My oldest friend, Steven, who is 55, and whom I have known since primary school 50 years ago, has opted for early retirement. He “took to LinkedIn,” as journalists like to say, to announce—paradoxically, in that media channel for the earnestly career-minded—that he is embracing “economic inactivity.” I have to say he did not sound too distressed when revealing this news.
My friend is hardly an isolated example. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that between the end of 2019 and the end of 2021, 522,000 people became “economically inactive”—that is, left the labour force but without becoming officially…
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