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A View to the Future

January 22, 2013

Hey, does anyone think that this could happen here?  Thanks to Hot Air for the cheery pointer this morning.

Taro Aso, the [new Japanese] finance minister, said on Monday that the elderly should be allowed to “hurry up and die” to relieve pressure on the state to pay for their medical care.

“Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government,” he said during a meeting of the national council on social security reforms. “The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”

Well, I think that’s pretty clear.  Reading further, the gentleman’s take is that people who are living off the motherland and not doing anything productive or even health-conscious are just a drain on an already-overburdened tax system for the country.  This is a guy who’s never been real gentle in his opinions, which makes me hope for politics in some weird way.

For anyone who sees eerie parallels to whatever other developed country you currently inhabit, don’t be surprised.  There is a societal burden in supporting the aged that didn’t really exist a hundred years ago, and certainly not two centuries past.  At some point, we flipped the bit and decided that the productive workers of the past deserved compassion as they became less productive and more consumptive (pun intended).  This worked fine for a while, but extensions in life expectation and the cost of such have started to get society as a whole thinking that perhaps we were a bit zealous.  Of course, opinions change as soon as the particular society in mind thinks of settling down.  You only get the outliers like above when they’re opinionated and honest.

I can’t tell you a decent solution here.  I can easily predict that this will become more and more of a conversation as more an more of healthcare becomes nationalized across the globe.  I’m not predicting a Logan’s Run scenario anytime soon, but we might not be able to tell truth from fiction in another hundred years.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. cagedlion permalink
    January 30, 2013 4:40 pm

    This is already done by beancounters in insurance companies and hospitals when they deny people coverage. At least a government arbiter is somewhat answerable to the people. In a choice between a government bureaucrat who sees me as a vote, and an accountant who sees me as a liability deciding my fate, I will choose the government everytime.

  2. JWoods permalink
    January 23, 2013 8:31 am

    Same story just different time. These things keep returning always the same. You should volunteer to die for the good off the collective. Yet none of these authors will volunteer to cap themselves for the good of the collective. Seems like once a month we get stories about immotality, eat this, do this, medical breakthroughs etc. No matter how healthy you sre, no matter what you do,when your number comes up, you die. Bike to work for health truck runs you over. Friends,family people important, work not so much, retire from work, friends remain, desk supplies are re-distribited and your place is filled in.

    • January 23, 2013 10:05 am

      It’s actually a funny dichotomy… eat healthy and exercise so you can live longer, and then die early so you’re not a burden.

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