I think the notion of generational wars is a perpetual myth (or perhaps a perpetual truth). Every generation has certain influences which drive their attitudes (political & social) and thus the policies enacted by their leaders. It’s very easy to point cross-generational fingers of blame, but very hard to sit in the other-generational seat and play judge.
Have the Baby Boomers ruined the US economy (and the world) for the Millenials? That’s what Bruce Gibney asserts in his book A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America. Gibney lays blame on the Boomers that have controlled Congress for decades for the huge increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio, the under-investment in infrastructure, and inaction on climate change. He claims that it all stems from their lack of investment in the future.
UK academic Dr Beverley Searle agrees somewhat, stating that the blame sits with politicians’ funding decisions which makes the welfare state unsustainable, but deflects the notion of blaming Boomers for the benefits they enjoyed.
Further, I think Gibney is using the Boomers and Millennials labels as proxies for conservatives and progressives. The policy approaches of Boomers that he condemns are conservative policies, and he is a progressive. He might be better off calling a spade a spade rather than masking a political argument as an intergenerational one.
The Pew Research Center’s March report “The Generation Gap in American Politics” makes for interesting reading. While it shows younger people being more progressive, it doesn’t explore whether there are generational drivers and what they might be.
Consider This: In your family, are the older generations more politically conservative than the younger ones? To what extent are their differences driven by generational influences rather than politics?
Original articles: https://www.vox.com/2017/12/20/16772670/baby-boomers-millennials-congress-debt, Gibney’s book https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/bruce-cannon-gibney/a-generation-of-sociopaths/9780316395809/, https://www.scotsman.com/news/attacks-on-greedy-baby-boomers-are-unjustified-says-academic-1-4686858, Pew Report http://www.people-press.org/2018/03/01/the-generation-gap-in-american-politics/[re-posted with permission]
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