SSHM’s Dr Debora Price at the British Library on “Portraying Ageing: Cultural Assumptions and Practical Implications”

 When: Mon 28 Apr 2014, 9.30-16.45

The aim of this interdisciplinary conference is to explore how age and ageing is represented in and through art, literature, media, medicine, education, policy, practice, language, communities and culture – in the process engaging and linking creative, academic, political, and personal perspectives.

SSHM’s Dr Debora Price will present her paper “Financing Later Life: Financial Capability and the Governing of Ageing Societies


As populations age, governments face the challenge of how to finance the welfare of their ageing citizens, particularly in the arenas of financing pensions and social care. Somehow income and care in later life must be paid for, but who should bear the cost, and how should the money be collected and used? Should it be by individuals from their savings, private wealth and income, or taxes and/or national insurance collected by governments? Either way, individuals end up paying.  But the balance between these two ways of financing late life can have profound implications for people, since some things, like redistributing from rich to poor, can only be done by governments. 

 This paper draws on research funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) conducted by Dr. Debora Price and Dr. Lynne Livsey at the Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London.  We suggest that in the UK and other countries, the government is increasingly wedded to the idea of individuals financing later life from their own financial resources, by using the plethora of financial products now available in financial markets. We analyse the origins and development of this idea, and show how different discourses of financial capability and financial education have been deployed in the public domain by many different actors in order to shift attitudes and behaviours of the population so as to achieve this vision of government and the financial sector.  We argue that dominant discourses of financial capability support increasingly complex market based solutions to social welfare in old age, serving financial services industry agendas and governing citizen behaviour, while constructing those who end up with inadequate resources as failed consumers.

To register for this event, click here.

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