Gisabelle Coupet Souberan: “Extending the capitalization of pensions means increasing the weight and instability of financial markets”


IThe Senate decided on March 5 to begin a study To examine the desirability of a dose of collective capitalization in a pay-as-you-go pension scheme. A happy coincidence for the calendar, a few weeks ago, the Sabines Institute published a study titled ” For a dose of capitalization in our pensions ”, very favorable for such a device.

Our pension system will be “to the last breath” To use Sapiens Institute terms. A curious expression, because there is nothing natural about a retirement plan, it is not a galloping animal that loses its breath, it is an institution, that is, a device created on principles that reflect the societal project, which evolves in a form that we have decided to develop. Funded and pay-as-you-go pension schemes are very different in this respect.

The first is non-commercial, under the auspices of social security, and the second, on the contrary, is commercial and entrusts retirement to a financial institution (pension fund, pension provident fund, pension fund, life insurance …) responsible for collecting contributions and placing them on the financial markets to serve the result in the form of pensions, which for this purpose cost their services, and all the more expensive because their market share is important. The first is based on a supposed solidarity between generations, because the workers know that they pay the wages of the retirees, while the second puts everyone under the illusion that their retirement depends only on their own efforts to contribute, while it remains essentially a tax on economic activity. Thus on the action of the “assets” – otherwise the investments of the pension fund or pension fund will not be based on any real value.

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These institutional arrangements are practical in the sense that they shape society according to the principles and values ​​that underlie them. Linking retirement to the market, and more specifically to financial markets, means stimulating profit-seeking behavior, performance, and competition, which Karl Polanyi articulates in The great transformation (1944), they don’t have anything natural about them, but they are in fact the result of the institutions that are created. The foundation of the retirement system on social security and solidarity between generations does not make these behaviors necessary and establishes more cooperation, participation and respect between generations.

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