From October 2002 till October 2009, I lived and worked in London where I started this blog so my family and friends in Belgium were able to know what I was doing in London (although they didn't follow the blog).
In October 2009, I returned to Belgium (forced by circumstances) and now I live in Brussels, capital of Europe. I finally start to get used to my life back in Belgium, the country where I was born but I never really loved.
(5k) Generational conflict
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
PM May's plan to allow immigration based on skills and wealth was to be expected. After the two golden decades that started under PM Major and continued under PM Blair, the decline continues. Under these two PMs, people from poorer areas were stimulated to follow higher education and to achieve this major investments were done in education in general, including new schools.
Also major investments at universities resulted in collaborations with overseas universities, many foreigners (including from poorer countries) moving to the UK and top research.
Also free healthcare via the NHS whereby major investments resulted in good equipped (new) hospitals, good healthcare professionals and reduced waiting times.
Also a house for everyone was promoted and thus people could buy a property, improve it and sell it naturally more expensive to buy a larger house and repeat the above. This resulted in more expensive and now difficult to buy properties, certainly when houses and flats were sold…
Former USA President Barack Obama hit the hammer on the nail when he spoke at a Democrats fundraiser event. Democrats should stop mourning the loss of the presidential elections 2016 and start to say what they may do when in power. Analyse why then Mr and now President Donald Trump won the elections and find solutions that are better and include almost everyone in society. Otherwise, those "who are" today will be those "who were" tomorrow as the recent N.Y. democratic elections demonstrated when the main candidate lost from an inexperienced "socialist" Democrat. Still, whatever solution, some people will have none of them except the most extreme.
Therefore, politicians should stop to listen to and talk with almost exclusively only (multi)millionaires and billionaires to hear their solutions, i.e. more tax reductions for the rich to stimulate the economy and more penalties for those who don't work, including seriously ill people. Those wealthy have eve…
As usual in May, Belgium Pride took place in Brussels. Indeed, as you notice, in Brussels Pride is early, but again, just like last year we were lucky with the weather: sunny although a little cold (but then, what do you expect in Belgium in early May?). Pride was quite fun. I met up with Kurt and Jethro and we had a nice day. I wore something different from what I normally wear: a pink shirt with green bow tie. It suited me although I say it myself but otherwise I would have worn it.
Of course, there were many people, and some of them were interesting: either in drag, with strange clothes or bare chest. Unfortunately, most were in ordinary clothes: t-shirt and jeans, not worth taking pictures off. I show a small selection of the people. Excuse me the strange way of placing the photo's but I mostly can't place them in the position I would prefer them to be. I was lucky to be able to dance with a few of these people. I also spoke with two guys having fun, one from Israel, the o…