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In America, a country trying to tackle the problem of the ageing of the population, Bush’s proposal to partially ‘privatise’ social security is viewed as being particularly unpleasant for the electorate. The basis for the slogan ‘insurance rights into proprietary rights’ would appear to be more ideological than economic. According to opponents of the Bush recipe, a ‘small’ increase in contributions, a ‘modest’ cut in services and an acceptable increase in the normal pension age are adjustments that could achieve the goal. According to the author, this is a reasonable and workable solution. Even partial privatisation could be easily defended: its merit would be that it would diversify pension wealth; whereas, if, in the (long) transition period, a part of the contributions that were shared out in the old system were to be allocated for capitalization, its defect would be that this lower yield would demand some form of compensation (a levy or indebtedness). Proponents of an analogous proposal for Italy (an ‘opting out’ from the partial public system open to young people only), where the situation is much more urgent, have highlighted these two sides of the coin.