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The Empire of DisgustPrejudice, Discrimination, and Policy in India and the US$
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Zoya Hasan, Aziz Z. Huq, Martha C. Nussbaum, and Vidhu Verma

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199487837

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199487837.001.0001

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Regulating Retirement and Wrinkles in an Age of Prejudice

Regulating Retirement and Wrinkles in an Age of Prejudice

(p.127) 7 Regulating Retirement and Wrinkles in an Age of Prejudice
The Empire of Disgust

Saul Levmore

Oxford University Press

This paper reveals a tension, or interesting comparison, between age discrimination law as it affects retirement ages and the pattern of anti-aging cosmetic surgery. Age discrimination law in several countries, including the United States, bans employment contracts that specify a retirement age. Although this is normally described as an improvement in the status of ageing person, I argue that it has disadvantageous though unintended consequences. This is especially so because pension plans that encouraged early retirement have become costly and almost obsolete. Nevertheless, for a variety of public choice (political economy) reasons, legal reform is unlikely. Meanwhile, various cosmetic surgeries have soared in popularity, and some of these disadvantage and likely stigmatize older people who cannot afford to keep up with their peers who strive to look younger. After theorizing about trends in anti-ageing procedures, the discussion suggests that the law’s intervention in the case of retirement policy, and non-intervention in the case of cosmetic surgery, may both be ill-advised on grounds of stigma, autonomy, and social welfare.

Keywords:   age, age discrimination, law, retirement, aging, cosmetic surgery, stigma, autonomy, social welfare

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