In this age of narrative collapse that Douglas Rushkoff presents, our frames of reference change when it relates to living and working longer. Perhaps in decades to come, as in centuries long ago, the narrative lines will become less crisp. When did a 17th century craftsperson start or stop working? Where was their workplace? Was their workforce a guild or a cottage industry ? How long did that person live?
Today, we could ask similar questions as we think about a population growing younger, which is actually stretching longer, cooking up recipes for a fuller life. Perhaps in decades to come life will be more about journey, not merely reaching 2 or 3 destination milestones like graduation, marriage and retirement.
With variant choices and protracted distances between life events – tomorrow; where we work, what we work at and how long we choose to work; will not necessarily conform to labour force statistics. Unless we change the narrative, which will in turn chunk out new statistics. That could be wildly interesting, yet disturbing to those concerned with economic measurements.
On page 4 of the C.D. Howe, July 24th e-brief, it references the 2006 OECD report on aging and employment policies, which says that “social policies and practices that discourage work at an older age, deny people choice in when and how they retire.”
But to provoke the intended spirit of the C.D.Howe piece, could we not say it’s about choice in how we make the most of the promise of longevity?