Stuff I'm reading

Stuff I'm reading in the mags, books and the blogosphere.

Why older people staying on the job is far from bad news for younger ones

It’s common knowledge that older workers are staying on the job longer, reversing historic retirement trends. Meager savings and trashed portfolios mean that many can’t afford to quit. Social Security no longer penalizes those who continue to earn. And the great majority of older workers is employed in the education and health sectors, which aren’t physically demanding.  This is bad news for those hungrily eying their La-Z-Boy recliners, but “there is a lot to like in this surge of experienced workers,” writes Harvard economist Edward L. Glaeser in an editorial in yesterday’s New York Times.  More salaries generate more tax revenue; seasoned talent is valuable; and it’s not a zero-sum game in terms of the job market.

“Fear ageism, not aging.”

I didn’t make up that battle cry, but I’m appropriating it. It’s Margaret Morganroth Gullette’s line, and I read it in Agewise: Fighting the New Ageism in America, her superb screed against ageist practices that are being institutionalized by powerful cultural forces: free-market capitalism for starters, along with anti-unionism and eroding job seniority the weakening of ADEA and small-government dogma. An age scholar at Brandeis, Gullette has enlarged my viewpoint in the best possible way — and gotten me further riled up.

fine, don’t cheer up

The other day I went into Barnes & Noble to noodle around the Aging section.  (Yes, there is one, and its entire contents fall neatly into two categories:  How to Care for Your Aging Parents and How to Stay Young Forever.)  I didn’t escape empty-handed, though, because Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America caught my eye on the way out.

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