Matices de gris

Hace falta un examen muy detenido de los resultados de las recientes elecciones celebradas en el Estado alemán de Renania del Norte-Westfalia para encontrar en la lista de “Otros” los correspondientes a “Los grises”: obtuvieron el 0,1 por ciento de los votos. Dicho de otro modo, uno de cada mil electores votó por ellos, aunque afirmaban hablar en nombre de los ancianos y jubilados de ese Estado: más del 30 por ciento de la población. Evidentemente, la “conciencia de generación”, a diferencia de la “conciencia de clase” de otro tiempo, no es un factor determinante en las preferencias políticas de los ciudadanos. Muchos más “grises” votaron por los Verdes que por su “propio” partido.

Se trata de un fenómeno importante. La mayoría de los europeos –y muchas personas en otras partes del mundo– viven en sociedades que están envejeciendo rápidamente. Mientras surgen hogares y hospicios de jubilados, se cierran parvularios y escuelas. El aumento de la esperanza de vida, unido a unas bajas tasas de nacimientos, modela la demografía de casi todos los países prósperos. A no ser que haya un vuelco espectacular, a mediados de siglo la mitad de la población, aproximadamente, estará económicamente inactiva por razones de edad.

Esa tendencia tendrá muchas consecuencias, las más evidentes para el estado del bienestar, en particular en materia de pensiones y atención de salud. Mientras que los gastos correspondientes a esos dos capítulos aumentan rápidamente, los ingresos compensatorios proceden de un número cada vez menor de personas empleadas.

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