Why are Young People Unhappy?
by Benjamin Studebaker
I’ve noticed an interesting article floating around the internet. The piece, entitled “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy” sees rampant narcissism and self-entitlement as the source of young people’s unhappiness. Does it have a case? Let’s take a look.
The piece opens with what it calls the “formula for happiness”. Happiness, it argues, is the quality of one’s reality minus the expectations one had for the quality of one’s reality. The piece argues that in the 50’s and 60’s children were raised to expect that, if they worked hard, they could achieve the American dream–steady employment, a secure income, a family, and so on. The baby boomers managed not only to achieve what their parents intended for them, but to achieve a considerably higher standard of living than that. As a result, their reality outperformed their expectations, and they were satisfied. By contrast, when these children themselves became parents and began raising their children in the 80’s and 90’s, they raised their children to believe they could do even better than they themselves did. The piece argues that, as a result, Generation Y has massively inflated expectations that its reality can never meet, and has therefore been led into unhappiness by its parents.
This amounts to a cultural explanation of youth unhappiness. Cultural explanations are seductive–they rely on broad, general claims that can often sound very convincing. They’re also very hard to prove, and consequently, to disprove. We can all think of anecdotal cases that seem to fit the bill of this argument. It certainly sounds plausible.
On closer expectation, however, it’s deeply flawed. The piece fails to ask one seemingly very obvious question–why is it that parents in the 80’s and 90’s thought their children could do so well? These parents saw tremendous improvement in their living standards between when they were born in the 50’s and 60’s and when they began having children in the 80’s and 90’s. These parents rationally projected out into the future continued improvements in living standards and opportunity along the lines of what they themselves experienced. From the perspective of someone born in the 50’s and 60’s, it was entirely rational to expect the 10’s and the 20’s to be as much better than the 80’s and 90’s as the 80’s and 90’s were better than the 50’s and 60’s. Parents expected at the very least linear improvement in living standards.
That did not happen. The economic growth we experienced in the 50’s and 60’s did not continue in the 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s:
The rate at which living standards improve is not exponential, it’s not even linear–it’s declining. In addition, what progress we do make is not translating into higher wages as it was for people in the 50’s and 60’s:
Adjusted for inflation, wages doubled between 1945 and 1970. Since then, they have remained flat. Furthermore, the old adage that if you work hard you can improve your economic station is increasingly no longer true–economic mobility has fallen precipitously since the 50’s and 60’s. The gap between the rich and poor in the academic resources they make available to their children has expanded vastly over the last 40 years:
The problem is not that young people were raised with unrealistic expectations, it’s that expectations that were at one point in time considered realistic no longer are. Now, young people are faced with a youth unemployment rate unmatched since the early eighties recession:
What happened here? Somewhere along the way, the opportunities and growth that young people’s parents rationally expected vanished. The youth are left in the lurch. They have aspirations to fit the economy that should be, but not the economy that is. Older generations not only failed to do their part to enhance the rate at which prosperity grows, they failed to maintain the rate of growth for future generations.
And, lest young people get any ideas about trying to invest their way into a better future, the older generations have locked down the majority of the state’s tax revenue in social security and medicare, programs that allow them to unproductively leech off the economy for increasingly vast periods of time. There’s no money available to give young people free college educations (let alone college educations at rates similar to those enjoyed by their parents) because the “greatest generation” is sitting in nursing homes and retirement communities consuming exponentially vast amounts of medical care in order to prolong increasingly poor quality lives by a few extra increasingly miserable years. And so Generation Y is burdened with supporting the very individuals who failed to invest in its own future, so much so that it cannot even invest in itself without taking on crippling student loan debt.
