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The Economist | Pensions and education: Land of the setting sun

The Economist

Pensions and education
Land of the setting sun
Brazil, the “country of the future”, spends far too much on its past

TO SEE WHY Brazil urgently needs to reform its pension system, picture a 73-year-old retired public prosecutor. He is living very comfortably on a generous government pension—around 20,000 reais a month, more than ten times the average wage. With three children from a previous marriage and one from an affair, he is now married to a beautiful 30-year-old with whom he has a fifth child. Life is sweet. After 12 more happy years he dies. Naturally his widow is distraught, but her financial future is assured. For the rest of her life she draws almost his full pension, increased annually by at least the rate of inflation. When she dies 38 years later, aged 80, that pension has been paying out for more than half a century—much longer than her husband had worked to earn it.

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