As the Tories increase national insurance in an effort to deal with social care, it's time to identify the scale of the problem.

In the short term (before 2050) demographic ageing is as big a challenge to our economic model as climate change. Thread 1/…
How big is that crisis going to be, and how soon?

In Britain the over 65s is set to increase by 40% between 2016 & 2036, while those over 80 will double. That's a massive shift in care needs.

The relationship between ageing & age-related conditions is exponential rather than linear, meaning the social costs of ageing are extraordinary. The chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s roughly doubles between the ages of 70 and 75, doubling again between 75 & 80 & so on.

For progressively older societies, with ever-larger concentrations of the ‘oldest old’, this presents a major challenge. Even if we mitigate or potentially cure things like cancer, the sheer accumulation of conditions may prove too much to manage.

One response is idea we should treat ageing itself like a disease. Another, which is far more reasonable given the state of medical knowledge, is to accept spending on health & social care must dramatically expand, with the care sector re-modelled along the lines of the NHS.

Today, across the planet, there are 6.3 people of working age for every person over 65. The UN claims that figure will fall to 3.4 by 2050, & 2.4 by 2100. A population plateau, as social care needs significantly increase, would inevitably mean a catastrophe.

Then there's idea we can have low deficits and low taxes.

A 2016 report by Standard and Poor claimed 25% of all countries could see their sovereign debt status reduced to “junk”as a result of ageing by 2050. That included Brazil, China, Japan, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

All could see public debt rise as high as 250% of GDP three decades from now.

And the UK? Just the costs of health and long-term social care, the state pension, and other elderly benefits, are expected to increase annual spending by 2.5% of GDP every year this decade.

All else being equal, according to the OBR in 2012, rising health and social care costs would see public debt rise to 233% of GDP by the 2060s.

Yet the Tories persist with lying to the public about the possibility of a low tax economy. Labour are little better.

That is unlikely, of course, because pensions will be reduced, retirement ages raised and, as we saw yesterday, taxes increased. In the absence of a political alternative, all of this is inevitable and it will fall hardest on the working class. Question is who will pay?

Most troubling of all is how elderly care and pensions can’t be addressed without also confronting the housing crisis and inequality – yet the government’s latest proposals entrench both. Millennials and Gen Z, listen up!

Generally speaking, a pension equivalent to 50% of one’s final salary is viewed as a decent target. That presumes, however, that the retiree owns their home, with a figure of 70% more appropriate for those who rent. Yes, really.

Given working-age adults are 3 times more likely to rent than 20 years ago, & a third of people over 60 are expected to rent by 2040, this would indicate major problems ahead.

Generation(s) rent, who have lower savings and no assets, will need more money than homeowners as they reach old age. Right now the economy is set up so the opposite is true.

These groups need to understand: you are being screwed like no other generation in a century.

Thus 'solving' the care & pensions crisis is impossible without addressing inequality and the housing crisis. Yet the Tories 'plan' is to insulate homeowners from tax rises and hit the working age population instead (who are less likely to have assets for old age). Insane.

Yet demographic ageing, like climate change and Covid, is simply too big an issue to subordinate to political expediency. Failure to address it will lead to profound long term consequences, from even greater economic malaise to slumping consent for our political system.

This stuff historically leads to political revolt.

All this will happen in context where *just ageing* will mean lower growth & higher public debt. One reason, alongside climate, why economic transformation is needed. You won't hear that in media!

Demographic ageing, alongside climate change, automation and inequality contributes to what I call a 'Great Disorder' in Fully Automated Luxury Communism.

These are existential challenges to market capitalism.…

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More from @AaronBastani

10 Sep
Really remarkable that the Scottish Greens not adopting the IHRA definition would discount them from being able to form a government in a democracy.

I think that is quite 'extremist'. I don't think people realise how dangerous a path this is.
The idea that certain political parties could be excluded from government on the basis of not adhering to a certain set of guidelines or definitions is remarkable. It's post-democratic liberalism in its clearest form - one for political theorists to think about!
I think its outlandish this is conceivable in a democracy. Sadly it was given too much truck by Labour left, who frequently placed short term media management over right thing. That will have long term consequences for any sensible debate on this stuff
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9 Sep
This is great, and cycling in London is an undoubted good news story, but for the rest of country (beyond places like Oxford & Cambridge etc) this image is unthinkable.

In the UK bikes are 1% of all vehicle miles and the number of miles cycled is still below even the mid 80s >
It’s like buses. Using them has gone up in London but....down in the rest of the country (because the infrastructure and prices aren’t as good). This is so bad more bus journeys are now made in London than the rest of England combined! Image
On moving away from cars the U.K., with a few exceptions, is failing. London shows that’s because of resources & political will, but because the capital does well it’s easy for those there to think real progress is happening. Nationally it isn’t.
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27 Jul
Outstanding piece on how ⁦@Keir_Starmer⁩ dealt with the suspension of ⁦@jeremycorbyn

😡 Starmer broke his word, & has u-turned 3 TIMES

🤥 Starmer put the blame on Morgan McSweeney

😳 Starmer defied EHRC recommendations on day of report!…
The night before the report was published Corbyn and Starmer were allegedly in direct contact. The next morning the Labour did the dirty and broke his word. Not for the last time.
Blaming others is a habit for Starmer, it even extended to his chief of staff. He comes across as dishonest and dislikeable.

How on earth did he run the CPS?!
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23 Jul
Of course it was socialism. It was overseen by a society where production for exchange value, and defined by wage labour, was minimal or inexistent. That still means bad things happened. And Stalin was dead by then!

This stuff confuses politics for eschatology.
Market capitalism has achieved x,y,z at which point someone will say ‘it wasn’t market capitalism because these people were bad!’

Marx also clear, socialism is not communism - former is not yet realm of freedom.

What next ‘it’s not real socialism until everyone is vegan’? >
Like probably we should be, yes, but a socialist society wouldn’t have to include that predicate, no. Same applies to plastic free, zero carbon - all good things.

But this is why we have definitions.
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NEW: Joint statement by GMB/Unite Labour staff members in response to news of 90 redundancies.

Staff first heard of news through the Guardian after no consultation. Detail in thread:
Were alternative cost saving options explored? @UKLabour & @Keir_Starmer would rightly ask that of any other employer. Why not here?
There was no consultation around redundancy packages. Again, Labour would rightly ask that of ‘rogue employers’
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21 Jul
People saying changes to the Official Secrets Act represents the 'end of British democracy'.

Are you aware of the already existing Official Secrets Act and its history? Or that Julian Assange is *already* in prison?

Thread (1/5)
There are a hundred other statues, besides the OSA, which forbid the disclosure of valuable state information. In Britain we have no constitutional right to free speech, tho we have some protections under European Law.

What is more we live in one of the most secretive countries in the world. Mi6, as one example, has not disclosed one page of one file since its founding in 1909 (!) Even Russians, for instance, know more about the history of their security services than we do.

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