The arbitrary determination that at the age of 65 a man ceases to be an economically ‘useful’ citizen and becomes a ‘useless’ pensioner, living off others, is strange. The evidence that a man ceases to be able to perform most tasks when he is categorized as old is insubstantial. Nearly forty years ago, with the pressures of war, the Nuffield Foundation in Britain found that although older workers had less physical strength and suppleness, reduced hearing and less precise sight, they were able to carry on their earlier occupations just as efficiently after the age of 65 as before. They compensated for their defects by being more reliable, more punctual, and more conscientious. They worked to a better rhythm and had greater self-discipline. Although they were slower in production line jobs, their output was not much reduced and the quality of their work was higher than that of younger workers.
The effect of the decision by society to make nearly all people retire at a specific age, whether they want to or not and without considering if they are competent to continue working, has created a sub-class of society which is exploited, discriminated against, and partially dehumanized. The retired person rapidly learns to play the role of being old.