Have the Youth Ever Had It So Bad? (UK Edition)

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 3/20/2013 01:53:00 PM
In 1957, then-British Prime Minister made the statement that his compatriots "never had it so good" amid the prosperity and plenty of the postwar years. A half century later, everything seems to have come undone that a recent BBC feature asks of the young people if they ever had it so bad in the future looking utterly bleak. It is no new to today's youth in rich countries that they are screwed. Dismal job prospects, the skyrocketing cost of higher education, falling wages and bearing the burden of maintaining welfare systems that previous generations will surely exhaust before current generations can benefit all add to the general gloominess. No sane persons aside from self-serving politicians will admit it, but today's generation of young adults are likely to have a lower standard living than their parents. Sorry, but that's the way it is.

I needn't expound on the elaborate and quite frankly laughable hoax called the "American dream" which only the most delusional cling to. Note, however, that a similar situation can be observed in any number of other of Anglo-Saxon nations. A young adult in the United Kingdom, for instance, is about as screwed as his or her American counterpart:
A student who started university in 2011 will graduate with average debts of £26,000 and bleak career prospects. And even the lucky ones who get good jobs face a lifetime of renting, unless the "Bank of Mum and Dad" is willing and liquid enough to help out.

Baby boomers born in the 1940s to mid 60s bought their first home when prices were low and watched property prices shoot up as house-building slowed while the population rose. There was relatively low unemployment up to the 1980s and again in the 1990s and 2000s. Wages rose. Low inflation and globalisation kept prices down. They got generous pensions.

There was poverty too, but those middle and top earners flourished. They are the lucky generation. So goes the theory. It's not just young agitators saying this. In 2010, Conservative frontbencher David Willetts, born in the late 1950s, tackled the subject in his book The Pinch. It is subtitled "How the baby boomers took their children's future - and why they should give it back."
The only question for me is why the youth in these countries do not express more discontent about being screwed over so badly by greedy seniors. Contrary to what some say, those greedy seniors are giving succeeding generations a massive handicap which they will probably never surmount in attempting to fashion a standard of living similar to that of previous generations. Sorry, but that's just the way it is.