And, should young people attempt to change any of this, they will always be defeated numerically at the polls, as the portion of the population that is already done with college and into their careers will always vastly exceed them in number, and it is always in the interest of these old people to use the laws to further ensnare young people in a system that increasingly undermines their own ability to succeed. As we see healthcare costs rising and the baby boomers entering retirement, our unwillingness to put the kids first is very swiftly coming to bite our aging population in the rear. The wages Generation Y fails to earn will one day be the tax revenue it is never able to pay, and, consequently, the entitlement benefits the elderly never receive.
Who is narcissistic and entitled, the generation that expected to enter a world improving at the steady rate history indicated, or the generation that believes it is entitled to consume the majority of the state’s tax revenue without doing any work of any kind? A country that prioritizes the interests of the dead and dying over those of its young people feeds its strength to its own parasites, and hastens its own demise.
So why are young people unhappy? Young people are unhappy because the growth their parents promised them never materialized. That growth never materialized because their parents and grandparents made bad investments in the economy, squandering this nation’s wealth on inefficient, high-cost medical care for the unproductive nearly dead and on foolish investments into bubbles that have since popped. Yet these very people who inherited a system of such promise and such potential and wasted and destroyed all of that, these people have the nerve to write op-eds in which they accuse their children and their children’s children of narcissism and entitlement? Is the irony not lost on them? Have they no shame, or are they merely ignorant of the role they have played?
This post has done quite well, as my posts go. I would like to offer a point of clarification–some individuals commenting seem to have gotten the impression that I want to start dumping the elderly into mass graves, and are consequently dismissing my argument on the grounds that it’s dystopian. This is a misreading. I advocate drastically reducing the amount we spend on health care for the elderly and redistributing that money to alleviate college costs, but this does not entail mass killings–Japan spends less than half as much as the United States does per capita on healthcare for its citizens, who nonetheless have an average life expectancy that is four years longer. Japan has a rapidly aging population, and has consequently had to make its healthcare system spectacularly efficient. By shamelessly copying their superior system, we could potentially free up a lot of money for young people without throwing our elderly off the Tarpeian Rock.
[…] recently I read an insightful blog post by Benjamin Studebaker entitled ‘Why are Young People Unhappy?‘. This was evaluating how our generation (born in 80s/90s – generation Y) having unrealistic […]
Thanks for sharing!
Culturally, we have replaced relationships and social modeling, in general, with technology and over scheduling. The pace we exist at is blinding us and leaving us empty inside.
I think there are many factors combined leading to unhappiness. Unemployment, student loan debt and failure to meet expectations are among the biggest factors, but I would add:
-increasing government/corporate control over our lives
-an education system based on standardized test performance
-increased innefectual drug prescriptions for youth
-more consumption of processed foods
-technology which can connect but also alienates
-greater awareness of government/corporate/religious misdeeds
-mass entertainment loaded with violence and cynicism
-less fulfilling work available
-more hours at work needed to make ends meet
-greater stress at work due to staff cuts
-higher cost of living/declining value of the dollar
-lack of positive role models
-lack of ways to make any meaningful changes
There’s undoubtedly plenty of more reasons, many of which affect us all, not just the youth.
Absolutely agree with you.
As someone from Generation Y and just about to finish a master’s in Aerospace engineering with literally zero prospects of job (thank you economy, rules, and policies) this article, and this particular comment sums up everything. When I was younger, I dreamed of so many things, and they all seemed possible, because everyone around me (previous generation) said it would. But in the past few years, I have realized that it was all fantasy, and with the way things are right now, it seems extremely hard to get a satisfying job, pay back my student loan. The fact that you are born with the wrong passport effectively locks up so many options, and with so much pressure on this generation to be ‘great’ at doing everything, it is a very hard ride. Not to mention the unrealistic expectations our parents have on us, without being aware of all the challenges we face.
Well written, and thanks!
There are other reasons for our generation to be ‘unhappy’ other than expensive health care for the elderly taking up money for college education for younger people, but I don’t blame them, they’re old and sometimes they require additional medical care since medical technology and knowledge has increased. I mean if Europe and Japan are able to make things work, why can’t American take a page out of their book to see if that would work? Besides,our generation grew up in pretty depressing times war and terror, but we also had an increased amount of information available to us allowing us to be more open about our opinions and see things in ways past generations have not.
