This article suggests that much recent work that relates age to working life is mis-cast in looking at specific age groups in isolation. Rather than addressing the problem of younger or older workers, this article suggests that we need to develop a framework which can more centrally accommodate the inter-generational structures of the social reproduction of the collective worker. Focusing upon current Government concerns to develop an active old age, the article argues that such a strategy is likely to be misconceived unless it can address the changing nature of work within the ‘new capitalism’. It is argued that older structures involving the reproduction of a moral order of intergenerational relationships, which could accommodate age as a legitimate difference, are being threatened by strategies which attempt to maximize the efficiency of individual human resources without regard for such difference. In this context the attempt to take age out of the work-place while simultaneously attempting to put older workers back in is likely to be problematic.
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