the crisis, as we have seen, led to public ownership stakes in key financial houses, but the real scale of public help via `quantitative easing' has not been acknowledged and in several areas losses ± on both private securities and pubic bonds ± remain concealed.

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