Robin Blackburn, a former editor of New Left Review, is probably the world's greatest leftwing expert on pensions and retirement policy. This is his second comprehensive book on the subject, the first being Banking on Death (2002).
Blackburn probes with extraordinary scholarship and critical analysis the retirement crisis facing western countries, one that portends a future of growing elderly poverty as financial elites, abetted by compliant politicians, increasingly replace public programs like Social Security that generally work well with private 401(k) like plans that provide more income for the financial services industry than security for retirees. This retrograde policy is occurring as societies are ageing and in need of more, not less, support for the retired. In the final part of the book he sketches out a fiscally sound alternative: bolstering public plans and creating new secondary pensions so that all retirees could be assured of at least 70 percent of preretirement income.
This is important reading for anyone attempting to sort out the very complicated relationship between finance capital and pension funds. The book will be especially useful for labor union officials and organizers who are entrusted with protecting their members' retirement plans.