The Europeans and Japanese are able to provide similar or better quality healthcare to their elderly at half the per capita cost, which would free up quite a bit of money for investment in future generations, hence my focus on the issue.
I don’t comment very much on any blog, but I couldn’t let this one go. Comparing the U.S. to Japan and Europe is like comparing apples to oranges. Both Japan and Europe have a far more homogeneous society than we do here in the U.S. Japan, for example, does not have the illegal immigration problem we have here (mostly due to its island geography); it only has to deal with the health care needs of its own. Also, the nuclear family, a very unhealthy paradigm, is not the norm there. In Japan, one’s elders are revered and families take care of each other cross-generationally. Also, most Japanese partake of a far more healthy diet than do Americans, resulting in good health (and lower health care expenses) extending far later in life. For these and other reasons, the Japanese/European model of health care cannot be superimposed on the United States effectively.
European countries have tremendous immigration issues due to the influx of North Africans into that continent.
Regardless, I don’t see how immigration plays a negative role in determining the feasibility of a cheap healthcare system. If anything, it would play a positive role, as immigrants tend to be hard-working and consequently increase economic output and available resources.
It is also important to remember that the Europeans and Japanese have better diets in no small part because the government has a direct financial stake in reducing health care costs and consequently goes to substantial effort to reduce them. In other words, there’s an element of reverse causation–a good health care system is preventative rather than curative. Evidence of a preventative culture results from a good health care system; it is not the cause.
I’m not persuaded even slightly, vast cost reductions are possible and should be attempted.
U.S. exceptionalism gets in the way of fixing its social ills so the European and Japanese ways cannot work in the U.S. The U.S. is very much polarized with a very small group of exceptionally wealthy people with a huge segment of the working-stiff and too-tired-and-too-busy to notice or care, and some working poor who can never pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Many statements about the U.S. are both true and false because they are very much true for a segment of the population but not for others. Most people seem not to notice or understand that.
There is much to be gained by people understanding that fact and not trying to block politically initiatives targeted at the other segments, health care being one prime example. Not everyone needs the world’s very best health care service. For most, a reasonably excellent health care that is still affordable is the best choice. For others, any health care at very low cost makes the most sense. It is very stupid for the U.S. to climb the hill of providing health care for all by using a single gear designed for the exceptionally rich.
I agree that a distrust of foreign ways causes Americans not to try foreign medical systems, but this does not mean that foreign medical systems cannot work in the US, but that Americans are unwilling to try potentially highly successful policies purely on the grounds that their origin is foreign. The policies are fine; the voters are the problem.
Thanks for posting. I enjoyed almost everything listed in the article. I have always wondered if the current generation was “spoiled” and had no sense of purpose, and a sense of entitlement. I believe there are factors of the economy that have made this the case, but I do not think that it is entirely based on the economy. The way a child is raised has more to do with their sense of self-worth and entitelment than economic factors.
You’re welcome–I think economic factors have influenced how this generation has been raised.
Reblogged this on crystalmccloudblog.
Thanks for sharing!
[…] Why are Young People Unhappy?. […]
Thanks for sharing!
Interesting perspective and it does capture some of the factors but as stated earlier happiness is far more complex and includes many other factors as well. If an individual is unhappy you need to examine what your actions are. If our actions don’t match our values one will be unhappy. There is so much pressure for everyone to be something they are not, to look a certain way when in the end it is as the Dalai Lama states: Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
Societies should learn to become less judgmental, more tolerant, and empathetic to increase happiness for all. Far too many people try to impose their own parochial values and perspectives on others rather than genuinely feeling the pressures, joys, and sorrows of others before rendering any judgment.
