阴影下的老人

要想找到“灰党”的得票状况,就必须在德国北莱茵-威斯特法伦州计票清单的“其它政党”一栏中仔细搜寻:他们获得了总票数的0.1%。换句话说,尽管他们自称代表了占该州总人口数30%的退休老人的利益,却只赢得了千分之一的选票。老年人的“年代意识”和“阶级意识”不同,显然并非政治偏好的决定因素。给“绿党”投票的老人要比给“自己”政党投票的老人多得多。

这个事实至关重要。绝大多数欧洲人和世界很多地方的人一样,都生活在快速老龄化的社会之中。到处都在停办幼儿园和学校,开办养老院和收容所。平均寿命增加、出生率下降是发达国家人口统计的主要特点。除非发生戏剧性的改变,否则到本世纪中叶,约有半数的人口将由于年龄原因而丧失经济活力。

上述发展势头会带来多种后果,影响最显著的是福利国家,也就是养老金和医疗保健制度。尽管上述两项开支都迅速飙升,但承担开支的在职人员人数却跌到了历史上的低点。

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