The NZ government has announced that the retirement age is being deferred from 65yo to 67yo. The reason of course is that the NZ work horse is not working hard enough, so he has to work longer in order to carry his costs. Is that the real lesson? I would care to differ in several respects.
1. The government is not very efficient. We have a lot of costs placed upon us by inefficient government. Government is incredibly centralised, which is great for economies of scale. The problem is that too much depends on slow government decision-making. There is also the problem of poor cost recovery, which makes capital investments unsustainable. The implication is that NZ has one of the worst funding provisions for capital infrastructure in the OECD. Note all the failures in the telecom sector. There is a great deal of inefficiency, particularly in local govt. Its all too common to see council workers standing around, or performing wasteful expenditure.
2. Youth is not well-prepared: The tough love evident in NZ is really a sign of poor values. NZ really remains caught in 'old world' 1970s values. There is too much indulgence, lack of pride, purpose, self-esteem, and self-awareness. There is really a need for some structure or self-discipline in a great many lives. There is a need in this country for the affluent and enlightened decision-makers to engage with the Maori and 'white trash' as we might euphemistically call them, in order to give them positive incentives to work hard, provide constructive support for their children, and to develop a sense of personal identity which differentiates them from others.
There are too many vacant minds in the country. Too many kids who are idle. There are too many people who hate their jobs, who are thus inclined to work 3 days and charge for five.
Living standards are supposed to improve....so why is the retirement age falling? The simple answer is we are living longer. But that is not the reason. The average life expectancy of people in Western countries is probably rising 1 year every 7 years. i.e. A rate of 1.3%. This compares with real growth in national income of just 1.2% per annum between 1975-2005. That is very low growth. Check out the history of economic growth here. Aside from slugging population growth, the problem is constrained national income. There is too little provision for capital spending and too much spending on recurrent items. This can be partially attributed to the welfare state which gives primacy to giving, as opposed to creating; however this reflects the deeper issue of values. There are some unhealth, reactionary, short-term, deluded egos in NZ who are simply keeping this economy down, and the NZ government is financing them. I would suggest the public sector is one and the same problem. This is the problem with middlemen. Politicians will flog the beast for every working hour it can get without reflecting on its own impact. So long as it preserves its moral relativism, we will be voting for National-Labour. It is a deluded or false dichotomy which serves no one. Get rid of democracy. Its poison!