As the baby boom generations prepare to retire from work, the problem of the future of pensions is looming with increasing urgency. The topic has often been discussed in the pages of Futuribles, with regard to France and the other industrialized countries. The crunch time is now near in France, and many reports have been devoted to the subject over the last two decades, in increasing quantities in recent years.
Following the report of the Commissioner of the Plan on "The Future of our Pensions" and the study by the Economic and Social Council on "The Social and Demographic Outlook to 2020-2040", which we have already reviewed, a study has recently been published by a former Minister of Social Affairs, René Teulade, which has enabled the present French Prime Minister to put an end to the procrastination of many previous governments, all of whom recoiled at the challenge offered by the indispensable and unavoidable need to reform the French pension system.
Alain Parant reviews here the analysis of the future of pensions made in the "Teulade Report" and its main recommendations. He shows that, while all those who write about the subject agree on the scale of the problem, René Teulade is unusual in displaying great optimism about the outlook for economic and job growth - this optimism allows him to discount any risk of major crisis, on condition that some small adjustments are made.
Alain Parant sets out to demonstrate why he finds such optimism "irresponsible", stressing in particular the poor performance of France with regard to employment and therefore the doubts that raises about the desirability of extending the number of years that have to be worked in order to qualify for a pension. Lastly, he criticizes the absence of a real willingness to undertake reforms and emphasizes the consequent dangers.