In many of the world’s most affluent countries, the population is shrinking because people aren’t having enough children to replace the folks who die. This offers some hope to solve global overpopulation, though unfortunately the solution involves eradicating poverty and establishing global ecological sustainability, which ain’t exactly easy.
These shrinking populations become demographically top-heavy, with few young people to support the elderly. Luckily, health care is so good in e.g. Japan and Scandinavia that old folks are in much better shape than they were two generations ago. Therefore everyone agrees that the age of retirement has to be raised here. Allowing all Swedish 65-y-os to retire is ridiculous. It’s like allowing all 50-y-os in 1940 to retire.
But where should we draw the line? Experience shows that arbitrarily deciding on a certain minimum retirement age forces us to change the rules very few decades. Instead we might look at skill levels. Swedish retirees squander their considerable energies on a range of pointless and demeaning pastimes. I propose that anyone who is physically fit enough to play golf or do square dance, and intellectually fit enough to perform genealogical research or follow a lecture organised by the local historical society, has not yet reached retirement age.
Such a reform would benefit public finances immensely, and also rescue the dignity of countless Baby Boomers who in their youth very rightly scoffed at any suggestion of square dance. Imagine them being able to look their grandchildren in the eye again! It would heighten national pride no end if we could eradicate genealogical research. And golf!