By Margot Jefferys
Getting old within the 20th Century investigates many facets of the present debates raging concerning care and provision for the aged and the very aged. it will likely be necessary to gerontologists, social coverage makers, legit and unofficial carers, and a person taken with future health care.
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Supply and demand are not easily separable; indeed, it is their very overlap that is interesting. As will be shown in this chapter, retirement was viewed ambiguously by working people who well realized that it distributes a variety of rewards and penalties, offering, for a minority, a period of welcome leisure in relative comfort, and, for the majority, a sharp drop in living standards with enforced idleness. While this chapter emphasizes the ‘political economy’ context in which the practice of retirement spread, it also stresses the point that its institutionalization did not go unnoticed by older people themselves.
Were earnings to be treated in the same way as savings and gratuities? Could hard and fast lines be drawn between one form of income (or property) and another? He could but say that the only solution to such posers was a universal pension. 26 In no way was this inconsistent with the Ryland Adkins recommendations. 27 The easiest way of advance was through a new contributory scheme. The 1925 Widows’, Orphans’ and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act was thus the product of several impulses—desire by the advocates of 1924 ‘new Conservatism’ (especially Neville Chamberlain) to forge a specifically Conservative brand of social reform in the new post-1918 conditions of virtual mass democracy, the mothers’ pensions challenge by Labour, the ‘allin insurance’ activity within Whitehall in 1923–4 (represented by the Anderson and Watson Committees), and the first glimmerings of realization that better pensions might encourage retirement and reduce the unemployment statistics.
It worked out at the 10s 0d a week pension. We call that unfair. 35 Secondly, from the late 1920s onwards, retirement as an immediate and simple palliative to the problem of unemployment was increasingly debated within reformist circles. Evolving his own version of the Independent Labour Party’s ‘Socialism in Our Time’ reflationary strategy, Oswald Mosley, when a member of the 1929 Labour government, proposed a new retirement pension. He eventually incorporated this idea into his wider plan for tackling unemployment, the 1930 Mosley Memorandum.