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[老外直言]-人人养我 我养人人
LEARNING.SOHU.COM    2004年8月4日10:28    来源:[ 北京青年报 ] 
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  我并不是想说由在职人员供养退休人员是件坏事。在大多数文化中,年轻人与老年人之间存在着扶助与供养的关系。毕竟,孩子从婴儿到成年,通常是父母供养了他们,父母也常常帮助祖父母那一代。在我小时候,我寡居的姥姥和爷爷奶奶三位老人与我们住在一起。今天,许多有工作的年轻夫妇设法安排上了年纪的父母把家搬到他们的住所附近,或是年轻人搬到父母住地附近以便关照他们。我们往往夸大了“年轻职业人士”富有魅力的独立生活,所以你可能不了解这种几世同堂的家庭在美国仍然存在,数量也很可观。如果政府的退休金计划包括了年轻人供养老年人,那么最好是将其看作一种代表了更大范围的被认可的原则,一种有关两代人之间相互尊重的原则。

  这类退休积金项目的作用显然依赖于在职人员与退休人员的人口比例。在那些人口增长与寿命延长同步进行的国家,在职人员与退休人员两个群体的数量大致是平衡的。但我认为,中国目前仍是世界上人口最多的国家,她面对一个独特的挑战:“独生子女”政策显然是限制了未来在职人员的数量,而国家持续发展与繁荣将使老年人拥有更好的健康和更长的寿命。对此我现在无法做出深入的研究,但我相信聪明的人们正在仔细关注这两个趋向,并为中国提前设计出更好的退休金计划。

  I do not mean to suggest that it is a bad thing for people with jobs to support retired workers. In most cultures, constructive and supportive relationships exist between young and old. Parents, after all, generally support their children as they grow from infants to young adults, and often help with grandparents too. When I was a child, three of my grandparents, one widowed grandmother and a pair of grandparents, lived with us in our house. Today many younger professional couples arrange for their aging parents to move to an apartment near them, or the working couple relocate to keep an eye on them. We tend to play up the glamorous independent life of the "young professional" and you might not realize that these multi-generational families still exist in considerable numbers in America. If a government program of retirement assistance involves the young supporting the old, perhaps it is best to view it as embodying a larger and accepted principle about mutual respect between generations.

  The effectiveness of such programs obviously depends on the proportion of active workers to retired workers. In countries with both expanding populations and increasing longevity, an approximate "balance" will exist between these two groups, those working and those retired. However, I think China, still the world's most populous nation, has a unique challenge. The one-child policy will obviously limit the size of the workforce in the future, while continued development and prosperity will bring better health and longer life to older people. Now, I can't possibly make a thorough study of the subject, but I am confident that smart people are looking carefully at these two trends and projecting ahead for better planning of China's retirement assistance programs.

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