[…] Why are Young People Unhappy?. […]
Thanks for sharing! I don’t have a formula for happiness, nor do I claim to–different people are made happy by different things. The role of the state is to give people the opportunity to pursue happiness as they conceive it. These economic factors are limiting that opportunity. When I used the phrase “formula for happiness”, I was criticizing the OP.
Cool article. Your argument is suited for an economics class room, but economics has a poor reputation in this world right now. As 99% of the people now know we are living in a big fraud and poisoned in every hole and sense imaginable. Luther, thanks for pointing out the bigger causes in such a simple list. I agree with Luther. On a big picture, lets say past empires civilizations. They don’t just dissolve due to poor economic performance, they dissolve because the child no longer believes the parents, and the professors can no longer answer the childs questions about life, economics, spirit or even common sense…. Everybody has to live, and everybody falls victim to living a lie because they are afraid to live in accordance to higher emotional, intuitive or spiritual reasons. That is the only way to happiness.
A good article for you to fallow up is: what is happiness? Who is this inside me that wants to be happy? Who is this inside me that is no longer happy?
When you find out that very few people are whole internally, you will see happiness is not possible because they do not know themselves. In the Vedas it describes the constitutional position of our being simply: we are spirit souls. The opposite of spirit is matter. Trying to cure or treat spiritual underdevelopment with more material contamination is adding oil for fire.
When one understand all this in at least simplicity he is no longer influenced by depression or recession, booms or busts, heat waves or droughts but is is always in full satisfaction because he is longer living in illusion.
We are spirit souls AND therefore material souls, TOO. Lacking philosophical understanding of the integrity and oneness of spirit and matter condemns us to unhappiness. Rising above the curse of separating spirit from matter is the path to enlightenment and happiness.
[…] on this have provided me with an opportunity to follow up on my unexpectedly popular piece, “Why are Young People Unhappy?”. In that piece, I argued that young people have diminished economic opportunities relative to past […]
This is a really interesting, thought provoking and well written analysis, but i’m not convinced with the initial assumption of your piece.
Who’s says they’re unhappy? If they are, is it not just the hormones?
Can we really say that young people are more unhappy now than in previous generations, is it possible to measure this? Surely they’re just different…different pressures, different experiences, some better, some worse?
I understand the economic argument but there’s more to it than that – what about cultural changes across the generations which have an effect on how happy people are?
The economic evidence that young people have reduced opportunity relative to past generations is itself evidence of their unhappiness, because reduced opportunity means reduced liberty to pursue one’s goals and projects, and happiness requires that we be able to pursue our goals and projects, whatever they might be. How could it be possible for young people to have reduced life opportunities relative to past generations and relative to their own expectations yet not be to some degree more unhappy than those past generations without some countervailing force? It is logically incongruous, and it is a significant assumption to presume that such a force exists, that things are not otherwise equal.
Your economic argument is certainly logical. I would argue that cultural factors play a greater role than you suggest. Perhaps young people do have reduced opportunities relative to past generations in economic terms, but have greater opportunity in cultural terms.
The internet, for example, has created more opportunities for communication, the sharing of ideas, and a greater access to knowledge and learning. Does this not allow people to make better, more informed decisions about their life? Contrast this with the 1950’s (for example) where young people were far more likely to be constrained by their parents beliefs and choices.
I’m not saying this necessarily makes young people happier, but that the cultural aspect is complex and needs consideration when looking to answer your initial question.
It’s all thought provoking stuff.
There are certainly cultural factors that influence this generation, no doubt–whether they make us happier or less happy is hard to say, and it probably varies on a person to person basis–for instance, many people are more disinformed by the internet than they are informed. The trouble with making cultural arguments is that they are very hard to support with evidence that is not anecdotal and there is a great temptation when making them to universalize one’s own perspective. For that reason, I focused on objective differences between the circumstances of this generation and the circumstances of previous generations and assumed all other things were equal.
