Today I came across this article: Baby boomers getting wealthier, young Australians saving more but still poorer: Grattan Institute report.
Reading through the comments (never read the comments, never read the comments, always read the comments), I am struck by how many baby-boomers are commenting angrily, defensively saying that hard work is what it took to make their fortunes/lives so quit your whinging and just get on with it. All it takes is hard work yeah? “The rewards come to those who work for them” yeah? Not entirely. If you do a little research in to neurology, you come to understand that each individual has a differing amount/set of neurotransmitters and hormones- and not everyone has “the right kind of stuff” to deal with the varying. factors in which they exist.
Like, one man could have the kind of brain chemistry that would enable him to work hard and well in, say, the logging industry. BUT, unfortunately he is born in to a low income family who lives next to the desert and he has a weird thing with his eye that fucks with his vision and he cant afford the corrective surgery, so it is much more difficult for him to make his way to a place to where a profession in which he would be prosperous exists than someone with similar brain chemistry born into a family of loggers.
Perhaps this first man, with the eye thing, makes a living some other way, but the only job he can do with his weird eye thing is something that does not suit his temperament, he becomes depressed, a useless member of society But Dammit if that guy isn’t good when he takes the jackets of guests at that restaurant…
Countless other examples could be made of the biological + environmental + historical factors that contribute to any individual’s success in a particular society. The world is full of them- we all are those examples. No one person’s story is the same, and for as many of those who worked hard and got a house and a family (how healthy is that family, by the way? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally?) and have money to retire before they’re 65, there are plenty who worked really hard but were met with obstacles that proved too difficult to plough through- jobs were lost or family members died or health problems happened or any other of the myriad chaotic things that happen when a butterfly flaps its wings/
|I think the real problem here is the tendency many people have to lump all human experience in to familiar and linear expectations. These people saying “HARD WORK WILL HELP YOU OVERCOME EVERYTHING” and not considering all the potential factors. Old dogs putting their old perceptions on to new situations. That old jacket, that one you used to wear in your youth? Well, not only is it tattered and ugly, but you’re bursting the seams by trying to wear it now as an old man, the buttons are flying off straight in to the eyes of your children and they’re getting that weird eye thing again…
I mean, these days we have the global economy to consider, you know, the one which runs on the, concept of never ending growth even though never ending growth is impossible, especially since the people with all the money are dicking about trying to figure out how much personal profit they can accrue- or at least plant the seeds for- before the masses realise they are actually being rorted and that Australia isn’t what they think it is, that they- as the majority of Australian citizens- are not what they think they are.
Anyway, how is it that people can be so stubborn that they cannot look at another’s circumstance without making a negative assumption based on the differences they see?
I’m guilty of that actually. I see a person’s mansion in a rich part of town and I think to myself “why in the actual fuck do they need such a big house?”- in an angry way- but then, you know, maybe that person has a big family they need to house, or live in staff? Is that still a thing? Or maybe they need a lot of room for their work, or all of their hobbies, or appropriate storage and/or display for
all the things they own
But regardless of whether they’ve worked hard to overcome adversity or they were born with a silver spoon hanging out of their lucky little mouths, those Big Houses still speak of waste when you think of all the people who can’t afford any sort of accommodation. You worked from nothing to get to where you are? Do you now have more than you need? Do you spread it around to more than your immediate family or good friends? If not, why not? Did you teach your children to share? What was your reason for teaching this to your children? So, why do you get shitty at the mention of an increase in taxes? NO IT’S NOT A DIFFERENT THING, it’s the same. It’s sharing.
But all of that aside, the point is that each individual has had a different experience, though many of the same community experience similar things. The facts are this: statistically, young people these days, on average, are having a harder financial time than their parents did at the same age. Statistically. And there are various factors that make this a documented thing. Getting in to heated generational battles involving name-calling is going to do nothing to collectively contribute to a better future for our species. But if you don’t want that then… I don’t know why you would be reading this column. Why do you do anything at all? If everything sucks so bad that you want human beings to bring about their own destruction then why do you let yourself keep breathing? Cynicism is nasty dude, plz try to give it up.
Back to the point—- given that young people generally have a better understanding of what goes on in the rest of the world compared to the youth of 30 years ago, is it so hard to see that they may see some harsh, historical wrongs going on, and— in that same spirit in which the boomers rallied for their political passions— go on to rally themselves? You’re so quick to to remind us of what you fight for, yet you’re so quick to dismiss our own attempts at the same.
I get so tired of seeing this attitude of “well if you don’t like this world/society/country, why don’t we just take away everything we gave you (women’s vote, infrastructure, the dole (even, gulp ::::electricity:::: if you’re making a point about the mistreatment of aboriginal people)) and THEN see how you fare?!” I seriously find it sickening to come across such a destructively narrow point of view. What? You can’t take it away; especially not just for one group of people because that would violate human rights (which is actually happening in Australia please acquaint yourself. Those who truly believed in and helped to create those things would never dream of threatening to take it away. That attitude is one of an emotionally reactive, manipulative parent attempting to reprimand a child who is asking uncomfortable questions. “You be quiet right now or I’ll turn this car around.” We may still be young, but we are not Theirs to mould any more.
I see unequal distribution of wealth, They see people who deserve luxury and those who don’t. I see a generation coming to terms with huge amounts of information received thanks to a communication technology that has never been interacted with on a such a mass scale before so they are essentially forced in to exploring this new world and have to be allowed to report back their findings via art and science and experimentations…but They see dole bludgers with drug/skating/surfing/screen addictions and no work ethic, youth with their hands out expecting something from anywhere but their own gumption…
Buddy, those hands look empty because you can’t see what’s in them. Our sub-atomic particles are vibrating through all kinds of environments and experiences and people and histories and ideas that you can’t comprehend, and so you cannot see what we hold. The hands are held out not to beg, but to show you this new thing: the new world, the new citizen: globally thinking, ecologically aware, hard working to benefit an inclusively and generationally beneficial future and we want to share it, because it’s beautiful. It sucks that you can’t see it through all the gears of this machine you put here before we came. It hasn’t taken long to identify the risks involved with keeping those rapidly rusting cogs around. Cleaning at this late stage seems almost scientifically impossible and management is only giving us equally as rusty parts to change over every few years…
…what to do?
Me? For now I’ll go back to figuring out how best to stretch my crooked spine as often as possible without interrupting my workflow. Fingers crossed I can get another x-ray asap.