During the last decade worries about population aging, increases in national expenditures for the elderly, and the trend toward early retirement have aroused new concerns about the future of old-age security. Myles and Quadagno have assembled a collection of original essays that examine how different countries have responded to these issues.
The essays in Part I explore the recent politics of old age in Great Britain, Canada, Poland, Scandinavia, West Germany, France, the Netherlands, Japan, and Australia. They demonstrate that while, during the Reagan and Thatcher era, the United States and Great Britain forged debates about old-age policies around a neo-conservative agenda, other countries facing similar matters followed different paths. In Part II, the authors examine how transformations in labor- market practices are gradually altering the status of older workers and with it our conventional understanding of old age.
The reconstruction of the international division of labor, the shift of employment from goods to services, and the adoption of new, knowledge-intensive technologies are changing the economic and political basis of the organization of old age. As we move toward the next century, these essays provide a starting point for a new generation of studies in the political economy of aging.