Montigny argues that government played a central role in determining how society viewed the elderly and family obligations to them. Using census data, municipal records, and institutional case files, he demonstrates that the government created and promoted an image of the aged population that bore little resemblance to reality and manipulated the concept of family obligations to justify policies to reduce social welfare costs. The effect of these policies, passed in the name of helping the elderly and their families, was almost universally negative.
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