Why the French Want to Stop Working

If you want to understand why the French overwhelmingly oppose raising their official retirement age from 62 to 64, you could start by looking at last week’s enormous street protest in Paris.

Retirement before arthritis read one handwritten sign. Leave us time to live before we die said another. One elderly protester was dressed ironically as “a banker” with a black top hat, bow tie, and cigar—like the Mr. Monopoly mascot of the board game. “It’s the end of the beans!” he exclaimed to the crowd, using a popular expression to mean that pension reform is the last straw…

France is not alone with this problem. Rich countries everywhere are facing similar demographic challenges, and pushing up their retirement ages to cope. The advocates of reform in France should have more room to maneuver than most, because retirements here last an average of about 25 years, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That’s among the longest in Europe, where retirements even out at about 22 years, and well above the average retirement duration in the United States, where people now live for about 16 years after they stop working…

Well-written with reasonable explanation(s). Europeans will – I think – get it before many Americans. But, that ain’t the point either. Reflect upon the article’s conclusions – especially the direction presumed of a changing and growing economy.

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