Working and retirement in Latin America

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The translation below is verbatim:

*O Globo*, 8th april 1999:

Fernado Henrique [Cardoso] blames Brazilian obsession about ceasing to work.

Brasilia- During a ceremony when the government announced measures to better health services for the elderly, president FHC said that there is an obsession from people about ceasing to work at a set age, thereby creating problems for the social security: [...]

"We have to understand that work is good for the elderly, since they have conditions to keep working. Work is good. This obssession about retiring at a set age will create problems for the social security that already exist and create financial problems. Those who cease working lost their natural connections with the rest of society"

[Only to dot the ii: the recent restructuring of the Brazilian social security allows people to retire after 35 years of *proven payment of social security dues* (not of actual work) having as a consequence that people who begin to work in informal jobs (a very common occurrence in Brazil)who work without the employer paying the legal dues to the social security, have no right whatsoever to earning a pension. Also, people in such circumstances, working since their teens in back-breaking jobs, generally count- ie, counted- on their future pensions to supplement the meager earnings they can get, in their late 40s, in some lighter menial task. Cardoso, BTW, receives a pension since age 38, when he was forcibly retired by the military, some 40% of his salary as full professor. However, at the 1979 amnesty, he began receiving a full pension at age 47, without a minute of additional work. that perhaps explain the following outburst: ]

"The newspapers put my age at 68. That's a mistake: I'm 58[...] What counts is vitality...What age do I have? What I seem to be...Taken from this vantage point, I'm in my early 50s[...] I feel today like a *vieux gate'*[spoilt old man]"

Well, I thought that this light note could perhaps distract me from the tragedy in Yugoslavia, but now I do not feel so sure about that...

Carlos Rebello

Thank you, Carlos.

Cardoso's cynical opinions are twice as important if we think that he is the equivalent to the Argentinian "center-left" opposition of the Alianza (Collor having been the Brazilian Menem, perhaps the relative strengths of Brazilian and Argentinian bourgeoisies explain why Collor was ousted and Menem was not). Here in Argentina the social security system was destroyed systematically from 1955 onwards, and the strongest blows were given after 1966 and particularly after 1976. Under Menem a system of private companies was set up. Originally the idea was to replace the large system of social security as a whole, but popular opposition made the Gov't step back a little, and leave this system of Pension Funds together with the old one.

Retirement age was consistently raised once and