Social Security and the Perils of Aging. International Organizations and Demographic Fear-Mongering, 1975–1995

By Matthieu Leimgruber

This article analyses the constellations of interests, the circulation of experts and the constant toing and froing between national and international levels that led to the elaboration of several key reports on ageing by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank during the first half of the 1980s. The present cartography demonstrates how these multilateral organisations contributed to shape an alarmist conception of the ageing process and its impact on old-age provision systems, in order to justify controversial social security reforms. More generally, this case study also underscores the ways of action and mobilisationof these international organisations, in a period that witnessed a radical questioning of expanding social security programmes.

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