August 26, 2006

Has Dear Economist gone raving mad?

Dear Economist, August 26, when asked by Mr. Holden, a father preparing his will, whether he should favor more the daughter that being single is therefore more likely to provide him assistance in his old age, responds with a proposal of paying for the care services by the hour. Has Dear Economist gone raving mad?

Mr. Holden is a member of that union free cooperative called family and so when at last it is getting to be his turn to have someone else carrying the load for him, and he should most be in need of maintaining the institutional principle that a father loves each daughter more than anyone, equally, here comes Dear Economist and wants to upset the whole relation. Come on, they never paid Mr. Holden by the hour!

Dear Economist has to be one of those disoriented persons willing to release society from its responsibility of caring for him just in order to have the illusion of getting that extra percentage of earnings on his private pension plan, and which he knows will anyhow disappear into foggy fees. Perhaps he wishes also to suggest some fast competitive tender procedure on the open market for the hourly fee when needing to urgently contract the services of a policeman.

No, Dear Economist should know that in view of the many current financial and economic uncertainties, now it is more important than ever not to tangle with the family institution, treating therefore every daughter in exact equal financial terms, yet giving each one of them that special love that makes them feel different.

When reading Dear Economist’s answer to Mr Holden it reminded me again of how rarely we see in sophisticated studies on social security and pension plan issues elaborated by multilaterals, such as the World Bank, any mention of the importance of family, much less of the importance of having many daughters.


Per Kurowski, a father of three loving daughters and who is aware that they, as individuals and as a portfolio, constitute the only real pension plan that he can afford but that he also wishes for.

PS. That he might end up paying for his daughters services by taking care of grandchildren well although that is a different issue it will neither be dealt with hourly fees.