With medical breakthroughs and healthier lifestyles, health issues of older people are less of a problem, hence we see an increase in life expectancy, but even though many have valuable experience (not only in their field of employment, but also, raising children, community service, etc.), they are not able to compete with younger people. And the discriminatory hiring practices they face are effectively just like racism and chauvinism. Unlike discrimination by race, sexual orientation or ethnicity agism is accepted and legal.
Youth is regarded as more energetic, healthy creative, cooperative and flexible. Would you rather work with attractive, energetic, enthusiastic, optimistic playmates or cynical, moody people, who have no future and have obviously failed or wouldn’t need to still be working? But what is the difference between this attitude and race-based preferences?
Since every old person was once young and since, when they were young, they learned to view aging as a pejorative, as they get older, they view themselves in this way. We’d be amazed to hear Jews apologizing for the Holocaust, yet this kind of thinking is implicit in media images of older people and in ads for retirement plans, drugs, medical care and notably, Internet ads for sexual enhancements and dating. Young people also learn to expect that they may be living one day in that unique form of cohabitation we call, “residential care”; places where people are expected to be useless and dependent
AARP, the organization that proposes to advocate regarding issues of aging, is committed to an agenda that is analogous to improving conditions of child labor or slavery as opposed to ending slavery and exploitation. AARP and associates like Cornell and Stein institutes on aging, etc., are funded and supported by drug companies, health insurers and residential care real estate development firms but there are also tax-supported public agencies that have made a business of the age-related paradigm of dependence.
This dependency syndrome is now stumbling over issues related not only to the general economic malaise, but also, to the way Social Security and Medicare funds are effected by inflation resulting from financing warfare during the last half century and the way public sector employees funded their own exclusive retirement program by neglecting investment in economically sustaining infrastructure and programs. With the failed economy competing in a global labor market, this idea backfired with the result that millions of them are out of work, too, and no one is able to retire. The median age of the workforce is increasing but there fewer employment opportunities for older citizens.
One effect is that older people are returning to school to obtain credentials for new job opportunities but the number of young and foreign-born students in colleges is also increasing. Some opportunities for employment are opening in higher education but 30% of Americans currently hold bachelor degrees and with life expectancy increasing the ratio of educated workers in the workforce to available jobs means things must get worse for people regardless of their level of education. Historically, government projects that create private employment have mitigated high unemployment but the additional burden of failed retirement programs coupled with lower death rates multiplies the burden.