Earlier this week I visited the capital of Lithuania in order to speak about pension (social security) reform. The topic is hotly debated in the country, as the state pension scheme is running a major deficit and there are strong disagreements on what is the right way forward.
There were two events, one in the morning with pension policy experts and representatives of various organizations. The other event was at Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) with some politicians and members of the parliamentary committee on social security reform.
I am no expert on the Lithuanian pension system, but I suppose I was invited because I have written a small book on pension reform and published various articles on the topic. At these events I spoke generally about the different sources of old-age security, including savings, part-time work, the extended family, associations, charities, and the state.
I argued (as I have done more extensively elsewhere) that the optimal pension policy reinforces all of these options without monopolizing one solution to the detriment of the others. After my talk, there was a very interesting discussion on the nature of society and the proper role of the state. I hope I was able to offer some food for thought even though I could not help them solve the immediate crisis of the pension system.
The events were organized by the Lithuania Free Market Institute, which hosts a range of interesting public policy events. There are some photos on their webpage (the text is unfortunately in Lithuanian only):
(Terminological comment: following US usage, social security is often used to refer to public pension systems and policies. In Europe, social security strictly speaking refers to other welfare policies, not pensions; public pension schemes, or something similar, is a better expression. These differences of usage may cause some confusion.)