In fairness to the ‘wait but why’ blog, which I’d previously read, it didn’t set out to answer the seemingly obvious question: why is it that parents in the 80′s and 90′s thought their children could do so well? It was asserting that this was one of the contributing factors to the optimism of GYPSYs. What your post has done is highlighted that humans tend to disregard data and don’t act as rational agents.
At some point the UK and US gave birth to the entitlement generation who thought they could do whatever they wanted – it was just a question of working hard. No one brought the idea of luck to the equation. Writing as a reformed GYPSY, I can certainly recognise the sentiments expressed in the ‘wait but why’ post.
Another thing the piece expressed very well is the pursuit of prestige, and the perception that one can’t live up to one’s peers. For this, I blame social networking, marketing and conspicious consumption. People think they will be happier if they have the latest things and they haven’t found what truly makes them happy. However, this also applies to careers. How many people either choose a job with unrealistic expectations, or choose a job because it sounded prestigious but was maybe not suited to their specific skills and the type of work they enjoyed doing?
One other thing that caught my eye about your post was your assertion that older generations “failed to do their part to enhance the rate at which prosperity grows, [and] failed to maintain the rate of growth for future generations”. Are you expressing a belief that economies can continue to grow indefinitely?
I think competition among peers developed in large part as a result of social mobility. Historically, when one’s future occupation depended almost exclusively on one’s parents’ fortunes, there was little point in making invidious economic comparisons to those around us. Once it became possible to do significantly better or worse than one’s parents, it became less common to view one’s standing as a product purely of one’s own birth. Of course, as opportunities have contracted in recent decades, mobility has reduced and the class into which we are born has slowly become a larger determiner again. Yet despite this, we’re still operating under a social ethic that mandates that how well we perform is primarily up to us and the effort we put forth, so when we are unable to succeed, we mistakenly make invidious comparisons and blame ourselves.
When I referred to prosperity, I was expressing the belief that quality of life can and should improve generation to generation. Whether or not that entails raw economic growth depends on how strongly one thinks growth is linked to quality of life. I think this link is strong, but far from absolute. It is certainly possible to enjoy a higher quality of life with less material wealth by exchanging those material resources for more free time. It may not, however, be necessary to choose between wealth and time in the future, if automation progresses. I think economies can grow indefinitely but only insofar as technology progresses in tandem. Technological development is necessary to mitigate the negative environmental effects of growth, to increase productivity, and to accommodate larger populations. I reject the steady state movement because I think it precludes these technological developments and consequently unnecessarily depresses important components of quality of life.
I’m a Gen-Y born and raised in the states, to two very hard working immigrant parents. Being raised in a traditional Eastern cultural household, I would say my parents set the expectation that no one was going to hand me anything and that I had to work for it. Unfortunately I can’t say the same realistic expectations apply to my peers, and it concerns me. My generation certainly doesn’t have as many leaders coming out of it as maybe the past decades, but they’re great sellers and sure know how to market themselves. It’ll be interesting to see what will come about our future from all of this.
I really appreciated so many things about your post.
It occurred to me that, every generation does react to what it sees occurring in the generations that have preceded it. I was at the tail-end of the boomers…and I rejected some of what I saw…and those that came after my generation picked and chose what they wanted from mine and what they didn’t want as well….
Life seems to be filled with a lot of “pendulum swing”: whatever the momentum is one way, it swings like poetry the other way…and so on…and so forth…
There is definitely a lot of pendulum swinging going on. Too often individuals are committed to pushing the pendulums one way or another instead of trying to find the best place to situate them and then working to maintain that placement.
[…] response, one particularly dedicated blogger offered an economic analysis of the subject and rebutted the original author. His argument is that […]
Thanks for sharing! I don’t think we should give up on improvements to quality of life so very quickly, though. There are still lots of things we could do to make this situation better.
