Misguided Millennial Analysis

by Ryan on July 17, 2012

in Culture,Economy,History,Media Bias,Nostalgia,Politics

The Daily Beast has posted an article appearing in Newsweek that calls the Millennial generation “Generation Screwed,” going on for three pages about how the Millennial’s future prospects are pretty terrible:  sparse jobs, lots of college debt, little home ownership, delayed marriage, few children, tendency towards redistributionism, etc.  While I can’t argue with the realities facing this group today, this article makes a common mistake many social writers fall into — that tomorrow will merely be an extrapolation of today.

Take a look at the twenty-something generation of the 1930s — their parents had done very well in the 1910s and 1920s, the divorce and fecundity rates in America were rising and dropping respectively in unprecedented ways, the economy was in the midst of the deepest murk in our history, 1 of 5 workers couldn’t find a steady job, part-time bosses often preferred older men with families over the youth, and unheard of government efforts to help weren’t jump-starting the economy.  In other words, that generation sounded pretty screwed too.

Were they?

While they did face a tremendously difficult formative period, that generation ended up fighting and winning World War II, having the Baby Boom, building the highways, going into space and even to the moon, producing seven presidents, and propelling America through the greatest period of prosperity in the history of the world.

It’s not the 1930s and today’s youth face different problems than their great grandparents did.  But, our nation and society will have to adjust to today’s demographic realities and get serious about living within our means as a people and in our government, just like in the old days.

Yet, I think the Millennials will figure it out because they will have to — there won’t be a choice.  In our time of hyper-partisan politics, all of the choices we have only add to the current divide.  Unfortunately, a day will come when we won’t have so many choices, when the bullsh*t ends, and we suddenly have to truly get serious.  Because of their age and place in society, it is then when the Millennials will have their chance to make things work.  Optimistically, I believe that the “screwed” in such a scenario will be the ones who get in their way.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

mom2.0 July 20, 2012 at 6:07 am

People learn to be successful in their environments. Just because we see the upcoming generation as “screwed” doesn’t mean they will see themselves that way. The bright kids will make informed decisions about their futures given the conditions they currently face. As one recent graduate wrote in a thank you letter, “Although I have a love for fashion, I have found it’s a field where there are not many jobs and they are low paying, so I have chosen the field of chemical engineering. There are so many job with chemical engineering I can even work with makeup. If I can’t work with clothing, I figure the next best thing is make up!” She is bright, realistic about job possibilities, and she is the future!

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