Demographic Changes, Pension Reforms, and Absolute Surplus Value: Intertemporal Exploitation in Contemporary Capitalism?
This article proposes a Marxist interpretation of contemporary demographic changes and pension system reforms. The former, which have been happening since the first industrial revolution, including population aging and reduced birth rates, can potentially make it difficult for capital to replenish the labor force necessary for exploitation and accumulation at a proper rate in many countries. This possibility has important consequences for the production and reproduction of value and surplus value, insofar as it affects the inflow and outflow of different types of labor power in the circuit of industrial capital as well as the redistribution of social labor by means of taxes and government transfers. Reforming pension systems by increasing the minimum retirement age helps to keep the flow of labor power into the circuit of capital for a longer time, but with a different composition of the labor force, with more experienced workers. This work investigates whether this increased working lifetime of laborers could be seen as a form of intertemporal absolute surplus-value extraction by the equally aging capitalist class.
- Antonovsky, A. (1967, April). Social Class, Life Expectancy and Overall Mortality. The Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 45(2), 31–73. Part 1. Google Scholar
- Arza, C., & Kohli, M. (Eds.). (2008). Pension Reform in Europe: Politics, Policies and Outcomes. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Attac. (1999). La Finance Contre les Retraites. Attac Conseil Scientifique. Available on https://france.attac.org/archives/spip.php?article256. Accessed on April 2016.
- Baker, D. (2011, January 20). The ‘Demographic Timebomb’ Defused. The Guardian.Google Scholar
- Baker, D. (2012). The Nonsense About a Demographic Crisis. Center for Economic and Policy Research. Disponível em http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/cepr-blog/the-nonsense-about-a-demographic-crisis. Accessed on April 2016.
- Baker, D., & Rosnick, D. (2010, October 1–5). The Impact of Income Distribution on the Length of Retirement (CEPR Issue Brief). Center for Economic and Policy Research.Google Scholar
- Blackburn, R. (2003). Banking on Death: Or, Investing in Life—The History and Future of Pensions. London: Verso.Google Scholar
- Cruz-Saco, M. A., & Mesa-Lago, C. (1998). Do Options Exist? The Reform of Pension and Health Care Systems in Latin America. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
- Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES). (1999). La Revue de L’IRES, No. 30. Special Issue About Social Protection. Google Scholar
- Kay, S. J., & Sinha, T. (2008). Lessons from Pension Reforms in the Americas. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Khalfa, P., & Chanu, P.-Y. (1999). Les Retraites au Péril du Libéralisme. Paris: Editions Syllepse.Google Scholar
- Korpi, W., & Palme, J. (2003). New Politics and Class Politics in the Context of Austerity and Globalization: Welfare State Regress in 18 Countries, 1975–95. American Political Science Review, 90(3), 425–446.Google Scholar
- Marier, P. (2008). Pension Politics: Consensus and Social Conflict in Ageing Societies. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Marx, K. (1975 [1847/1865]). Wage Labour and Capital & Value, Price and Profit. New York: International Publishers.Google Scholar
- Marx, K. (1976 ). Capital: Critique of Political Economy (Vol. I). London: Penguin Books/New Left Review.Google Scholar
- Marx, K. (2007 ). Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
- Mendes, Á. N., & Marques, R. M. (2001). A Proteção Social no Primeiro Quartel do Século XXI: Brincando com Cenários. Análise Econômica, Porto Alegre, 19(36), 165–193.Google Scholar
- Pochet, P., & Degryse, C. (2012). The Programmed Dismantling of the ‘European Social Model’: Forum on the Welfare State After the Great Recession. Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, 47(4), 212–217.Google Scholar
- Schludi, M. (2005). The Reform of the Bismarckian Pension Systems: A Comparison of Pension Politics in Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
- Schor, J. B. (1993). The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Social Security Administration (SSA). (2012). Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security (SSA Publication No. 13-11785). Available at https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/fast_facts/2012/fast_facts12.pdf. Access on June 2016.
- Standing, G. (2011). The Precariat. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
- Sullivan, M. (2004). Understanding Pensions. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Toporowski, J. (1999). The End of Finance: Capital Market Inflation, Financial Derivatives and Pension Fund Capitalism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Vega Cantor, R. (2012). La Expropiación del Tiempo en el Capitalismo Actual. Revista Herramienta, No. 51. Available at https://www.herramienta.com.ar/articulo.php?id=1785. Accessed on August 2016.