I definitely think you have a point here. I was born in 1990 and I can see this unhappiness all around me. I think there is more than one reason for the unhappiness though, and not just the fact that we have unrealistic expectations. I think we have been surrounded by things that are supposed to make us happy, like electronics and we have lost sight of the simple and free things in life such as personal relationships, family, and nature. It will be interesting to see how this generation pans out!
Thank you! There is certainly a pluralism of causes. The ones I detail here are merely the easiest to quantify and provide evidence for.
Reblogged this on Career Supreme.
Thanks for sharing!
This is a really interesting read as two is the Huffington Post’s article. However, the key thing the Gen Y Yuppie article missed out is the economic situation, which is what you’ve brought here.
Great read and food for thought.
Thank you very much!
You’re welcome 🙂 Hope you have a great day.
[…] too, to see the American culture surrounding the idea of a career. I read an article by Benjamin Studebaker that helped me see that our generation is truly on a cog of it’s own in the robot of […]
Thanks for sharing! Glad to see the piece helped inspire some blogging of your own.
Thank you for writing this post. I get tired of reading about the solution to unhappiness is to lower your expectations or aspirations. But why settle for less if a lot of sacrifice has been made just to get a shot at success? Sometimes outside factors screw people over in spite of working hard at improving their situations. Honestly, it was about time someone pointed out that no one in my Generation was prepared for all of those factors that makes it hard to get ahead.
You’re very welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed the piece.
Reblogged this on BrendasVilla.
Thanks for sharing!
I feel like your clarification on your plan for the elderly is based on a country (Japan) whose country is very different from ours in many ways. Studies show that Asians live longer yes, but they also have lower rates of medical and psychological problems than the U.S. On that basis alone, I do not believe the plan in place for Japan is generalizable to the U.S. I would love to hear your comments on this and please know that I am only playing devil’s advocate as I am beginning to end my undergraduate degree and hope that I will be able to find a job that statistically, does not seem very probable.
Part of the reason that Japan has lower rates of medical problems is that it engages in better preventative care, a policy that we could copy. That said, in any case, Japan is not the statistical rarity, we are:
I think it is kind of a sticky situation to ever say we could emulate what another country is doing. America is very young and I do not think knows the meaning of the word “preventative” in most topics it deals with.
There are really two questions in play here.
1. Is it possible to adopt good policies used in other countries?
2. Are we willing to adopt good policies used in other countries?
The answer to #1 is definitely yes, but you’re right that at the moment there’s insufficient political will for #2. I’m hoping that one day enough people are convinced by arguments like this one such that that’s no longer the case.
My thought is this, our kids now in days are spoiled because we made them that way. We wanted our children to have what we didn’t, but we never thought was going to be cell phones, Xbox, wii and all the rest of that junk. So even though I have raised my kids to be good humans and be respectful, Thank God, they realize they are in trouble with the next generation. Kids now in days feel as if they are owed something in life rather than working for it. They all want to start at the top and not work for it and $10 an hour is not good enough. The majority of all people are good kids just have a lot to deal with and a lot need some kind of therapy now in days and they just don’t know it.. Let’s help them to cope.
Adjusted for inflation, the current minimum wage is lower than experienced by pretty much any person alive today. Our generation also tends to be more dissatisfied with the expectation to work for free.
Your post is very thought-provoking. I follow Lifecourse Associates…Neil Howe was the co-writer of the famous Generations book. Howe and Strauss state that Boomers are an idealistic generation which explains much in how we BB’s have influenced the world and our children. Millennials (aka Gen Y) are the civic generation, following in the footsteps of their great grandparents, the GI generation. Howe explains how these four generations cycle through (American) history, of course by different names.
Yes, Millennials, are possibly over-optimistic, but this is in the face of their coming of age during 9-11, a traumatic historic tragedy that is matched by no other act of war in American history.
