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Sempre boas notícias

A sério, que o senhor ensina na Universidade de Leyden, mas também há outros, e resumindo é assim: dê-se o direito de voto aos putos a partir dos seis anos, porque deles é o futuro, e negue-se aos  idosos para cima dos sessenta e cinco, porque esses não fazem ideia do mundo em que estão e futuro não têm.

Do jornal neerlandês NRC Handelsblad de 10.09.2019

"Os idosos têm demasiado a dizer num mundo onde desde  há pouco vivem."

The elderly have too much say in a world that they have only recently lived in.

Democracy Young people are poorly represented in politics and the voice of the elderly is increasingly important. Change the political system, writes Philip Huff .

September 10, 2019

D.I will be thirty-five this month. An older friend said: “Very well. Then you can no longer play the youth card; you will have to act as an adult. " In the same week, the Social and Economic Council (SER) presented a report this warns that young people like me become independent less quickly than before. Born in the 80s and 90s, millennials today get a permanent contract on average at the age of 27. That is a year later than ten years ago. In 2018, a quarter of all homes went to starters, four years earlier this was half. Four in ten millennials do not expect to be able to buy a home, a number that is higher than the European average. Moreover, only one third builds up a pension. It is the result of the economic reality of the abolition of the study grant, the rise of flexible jobs and an increasingly tight housingarket, partly due to bad political policy.

Philip Huff is a writer. His most recent book is The Sadness of Others, a personal reading history .

"These people live a deferred life," said SER chairman Mariëtte Hamer. She argues for a 'generation test' for new laws. For the loan system, according to Hamer, you should not only look at the effects on education, but also at the impact on the rest of the lives of young people. What does it mean for getting a job and for your psychological system that you build up a debt? Such a generation test is not a bad idea. We can safely say that in the areas of education, employment, pension accrual and housing, the Rutte cabinets have not really focused on young people over the past nine years. Last week , the Social Cultural Planning Office (SCP) published Poverty in Map 2019. Children and the over-90s, ie the youngest and the oldest, turned out to be relatively poor in the Netherlands. And the people between the ages of 65 and 75, the baby boomers, have it best for each other. This is partly due to the state pension, but especially also to their well-built up pensions.

An embarrassingly high number of children grow up in poverty, have a high student debt, no housing and no prospect of a permanent job or pension. As a millennial, it would make you gloomy if you didn't have something else on your mind: the catastrophic climate collapse that awaits us, the decline in biodiversity or rising inequality, and the devastating aftermath of colonialism and mass migration created by it. last has started. Since 1945, there are not so many around the worldpeople adrift as now. By the middle of this century, one third of the planet is both desert and the home of one and a half billion people. The Dutch sea level will in all probability rise by half a meter in the coming century; it will cost an extra 600 million euros a year to 'defend' our coasts. Most people over 50 will not be bothered by these socio-economic and climate challenges - they will be dead by then.

A generation test for new laws is therefore a start, but it is not enough. People's representatives must be younger. In the House of Representatives, the average age is 47 years ; the VVD, with thirty-three MPs, the largest party, has only two - male - MPs under 35; the PVV, with twenty seats, does it with three millennials - two men and one woman - but slightly better; there are single-issue parties for animals and the elderly, but not for the young. While they live the longest in this world and bear the least responsibility for the existing problems, young people have the least political say, and they also share the least in the prosperity our capitalism brings.

Yet rejuvenation of the parliament is also not enough: with proportional representation according to age structure in society, young people remain a small fraction. After all, the share of older people will increase, to more than a quarter of the over-65s by 2060 . And of the likely 18.5 million inhabitants by 2060, nearly five million will be 65 or older, one and a half million more than today. It is therefore important to radically change the political system. And as long as the interests of the elderly are just as important as that of the young, that will not happen. A possible solution is to adjust the voting rights. Older voters now have too much say in developments in a world that they will live in for a shorter period of time.

Moreover, the cognitive capacities of the elderly are diminished. That is a bigger cause for concern than it is a breeding ground for jokes. Old voters are bad, non-rational voters. A 2014 US study showed that older people are less rational than younger people. And all of the aforementioned problems require rational solutions, not populist ones. This has political and therefore real consequences, not only socio-economic but also ecological. One solution could be to better inform the elderly, but because people are sentimental, stubborn, loss-avoiding creatures, another solution may be more functional: an age-related vote weight.

The English historian and political scientist David Runciman came up with the proposal to give 6-year-olds the right to vote . Such an approach may seem rigorous, but it raises the question of why we should not vote until we are eighteen. Why don't we stop, let's say something, at 86, the life expectancy of now 65-year-old women? Another proposal is to give each 6-year-old child a vote weight of eighty, which will be one less weight each year (7 years old, 79 votes; 8 years old, 78 votes; when you turn 35 you still have a vote weight of 51 ). This creates a link between your vote weight and the number of years you can still live in this world, and you are forced to think more rationally and responsibly about your political choice.

It is much easier to be in favor of the abolition of the basic grant, of keeping coal-fired power plants open and of selling homes to investors if the consequences of increased student debt, CO 2 emissions or a corrupt housing market don't hit your proverbial plate. As you get older, your political vote should therefore not gain more, but less weight. The elderly may not like to hear that, but it is an opportunity to make Dutch democracy and society more just - a democracy and society often controlled by, indeed, increasingly aging self-secrets like me.