The Politics of a Gerontonomia

I have been thinking a lot about the political and economic impact of how demographics are affecting politics via economics, which can then create a kind of demographic doom loop, as the cohort of older boomers continue to vote themselves higher benefits (pensions, healthcare) while voting to prevent any structural reforms, leading to lower long-term economic growth (which then creates problems of its own).

Worth reading the attached paper as I think it does a decent job in summarising the impacts. As Actuaries, we are all well versed in the problems of public pensions and healthcare, but how those problems interact with politics and democratic voting is less well understood.

Posting this now because in the UK we are now starting to see the negative effects of such a gerontonomia. Buildings are starting to deteriorate and crumble because investment into their maintenance was reduced over the last 15 years, in order to keep diverting more money to pensions and healthcare. Not sure how bad things are in the US when it comes to this sort of problem.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1467-923X.13301

They stopped understanding how to make concrete?

Man, the Romans would be so disappointed in the Brits.

Heh. Just goes to show that using cheap construction methods ends up being much more expensive in the long run. Specially when you don’t maintain things.

A bit OT but:

A few years ago I was curious as to why Roman bridges and roads have lasted so long (vs modern cement infrastructure at the time) and the science of how Roman concrete gets stronger over time (self-healing) is actually quite interesting.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264127520308339?via%3Dihub

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I’ll be damned, I assumed it wasn’t stronger, it’s just that they didn’t have 80,000lb trucks driving on ancient roads. That’s super cool.

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I had been just reading that, because Stu & I had been watching documentaries on Roman megastructures in France (pardon us, Transalpine Gaul)

Well, this is now turning into a major political scandal.

Sunak defunded school maintenance while Chancellor.

Career-ender right there.