Some Asian countries will build theirs in a decade.
Asias governments are acutely conscious of all this.
America has kept its safety net less generous, but has made mistakes in creating its entitlements systemincluding making unaffordable pension and health-care promises, and tying peoples health insurance to their employment.
Different countries will, and should, experiment with different welfare models.Second, Asian governments need to target their social spending more carefully.Crudely put, social provision should be about protecting the poor more than subsidising the rich.Social protection often aggravated inequalities, because pensions and health care flowed to affluent urban workers but not the really poor.Cuddly het slot verzamelingen tigers, not flabby cats.That was partly because, after wars and the Depression, European societies made redistribution their priority, but also because the recipients of welfare spending became powerful interest groups.If you take Germanys introduction of pensions in the 1880s as the beginning and Britains launch of its National Health Service in 1948 as the apogee, the creation of Europes welfare states took more than half a century.The regions giants can seek inspiration not from Greece but from tiny Singapore, where government spending is only a fifth of GDP but schools and hospitals are among the best in the world.But over time they turned into cushions.In China, for example, women retire at 55; in Thailand many employees are obliged to stop casino du lac d'enghien work at 60 and can withdraw their pension funds.The three giantsChina, India and Indonesiaare application scanner billet loterie vast places with huge regional income disparities within their borders.That is patently unsustainable.Last October Indonesias government promised to provide all its citizens with health insurance by 2014.Achieving that political maturity will require the biggest leap of all.From making electronic health records ubiquitous to organising transfer payments through mobile phones, Asian countries can create new and efficient delivery systems with modern technology.Dont stifle labour markets with rigid severance rules or over-generous minimum wages.
Building a welfare state in any one of them is a bit like creating a single welfare state across the European Union.
Indonesia, for instance, last year spent nine times as much on fuel subsidies as it did on health care, and the lions share of those subsidies flows to the countrys most affluent.
The first is to pay even more attention to the affordability over time of any promises.That leaves a fair amount of room for expansion.Now virtually everyone does.Get our daily newsletter, upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor's Picks.A few years ago about 80 of people in rural China had no health insurance.Lastly, many Asian workers (in India it is about 90) are in the informal economy, making it harder to verify their incomes or reach them with transfers.Across Asia, retirement ages need to rise, and should be indexed to life expectancy.The continents citizens will have to show a willingness to plan ahead, work longer and eschew handouts based on piling up debt for future generations: virtues that have so far eluded their rich-world counterparts.
In America, by contrast, the baby-boom generation meant that the Social Security system had five contributors per beneficiary in 1960, a quarter of a century after its introduction.
In fast-ageing societies, especially, handouts to the old must not squeeze out investment in the young.