The Gerontologist, Vol 31, Issue 5 673-678, Copyright © 1991 by The Gerontological Society of America
Old age and historical examples of the miser
University of Colorado-Boulder, Bureau of Sociological Research, Broomfield 80020.
Older people have historically been characterized as avaricious and
miserly. A review of Western art and literature reveals many examples of
this stereotypical view of aging. Historical reasons for characterizing
older people as misers, such as their need to control wealth,
intergenerational conflict, and lack of social support programs, are
described. Industrialization, Social Security, and other factors have led
to a decline in the use of these stereotyped images in modern times.