by PAUL WISEMAN, AP Economics Writer
“WASHINGTON (AP) — Work until you die — or until you can’t work anymore.
“Until the late 19th century, that was the old-age plan for the bulk of the world’s workers.
“Only in 1889 did German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck introduce modern pensions. Bismarck wasn’t really motivated by compassion for the plight of the working class. He wanted to pre-empt a growing socialist movement in Germany before it grew any more powerful.
“The idea of providing financial security for the aged gradually caught on and expanded in Europe, the United States and other advanced economies. Now, as life expectancy reaches lengths Bismarck couldn’t have imagined and retirement lasts two or three decades, these countries are struggling with government pension plans they can no longer afford.”
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