Generational Divide

January 16, 2020

“OK, Boomer.” The phrase has been spreading across the United States and then proceeded to the rest of the world millions of times over the past few months. It is pretty natural that there are disagreements between generations. Buy a house or rent? Cable or Netflix? Cereal or avocado on toast? All these things are rather redundant, so why does it seem to matter?


Baby boomers are classified as being born between 1946 and 1964. It is perfectly understandable to assume that their world view is far from that of Millennials; who were born between 1981 and 1996. Growing up in a time after the second world war was far from being the same as growing up in post cold war. Baby boomers often speak of the old economy and how the United States was responsible for half the world’s manufacturing. The United States was only able to seize that opportunity after the war due to the majority of the manufacturing infrastructure being destroyed in both Europe and East Asia. It was a time that American’s thrived. Jobs and wages were through the roof, but it was only a matter of time before it went away.


Millennials, grew up towards the tail end of the millennia. A time when household computers were coming around, cell phones, and the internet was becoming mainstream. Often cited as too whiny, lazy, and ‘snowflakes’, the Millennials are just part of a different time period. They are not any worse or better off than the Baby boomers. In terms of raw spending cash however, it is no secret that the boomers hold a pretty large share of the cash flow in the United States. This is not due to laziness in part of the Millennials; it simply has to do with the time at which the boomers made their money; an era that was disappearing into the history books rather than being a reality.


Why is there such a divide? And why now? Millennials have had enough of the generational inequality. Low wages, the government not taking action on critical issues and social injustice growing, the Millennials have taken it into their own hands to take action. A recent example of this comes from a New Zealand legislator speaking before parliament on reducing carbon emissions. Chlöe Swarbrick, who is 25 years of age, stated “right now, the average age of this 52nd parliament is 49 years old.” Shortly after, a heckler began to interrupt Swarbrick. She replied with a simple “OK, boomer.” Greta Thunberg, who is a part of Generation Z, stated, “We children are doing this to wake the adults up. We children are doing this for you to put your differences aside and start acting as you would in a crisis. We children are doing this because we want our hopes and dreams back.” The activist has taken climate action to the forefront and made it a critical topic around the globe. 


All in all, the generational war is nothing new. Generations themselves are a relatively recent practice in history. To say that all these millions of people, just because they were born around the same time, have the same views is flat out wrong. Millennials and Gen Z will continue to have larger and larger impacts on the world as time goes by. There will always be differences in worldview, and what each individual feels is best. Millennials only need to say one thing when they get into an argument with a boomer, “It’s okay, boomer.”

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