Over 3 million US citizens are currently planning to retire overseas for better weather and less expensive health care. Some 550,000 retired Britons are already living abroad. As a byproduct of the recent crisis in temperate latitudes, affordable retirement in the US and Europe is becoming financially uncertain for many. Pensioners are venturing into resettling in anglophone, francophone, lusophone, and hispanophone former colonies seeking a better quality of life. Nations that in the past provided fertile land to harvest ‘exotic’ produce for the metropoles, are today hosting a frenetic wave of sun-seeking migrants: the Old World in the former New World.
According to the Annual Global Retirement Index, Belize, Panama and Ecuador are competing to build fully-catered retirement towns to meet the demands of a growing market. Nonetheless, these real estate operations to house pensioners from overseas rely on farmland acquisition elsewhere. In Brazil, US investment giant TIAA-CREF started a global fund in 2012 to buy farmland in the Amazon, drawing investment from Swedish and Canadian pension funds. Retirement – and speculation on the future – is more and more part of a global capital machine. The trade of life insurance by some entities not only constructs space anew, but it is also actively shaping afforestation and deforestation, land ownership and dispossession in parts of the world offering an endless summer. Increasingly, however, consumers have been demanding more ethical investment when it comes to their third age dreams, nourishing different markets and landscapes.
A planter’s chair is a piece of colonial furniture epitomising the connection between comfortable living and secure revenue. Developed for Dutch and English colonists in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific, the planter’s chair offered comfort to the white man supervising a plantation, furnishing the shaded, outdoor verandah and helping the user put his feet up. The planter’s chair was known as the ‘lazy chair’: it helped the planter wait for the land to yield vast profits while resting comfortably. Today, in a world of post-plantation economies, the extraction of value from land has shifted from foodstuffs to financial products. An Old World In A Former New World reacts to the holdings of pension funds and their level of transparency. The analysis of those funds exposes the body to changing positions of comfort or discomfort through a new chair typology that ranges from Zero Gravity to the forced expulsion of the body.