chapter  1
21 Pages

EQUITY AND SOLIDARITY ACROSS THE GENERATIONS

ByClaudine Attias-Donfut, Sara Arber

Are European societies facing generational conflicts at the start of the third millennium? Such conflicts would be quite different from those which broke out in the 1960s in most Western countries. The latter conflicts opposed two generations, youth and adults, while the supposed new ones involve three generations, and now include the retired. Unlike in the 1960s, the challenge does not lie in the political and cultural spheres but in the economic sphere. The issues are no longer the refutation of generational and gender hierarchies inside the family or in universities and workplaces, but instead focus upon the sharing of public resources between separate cohorts before, during and after the working life. Therefore the risk of conflict comes from generational inequity in welfare contributions, as well as in the distribution of benefits.