(5k) Generational conflict


I think the article is correct about a growing division between younger versus older generations, partly because the quick changes in our society take many by surprise so many can still not understand what's happening and feel left behind. Further, societies become more unequal and this angers people. And thus, I fear this generational conflict may be hard to resolve and may further intensify.

Indeed, previous generations fought hard for social improvements for ordinary people in a time when people were sometimes still almost property of employers and few could afford to buy their own house while pensions but also other social benefits such as access to healthcare were almost nonexistence.
Then a time arrived when it was normal to have access to social benefits such as accessible good healthcare while people earned sufficient to be able to live a good life that included luxurious items such as traveling.
And now, the younger generation demands changes to e.g. the pension system to keep it affordable, ignoring the fact they most likely will have much less harsh jobs and thus they will be able to work longer than previous generations; the result is that many of the current generation are angry that at a time they are (almost) retiring and thus want to profit from a system their parents fought for although they contributed most, this system is now under threat. Indeed, people of the older generation who say they want to work longer have good jobs, often as manager or in the cultural sector that bring them in contact with other interesting people while this is different from being an employee and certainly a labourer. Those in the older generation should at least allow the discussion of the future pension reforms or it will be enforced on everyone.

But, although indeed many elderly are poor due to low pension, certainly those who lived in times that only the man earned as a labourer and pension funds didn't exist yet, the generation that now starts to retire lived in the golden age. Indeed, work conditions started to improve as many jobs automated while also women started to work so 2-earners were able to buy in a time when house price were still low while these prices increased over time to almost unaffordable for many younger people who start leaving school. Further, the now retiring people have better pensions and return of pension funds while they are able to sell their expensive houses, often inherit from parents who still died at a relatively younger age, to buy a flat while travel the world as "they deserve it after a long career of hard work"; indeed, many started work in a less automated time and thus had harder jobs than most of the generation who start to work now while they contributed most to the pension system.

Without words

An example is the UK where the Tories (Conservatives) campaigned for less social aid for the younger generation (and prepared nationalism (unknowingly?) such as "... national security for a Britain that defends itself ..." as Mr Osborne said in his speech so many people voted for Brexit although Ukip got the blame) and many of the older generations voted them in power so many of the younger generation indeed feel betrayed that plenty of social achievements are reversed with the argument that the younger generation should work first for their money before they can benefit in order to balance the budgets. For instance, going to university is now much more expensive than before so many younger people, certainly from poorer background, end up with debts before their professional career even start, if they still consider going. And from just over £20,000 they need to restart paying their student debts so sometimes they may have more if they earn just below that threshold.
And thus some of the younger generation are angry that more migrants enter the West as they will accept work at lower wages and thus, in order to compete for work, the younger generation born in the country and without experience also need to accept work at lower wages in order to earn a living and some have 2 or 3 low-paid jobs, fine for young people if only for a short time. Further, many smaller but even larger companies have difficulties paying wages and need to reduce them in order to survive. And lower wages affects the whole economy downwards. However, as many younger people studied in mixed classes, they have less problems with people from other backgrounds, in contrast they understand better that people with a migrant background are also victims of certain people who have no regard for anyone except themselves while general wages need to go down and thus they are angry with the growing inequality.
In contrast, many of the older generation, certainly those who still know the build-up of the social system, see their (grand)children suffer and thus they blame migrants while they remember how the older industries provided work and people could make a career. But the older industries are often more polluting and thus are main contributors to the climate change and thus many of the younger generation are angry that elderly vote for politicians who promise that old solutions are the future although they may kill them indirectly while refuse to understand that the new economies such as clean cars and renewables will provide work, on condition these jobs are here and not elsewhere as well as a healthier environment.

And thus many of the older generation who are pensioners are angry that many of the younger generation are not grateful that many of the older generation voted Brexit and against migration so jobs are for their (grand)children while they also demand lower fuel prices so younger people can still buy a car and drive, certainly a status symbol in the past when few people could afford cars and petrol.
The current generation that is retiring wants to benefit from life, claiming they worked hard to make a career and thus deserve their retirement. Still, they know some migrants as colleagues and thus they are less anti-migrant, certainly less in favour of Brexit. But they too may become angry when the younger generation tells them migrants are also victims of an increasingly unequal society whereby the youngsters tell their parents they are partly to blame because they spend (as they want to enjoy life) while they no longer want to support their own children as adults because they should work instead of depending on others. And thus parents and children fall out.
In addition, these youngsters understand they will be old before they may inherit from their parents, if any at all because their parents want to enjoy life and thus travel and go to restaurants whereby they may end up in a nursing home at a higher age when children need to pay the contribution as the parents spend their savings because many didn't expect to live to such a high age and are allowed to use the money they saved although they still expect children should help them when necessary to repay the parents for what they did for their children. Indeed, I think people are healthy until a higher age and thus may use their savings instead of leaving it for their children; this is also better for the economy.
And thus the younger generation still needs to start to earn whereby many need to repay education debts, buy ever more expensive houses and also want to travel while their starting salaries come under pressure to go down, certainly after the financial crisis. And then this generation notice that many of the older generation seems to destroy their future by voting Brexit (or Trump in the US). The younger generation blames the older generations they didn't do enough to prevent climate change while the older generation reused almost everything so they could save something and thus polluted much less. Yes, many youngsters are angry with both parents and grandparents and the older generations become angry as the younger generation is not grateful for all they received.

Add to this religions where many elderly people feel sad when their (grand)children no longer go to church and even feel hurt when younger people ridicule their religion as the latter don't understand it was important to maintain a believe that a better future for themselves and their children may one day arrive. And in case young people return to their religion, some return with deadly anger towards society. Indeed, why do young people kill before ending their life for it seems no reason?

Who laughs? The very rich who become even richer. Most make sure their children don't need a loan to go to university and afterwards can have well-paid jobs, often for no other reason than they are the son/daughter of... so after their study they don't need to repay loans or can do easily in case their parents didn't support their studies with the argument their children should understand what it is to be normal, even when this is not because they start with an advantage. In the end, it's more likely they have good jobs and start with little if any debts and thus they can start to invest in their future immediately after, often even during their studies. Unless of course, parents and (grand)children start to fight each other in courts, certainly when the parents have their own successful company and the children notice the wealth of their parents increase and thus want a larger share of the wealth and/or decision-taking, even when the parents already give plenty.

And thus, actions to do good can have the opposite effect and can result in more angry when considered to be wrong actions by people who had sufficient as children but struggle as adults as they don't feel understood by the older generations while the latters become angry as their efforts to do good are criticised. The result: a generational conflict between young and older adults that only further intensifies as can be read in commentary below articles and on social media.

Finally, as often, first those from lesser backgrounds are hit as they may no longer be able to eat three meals or go to university but their anger is mostly not visible as they know society will blame them for their own conditions, further angering them until it hits those higher up. Because if the middle-class but certainly the top loose out then troubles can be expected. A circle as the latter will first blame the lowest and takes away even more, forgetting they to contribute to the economy when they spend. Probably only when the very rich (and certainly those who are only employees such as bankers) accept lower wages so more people can work in less stressful and time-driven conditions may inequality decrease to save levels. But only trying to discuss this doesn't bring you much further than in an argument. And thus the circle continues. 

But, throughout this article I use the word "many" as indeed there are still sufficient numbers of young adults who find a well-paid job while many angry people are not necessary angry towards their own parents and grandparents but blame other parents and grandparents for not understanding; further, sometimes "older generations" suggest both current and older generation versus the younger generation.

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