“The elderly, in turn, may be an example of how such positivity can play out. Economist and historian Neil Howe described the generation that emerged from the Great Depression and World War II as “almost pathologically positive’ — attitudes that later clashed with their baby-boomer offspring.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course, idealistic boomers are going to create both the over-protection and over-optimism of our Millennials, it is who we are.
Look forward to more of your blogs!
This is a reasonable point of view which is strongly backed by economic data.Such unique insights simplify complex situations that we face in every day life.
The aging generation is charged with the responsibility of creating a better future for the young generation just like their forefathers did for them.” Our divine purpose is to make this world a better place to live in NOT only in our lifetime but also for generations to come.” And the best way to do this is to heavily invest in our children’s education and wealth creation activities.
Reblogged this on Sarah's Speculation.
When currency is debased and inflated, disillusionment is one of the natural outcomes. Is this how love our children? Henry Ford paid his workers more so they could buy Ford cars. The only reason why we are given money is so that someone else can take most of it back again. The youth of today are well along down ‘the road to serfdom.’
Inflation rates have fallen, not risen, over the course of the period I describe.
Which sucks for the generation in debt.
I liked reading this blog, because I just wrote a blog post on happiness. And for me, plain and simple, the antidote we young people need is just gratitude. Check out my blog to read the full post.
Reblogged this on fmhtax's Blog.
Thanks for sharing!
Because the Psychiatrists have given them too many meds!
[…] Why Are Young People Unhappy? (Sept 18, 2013, 8,035 hits, featured on Freshly Pressed) […]
[…] Why Are Young People Unhappy? (September 18, 2013, 8,816 hits, featured on Freshly Pressed) […]
Having experienced life a little ( I am 64) and different successes, failures and both relative poverty and prosperity, I look at my unhappy grandson, who has everything material he will ever need and can conclude the following: all factors quoted in previous interventions on this blog may be contributors but happiness (as well as unhappiness!) is a PERSONAL, NOT national, economic, medical, âge related etc…) quest: it has to do with good relationships, good emotional intelligence, either inherited or learned, a sense of belonging, some self-respect and some awareness of something bigger than ourselves in the Universe… Good nutrition, good sleep, humility, generosity etc… Therefore no-one is likely to ever possess all the factors at one time in their lives: I believe that happiness is transient, sporadic, comes and goes; what it is NOT is a god-given right or, indeed, some “thing” that we can all possess… One has to work at it but certainly not just for materiel gain or economic progress. Who can prove/say that cavemen did not know happiness?
Assumptions aside, isn’t it a copout to blame something as intangible as “happiness” or, rather, one’s ability to control happiness? One’s emotions are not wholly commanded consciously but are partially reactive to stimuli as said; it’s like how climate is effected by Global Warming, but in this case it’s an economic depression that particularly targets young people. Furthermore, “everything he will ever need”? Will that truly be a constant or might that change in future, like if/when he might want to start a family? Having the ability to by a DVD isn’t the same as being able to afford a place to live. This comes back to questioning happiness again in terms of the temporary versus the generalized, the latter mayhaps better known as satisfaction with one’s life. Lastly, if one has material wealth (gained with the benefit of a long life in good times) doesn’t it ring hypocritical to criticize someone who will be in poverty for the foreseeable future? Especially when accused of lacking what might as well be called “moral fiber” or, clinically, an unrealistic delusion? Some delusions linked to self-esteem and self worth are one thing; having to constantly delude oneself about one’s quality of life is quite another.
[…] a story of true freedom and global understanding. The story taps into current feelings of unrest, disillusionment and disconnection felt by whole generations of young people throughout the western w…. It’s about having the courage to follow your instincts, no matter how crazy they seem, and what […]
[…] is it any wonder that young people are not happy? Do we suppose some correlation between the dissatisfaction of the youth and the decline of the […]
[…] objections to boomer parenting have also been around a long time. Back in 2013, I wrote a post about another viral version of the same argument. It’s wrong now for the same reason it was […]