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The big ideas of 2016: the Great Default

Pensions have been generous since the Second World War. That might be about to change

Since the Second World War, governments in liberal democracies have maintained a compact with voters, making generous provision for old age pensions, healthcare and education. This has been one of the sources of their legitimacy. Today, however, under a range of pressures, particularly demographic ones (see below,  “The Alzheimer’s economy”), governments across the developed world are contemplating the possibility that they will have to change drastically the terms of their compact with the people.

In the coming decades,…

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