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With the discovery of oil and gas in the North Sea many optimists predicted that gas for home heating would cost next to nothing. Another piece of optimistic predictions about the future that was once made was that with the great technological advances we would soon enjoy a much shorter working week and we would all be retiring a lot sooner. A glance at your last gas bill shows the hollowness of the first prediction, but even wider of the mark was the second one. "More than 6 million (28%) of today's over-50s expect to work past the state retirement age, according to the working late index compiled by LV. They expect to work an extra six years, the retirement specialists said." (Sunday Times, 27 November) The realities of capitalism often leave the optimists looking foolish.


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