Retirement is a phenomenon unique to modern industrial societies. It is only within the last century, through technological and scientific advances, that industrial nations have been able to produce significant surpluses of food and goods, while simultaneously diminishing the effects of disease and raising the overall standard of living. These advances, combined with the demographic shift which accompanies a declining birth rate (a proportional increase in number of old people to total population), the development of large national bureaucracies, and sudden shifts in the industrial market, have left significant numbers of older workers with obsolete skills and have led to the evolution of a major “retired” segment of the population.
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