Monday, June 18, 2012

The Millennials

Since I am around a large number of Millenials, I  figured I would go to the trouble of providing a real analysis of them, considering how deficient the existing analyses are.
If I had to pick an adjective, I would say this generation is rudderless.  It most manifests the current cultural tendency of treating cynicism as critical evaluation.  This shows itself with this generation not having any attachment to institutions with a few minor exceptions.  When this generation does become attached to an institution, it tends toward infatuation.  Examples of these would include institutions of higher education, business, politics, and the military.  A person of this generation will tend to be anti-business or have totally fealty to a business.  He or she will often manage to do both.  While the generation is accused of not having loyalty, this is a bit of a misnomer.  They tend to be intensely loyal and become easily jaded.  Modern business finds the former quite attractive.

Their expectations of social support are low.  Perhaps this is due to having come of age in a period where they were constantly told of the impending end of social security or the broader safety net.  They tend to expect next to nothing from their employers other than a paycheck.  Even there, they don't tend to tie the remuneration with their financial needs.  In other words, they have bought the market narrative.  Likewise with relationships, they do not tend to perceive a legitimate expectation of support from their partners.  This can be seen in such things as reticence to wed.  Marriage is seen as a purely voluntary institution that doesn't provide real benefits or it is so thoroughly idealized that only a monk could seek it.

If I were to criticize this generation it is that it is very poor at undertanding and being able to articulate its needs and interests.  Occupy Wall Street was a convenient whipping boy, but it nevertheless was the case that the movement was basically unable to articulate a common grievance, let alone advance that to a common interest.  This is particularly stark when contrasted with the Baby Boomer's ability to articulate their common interests and successfully assert them.  If it is to advance, it is going to have to concentrate more insuring the comfort of its own than insuring the comfort of the comfortable.

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