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Economic Armageddon: An Ageist Solution July 25, 2011

Posted by markswill in About me, Politics, Schmolitics.

I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve been feeling my age recently. It may’ve been because many of my thirty-something friends have been eagerly preparing themselves for summer festivals that I won’t be going to – mainly because I don’t want to be one of those sad old buggers in tie-dyed t-shirts and  sparkly baseball boots who would embarrass me if I was their age, but also because I don’t have the stamina, or boundless appetite for drugs, that would’ve once seen me through a sleepless weekend of loud music and casual sex. Actually, some of those festivals weren’t quite of the 24 hour loud music variety, Secret Garden and Port Elliot being two of them, so bah humbug-ism probably had more to do with it.

Anyway, this feeling of creeping mortality was really fuelled by a realisation that the world is so fucked-up that any attempts to put it right, especially by an old fart with a laptop and a bottomless repository of bile, are frankly ridiculous. And from where specifically did this feeling emerge? Well the News International phone hacking scandal and its attendant implications of corrupt police and politicians who, realising that they might just not have to dance attendance to the Murdoch empire for much longer, quickly engaged in sanctimonious denunciations of both that empire and the sleazy supplication it encouraged. And as I pointed out in my last posting, the media’s lip-smacking relish to stamp on the Murdochs blinkered them to so much else that was wrong with the world, and was certainly of more social and economic import.

Greece’s bankrupt economy and its threat to the euro (which personally I’d like to see flounder, but that’s another matter), the famine in the Horn of Africa, the ongoing decline of our own economy and China’s steadily increasing influence throughout the world, especially where natural resources essential to its industrial superiority are ensured by its support of weak and corrupt governments whose records in human rights are even worse than their own. It even emerged that they are the favoured contractors to build America’s first high-speed (and incidentally, trans-continental) railway: eat your heart out Sarah Palin – although give her her due, she probably thinks China is what you eat your corn-fed steak off.

In my own backyard, our town’s major employer, a long established aluminum foundry supplying castings to the car industry, went out of business a few months ago and along with our sole remaining newsagent, the town’s only real restaurant (and a cheerful social hub) owned by old and dear friends of mine is now up for sale, joining the list of local business which have disappeared in recent years. These are small punctuation marks in a litany of  economic and social decline that my inner Daily Mail reader now assures me is inevitable in an overcrowded, over-leveraged world of diminishing resources governed by greed and subterfuge, however well disguised they still might be.

Fortunately however, I am not entirely alone, and even more happily, some clever folk actually have solutions to the moral and economic crises that bedevil us. One of these is my sometime trailriding pal, Rob D, who recently e-mailed me a solution to at least the perils of aging, and the economic pressure and consequent mental stress it’s putting on me as well as my country’s economy, which I shall now pass on:

Rob suggested that instead of giving billions of pounds to banks that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, the government should legislate for what he calls the Patriotic Retirement Plan. In essence, this would pay each of the approx. 10 million people over 50 in the UK work force £1 million severance pay for early retirement but with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. (Consequence: 10 million job openings – unemployment sorted).

2) They MUST buy a new British car. (10 million cars ordered – motor industry sorted).

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage. (Housing crisis sorted).

4) They MUST send their kids to school/college/university. (Crime rate sorted, although I’m not so sure of this one).

5) They MUST buy £100 WORTH of alcohol and tobacco a week… and there’s your money back in tax.

Brilliant, eh? And Rob even has an answer to the crime problem: put the pensioners in jail and the criminals in nursing homes.

This way the pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks, they’d receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, mobility aids and they’d receive money instead of paying it out.

They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly if they fell, or needed assistance, and their clothing would be washed, ironed and returned to them once a week.

A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to their cell and they’d have family visits in a suite built for that purpose. They’d also have access to a library, gym, spiritual counseling and education. Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ’s and legal aid would be free on request.

Private, secure rooms for all, with an outdoor exercise yard and gardens. Each senior could have a PC, a TV, radio and daily phone calls. There’d be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly enforced.

Meanwhile in their erstwhile nursing homes where they’d pay £600.00 per week to live in tiny rooms, the criminals would get cold food, be left all alone and unsupervised, and have no hope of ever getting out.

Which all makes perfect sense to me… well at least as much sense as anything that comes out of George Osborne’s or David Cameron’s puffy, privileged, two-faced little mouths.

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1. john dickinson - July 25, 2011

Sign me up for that £1,000,000 retirement right now – and I promise to abide by the rules!
I’ll drink the £100 worth of alcohol with relish each week and my early red-noswed demise – (I won’t be complaining) – will help the government (not to mention my kids) even more.
It all makes perfect sense to me…

2. Ian - July 25, 2011

Better still, if the requirements were ammended to investing the remaing money, after paying off the mortgage and buying the car etc.,in a pension type anuity fund, then they could ensure that it isnt frittered away and the investment companies would have a large influx of cash.

3. noel - July 25, 2011


I first had this as an email, obviouisly doing the rounds, about a month ago.

Did Rob D write this or forward it ?
He certainly has my respect if he wrote it.

Mark Williams - July 27, 2011

Hi Noel,
Yes, It seems it has been ‘doing the rounds’ (in joke only you will appreciate), and no, Rob apparently didn’t write it. But it nonetheless bears repetition I think.

4. andy tribble - July 26, 2011

I proposed to my family, in all seriousness, that my retirement plan was to spend all my remaining money in the pursuit of pleasure and then get myself put in jail.

As I am a decent person I was looking for a good victimless crime.

My favourite option at present would be to drive at very high speed on an empty motorway. Not racing, not even passing other drivers, just going fast on a straight, empty road. This is of course perfectly legal in Germany and Montana, yet in the UK it causes magistrates and policemen to describe you as the embodiment of evil. An action can be legal in one country and illegal in another – that’s fair enough, we agree on different laws; but i don’t see why it should be moral in one place and immoral in another.

The only problems would be:
a) I might have to do it a lot before I got caught.

b) There would be the normal cascade of non-jail stages, such as fines and confiscations. But I suppose i could hide the naughty vehicle and not pay the fines.

I worry in case that there might still be a faint trace of badness in this. Others might follow my example, drive like prats and crash into people. God knows there are enough prats out there.

Any other suggestions of good victimless crimes?

5. Mark Williams - July 27, 2011

Tax avoidance?

6. Linda Stokes - August 1, 2011

Sign me up! …and @AT, you should become a man-whore at once.

7. markswill - August 1, 2011

“@AT” ? Que? Man-whore? Too late Dr Linda, too late… sadly.

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