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    So just how badly off are all those welfare states in which wage-earning citizens sacrifice their crass individual goals for the good and harmony of the collective? You’ll have to find out about Sweden from someone else; the situation here in Japan is enough to make anyone my age (32) consider keeping his nest egg as a shoebox full of gold nuggets. It’s not enough that the population is aging. It’s not enough that money paid into the Social Insurancephalopod is mismanaged. (At least it isn’t diverted into a thinly-disguised government slush fund, the way savings accounts through the Postal Service are. Actually, come to think of it, maybe it is. I’m probably better off not knowing). We also have pervasive non-payment of premiums (link to Japanese article as usual–sorry if you’re not Amritas).

    Those of us who work for corporations have the money taken directly out of our wages (like FICA), but the self-employed and students of at least twenty years old have to pay in themselves. Now, of course, most people do work for corporations, so in the grand scheme of things, the amount of money that’s being lost is not as great as the “Non-payment of Social Insurance Pension Premiums Still Near Worst-Ever Level of 37%” headlines make it sound. Even so, I agree with the media that it’s an indication of how little people have come to trust the pension system, for all the hot air about reform.

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