Refuting Today's Miserabilist View of the Human Success Story That Is Longer Life
For this reason I offer a qualified welcome for Phil Mullan's writings on the implications of an ageing population. As you might expect of someone who was once a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and a contributor to the now defunct magazine Living Marxism (LM), and who, along with his erstwhile comrades, now advocates an agenda that is skeptical of many mainstream leftist positions, Mullan remains an advocate of socialized provision. His analysis of the situation is, however, careful, informed and perceptive. His The Imaginary Time Bomb: Why an Ageing Population Is Not a Social Problem was published by I. B. Tauris in 2000 with a paperback reprint in 2002. Over the years he has written several articles on the subject and his most recent essay advances three key propositions that we should all bear in mind as we think about and discuss these issues.
"Firstly, society is getting wealthier all the time. Whatever the extra costs associated with an older population, the trend of rising productivity means that we will have even more resources in the future, so we can bear these costs easily."
"Secondly, a narrow 'telescope' view of the future tends to mislead when broader social consequences are drawn. Focusing on one particular feature of the future can fail to incorporate offsetting factors."
"Thirdly, the future is one of transformation and adaptation, not extrapolation. This is the statistical distinction between 'projections' and 'forecasts', which invariably get mixed up in everyday discussion. This confusion is a boon to those who make fearful speculations about the future. A statistician can make a projection about the future based on certain present-day assumptions and extrapolating from them. But every serious professional statistician will add the warning that this is not a forecast of the future, because things will change - society progresses - and therefore the assumptions made for the projection will become invalid."
The entire essay is well worth reading. I encourage you to take the short time necessary to read this article.
comments powered by Disqus
- Middle Tenn. State President Wants to Strip Confederate General’s Name From Building
- Trump will get more GOP primary votes than anyone in history (because more people are voting)
- Labour Party suspends former Mayor of London for implying Hitler supported Zionism
- At Virginia home of President Monroe, a sizable revision of history
- Thirty Years After Chernobyl, Debate Rages About Nuclear Power
- The Unconference Movement Grows – And Historians Are Taking the Lead
- New appeal to "Bring Back Military History"
- Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger discusses his controversial career
- Annette Gordon-Reed subjects herself to Reddit, the “anything-goes” social media website
- Historian Nick Turse says the Pentagon has blacklisted him for making multiple FOIA requests