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June 16, 2009

Social Welfare: Is generational equity a scam or not?

Whether generational equity is a scam or not really depends upon how you define it. One such definition is that we take resources from those in work and spend them on the older generation who have finished doing so. I tend to think that this isn't a scam for of course that older generation paid for the younger when they were children. All we're doing is using the tax system to replace what was always thought of as intergenerational fairness. Parents take care of children, adults of the elderly.

A very different definition is possible though. This is when one generation completely consumes a resource, leaving none for successive generations. This is the sort of intergenerational inequity that drives concern over the climate change for example. Boil the planet a hundred years in the future for the sake of living standards now. Yes, that would be a scam, if it were to happen.

June 16, 2009 in Economics | Permalink


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I think one side of the generational equity debate is that people who feel scammed or ripped-off by the notion of funding another generation fail to realize how much money that older generation puts back into the economy which in turn funnels back into the very pay check they are being taxed from. I'm not saying I have the evidence to say that it all works out; yet, it is very similar to the debates made in "The World is Flat" which outlines economic realities in outsourcing and foreign trade.

I like the notion of a generational equity debate. Scam? Not there on that one yet but I've seen out there online.

Posted by: Beth Ann | Jun 17, 2009 5:32:53 PM