Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Progress and Regress – the Irish version

In their article in Gazeta Wyborcza the three young economists offered up the following statistic: in 1960s Poland for every retired person and invalid in receipt of welfare there were 12 people working and paying taxes.

Turning to this week’s Sunday Times I read that in Ireland in the 1960s there was a tiny 1.4 members of the workforce for every dependent. Nowadays that ratio is 2.2 to 1. Ironically, this healthier dependency ratio is attributed by the author (Ciaron Hancock) to a lower birth rate. The current scare in Poland is that there are too few people being born…

Hancock talks of “dependents” while the Polish authors talk of “retired people and invalids” so this definition-difference could account for some of the gaping difference in dependency rates in 1960s Ireland and Poland but 12 to 1 and 1.4 to 1?

The Answer: children. The Polish three do not count children among dependents.

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