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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the assumptions on which the public–private division is based. In many respects, it might be argued that the debate over public versus private is irrelevant to the analysis of pension schemes and the current pension crisis. After all, in one way or another, the solution demands that we (collectively or singly) pay more and that future pensioners work longer or receive less. The following section shows how states, through the law, are deeply implicated in all market systems, which offer but one means of coordinating economic action. It is not possible to conceive of a market without rules, and the state, solely sovereign in this matter, governs market actions as much as it governs everything else. The second section of this article explores this proposition empirically and relates it to pension-policy developments in the decades following the Second World War. It outlines how governments adapted established private institutions (occupational and complementary pension systems) to public purposes in response to popular demand for higher pensions.

Keywords: private pension, public policy, public–private divide, pension schemes, pension crises, market system

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