A special report on pensions养老保险特别报道Too much, too young太多，太年轻
Watch your wallets: the baby-boomers are beginning to retire
WHEN MOST LABOUR was agricultural, people generally toiled in the fields until they dropped. The idea of formal retirement did not become feasible until work moved from farms to factories. In 1889 Otto von Bismarck famously introduced the world’s first (modest) pension scheme in Germany. In the 20th century, when universal suffrage became widespread, a period of retirement after work was seen as a mark of a civilised social democracy.
After the second world war pension provision increased markedly, but the number of elderly people was still quite small. In the 1970s and 1980s caring for them seemed easily affordable. Many countries even reduced their retirement ages.
The demographic picture looks different now that the baby-boomers are starting to retire. In 1950 there were 7.2 people aged 20-64 for every person of 65 and more in the OECD. By 1980 the ratio had dropped to 5.1. Now it is around 4.1, and by 2050 it will be just 2.1. In short, every couple will be supporting a pensioner.