KENNETH ANDERSON: Work, Compensation, and Retirement Age: Lessons from the Professors.

The dilemma is this, inelegantly stated. The argument for working longer says that we need the productive labor of these people. Fine. But if you look at workplaces — this debate over universities is a good example — what we see instead is a perceived need to get these workers out of the way to make way for a new generation that will be more dynamic, innovative, produce the new ideas, methods, innovations, etc., that will increase productivity and hence standards of living. Whether you think that is true of university professors or not — it is not a stretch to believe that this is a problem for the economy as a whole.

On the one hand, we demand that older people work longer. On the other hand, we want them out of the way so that new and younger people will new ideas and energy and innovations will carry productivity forward.

Which is to say, we would ideally like to have the younger generation take charge — take control — and also to compensate them for that. We also want the older generation to continue to work — but commensurate with their productivity. When we say “productivity” here, however, we mean not just in a narrow sense, but in a broader sense of productivity that includes a propensity to innovation and the creation of a shared climate of innovation that, fairly or unfairly, is adjudged to favor the young.

Read the whole thing. Plus, a poll.