A View to the Future
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.