2020 Uehiro Lectures (2/3)

How to Pool Risks Across Generations: The Case for Collective Pensions

We are delighted to announce that Professor Michael Otsuka is to deliver the 2020 Annual Uehiro Lectures in Practical Ethics. 

Series title: How to pool risks across generations: the case for collective pensions

All three lectures will take place at 3.30 - 5.15pm online via Zoom webinar.

Lecture 2: The case for collective defined contribution (CDC)

Abstract: On any sensible approach to the valuation of a DB scheme, ineliminable risk will remain that returns on a portfolio weighted towards return-seeking equities and property will fall significantly short of fully funding the DB pension promise. On the actuarial approach, this risk is deemed sufficiently low that it is reasonable and prudent to take in the case of an open scheme that will be cashflow positive for many decades. But if they deem the risk so low, shouldn't scheme members who advocate such an approach be willing to put their money where their mouth is, by agreeing to bear at least some of this downside risk through a reduction in their pensions if returns are not good enough to achieve full funding? Some such conditionality would simply involve a return to the practices of DB pension schemes during their heyday three and more decades ago. The subsequent hardening of the pension promise has hastened the demise of DB. The target pensions of collective defined contribution (CDC) might provide a means of preserving the benefits of collective pensions, in a manner that is more cost effective for all than any form of defined benefit promise. In one form of CDC, the risks are collectively pooled across generations. In another form, they are collectively pooled only among the members of each age cohorts.

Registration: Public event - all welcome. To register on Zoom for the event please use the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_fnZhrI1wS-eROJnZNmTkCw 

Michael Otsuka is a Professor of Philosophy at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Libertarianism without Inequality (OUP 2003) plus a number of articles in journals such as Philosophy & Public Affairs and Ethics, mainly on topics in normative ethics and distributive justice. His current research interests encompass prioritarianism, egalitarianism, and the separateness of persons; collective goods and the benefits of cooperation; risk-pooling, pensions, and insurance; the fairness and value of risks and chances of benefits; property ownership and the nature of money; and left-libertarianism versus social democracy and socialism. The focus of his teaching is on philosophy and public policy as well as moral and political philosophy. He post blogs on Medium on issues related to public policy -- mainly on pensions but also on health insurance, the measure of inflation, and the funding of higher education. For the impact of his pensions blogs, Otsuka was ranked #23 of 50, alongside Vice Chancellors, Ministers of State, and top civil servants, on the ‘UK Higher Education Power List’ 2018 of those who had the most influence on this higher education sector that year. According to the assessors: “Pension schemes are complex beasts, with a large number of nested assumptions. So it takes a skilled philosopher to unpick the logic and follow the trails of meaning to their inherent contradictions. In Michael, USS actuaries found a formidable opponent, and it is no exaggeration to say his blog posts changed the course of the dispute.”

For details and booking information for Lecture 1 go to https://www.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/event/2020-uehiro-lectures-1/3-moral-philosophy-seminar
For details and booking information for Lecture 3 go to https://www.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/event/2020-uehiro-lectures-3/3