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As an article in today’s Financial Times headlines those aged 20-25 years in Britain are now worse off, switching places with those aged 60-plus.

We have been warned since the 1980s of an ageing population and the phrase “demographic timebomb”  has entered common parlance.

But this expression of social policy was flawed. It relied too much on a numbers game. It suggested that improvements in medicine, technology and quality of life meant that elderly people would live longer and become a pension burden to the young who must pay for it via the state transfer payment system.

It is true that while public servants such as civil servants,  the police,  judiciary,  teachers and nurses have increasingly seen their pension entitlements flow from funded and invested pools – and even the less generous defined contribution schemes – those not employed by the state or those otherwise entitled to basic pension benefits have continued to be paid for from current tax receipts. And they have swelled in numbers.

However,  it is now evident that it is not just about forming public policy based on numbers. But also on what value benefits they enjoy. These have been increasing too.

It is not a peculiarly British problem. All Europe has to face this upheaval too.

— No country for young men – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/60d77d08-b20e-11e4-b380-00144feab7de.html