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13 March, 2018

Launching of the book “Pensions: From Discontent to Solutions”

The launching of the book “Pensions: From Discontent to Solutions,” edited by Salvador Valdes Prieto, was held last March 8. The publication contains the results of more than one year of interdisciplinary work, including the two reports of the group convened by the Clapes Center of the Catholic University “Better Pensions for Chile,” and the study of perceptions regarding pensions “From the disappointment of pensioners to the fear of the employed,” conducted in conjunction with the Oportunidad Mayor Foundation and the Department of Social Research of the Institute of Sociology of the Catholic University of Chile.

The book highlights the gap between pension expectations and the amounts of the benefits received. According to the study, the pension expectations of the retirees polled amount to nearly twice their income during their previous working lives, which is clearly unrealistic. Experts from different fields (psychology, social communication, economics, etc.) studied ways of reducing this gap in the short term.

Thus, the book comprises 25 concrete proposals that combine common sense with serious technical analysis. Among other things, the text proposes the creation of a non-contributory allowance for caregivers of severely dependent individuals aged 60 or more, complemented by the creation of an extreme old age severe dependence insurance, that addresses the needs of the middle class. Another proposed measure is to implement Convention 128 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), subscribed by 60 countries, which calls for incorporating three categories of old-age benefits into law: “Programmed reimbursement of insufficient contributions” (for those who have contributed for less than 10 years), a “Partial Pension” (for those who have contributed for more than 10 but less than 30 years, which is the case of most people) and a “Full Pension” (for those who have contributed for more than 30 years). “This aims to clearly inform citizens of the number of years of contributions required for obtaining a real or full pension,” added Salvador Valdés.

During the launching of the book, the former Minister of Finance, Rodrigo Valdés, highlighted the fact that the study was conducted by a multidisciplinary group with a diversity of political views, highlighting the severe dependency insurance proposal as being “very useful for the system.” He added that with these initiatives “we are making progress in understanding the complexity of this phenomenon, which is extremely difficult and cannot be addressed from a single discipline. The book acknowledges that there are no magic solutions, confronting the ignorance regarding this matter, helping to educate, and clarifying several basic issues.”

The Minister of Labor and Social Security, Nicolás Monckeberg, in turn, commended the work of Clapes UC in formulating quality public policies. “There is a capacity for dialog and agreement that provides stability to these types of initiatives. This work goes beyond theoretical classroom practice, crosses political boundaries, applies a constructive standpoint that does not dwell on criticism, puts emphasis on concrete proposals and includes the expectations of citizens. It serves no purpose to pass a law in Congress if it is not explained, if it does not include the expectations of citizens,” he said.

Finally, Nicolás Ibáñez, Chairman of the Board of Fundación Oportunidad Mayor, closed the event emphasizing the need to address the issue of population aging and pensions in a timely manner, adding that “this book is an excellent contribution to the discussion of a topic critical for society, and sheds light on one of the most critical dilemmas facing the West.”

The book can be purchased in the bookstores of the Catholic University of Chile, in its Main and San Joaquin Campuses.

To see the editor’s address, click here.

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