Aiding and Aging: The Coming Crisis in Support for the Elderly by Kin and State

By John Mogey | Go to book overview

12
THE POLICY ASPECTS OF AGING

Helga Repassy

Over the past few years we have heard more and more about the increasing difficulties of the elderly population. In Hungary attention is primarily focused on financial problems, although old people's cultural and moral positions are getting harder and harder all the time. It is not a specifically Hungarian situation. In many countries of the world, especially in welfare states and in Eastern Europe, due to the gradual increase in people's life expectancy and low birth rates, the proportion of old people within the whole society is getting larger. Over the past twenty-five years this situation in Hungary has been primarily the outcome of very low birth rates, since men's life expectancy has, unfortunately, been falling for fifteen years.

An increase in the proportion of the elderly population does not necessarily cause social tensions. These are accounted for by several factors, namely: (1) a disruption of the balance of intergenerational reproduction, due to the modernization of traditional societies; (2) the effects of deformed modernization in Eastern Europe, thus in Hungary too, that have aggravated the necessarily negative consequences of modernization and have worsened the situation of elderly citizens.


SOCIAL REPRODUCTION AND MODERNIZATION

In traditional societies social reproduction processes are embedded into the family. In this process production of material goods and cultural services, in a broader sense of the word, as well as reproduction of political relations that coordinate the flow of goods and services, is in a natural harmony. Man's productivity follows a special curve in relation

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