Social Action Now!

An objective view to worldwide social issues

GENERATIONAL CRISIS?

manos-de-generacionesWe are locked in a generational war, which will get worse before it gets better.” Is what said Robert J. Samuelson, a columnist for The Washington Post. The generational conflict has become such an important issue at different business and it is thought that it will not get better for a long time. “No one wants to admit this, because it’s ugly and unwelcome. Parents are supposed to care for their children, and children are supposed to care for their aging parents. For families, these collective obligations may work. But what makes sense for families doesn’t always succeed for society as a whole. The clash of generations is intensifying.”

He talked about the case in Detroit: “Last week, a federal judge ruled that Detroit qualifies for municipal bankruptcy. This almost certainly means that pensions and health benefits for the city’s retired workers will be trimmed. There’s a basic conflict between paying for all retirement benefits and supporting adequate current services (police, schools, parks, sanitation, roads). Detroit’s retired workers have swelled, benefits were not adequately funded and the city’s economy isn’t strong enough to do both without self-defeating tax increases.

“Que se vayan todos,” or “Away with all of them,” became one of the slogans chanted by the tens of thousands of “Indignados” in Spain at protests last year. In addition to their eponymous outrage, many had one thing in common: Most were young and viewed themselves as victims of the crisis

They might have been more specific and instead chanted: “All the old people must go!” This phrase would apply because, in many ways, the euro crisis is also a conflict between generations — the flush baby boomers in their fifties and sixties are today living prosperously at the expense of young people.

Intergenerational equity — measured among other things by levels of direct and hidden debts and pension entitlements — is particularly low in Southern Europe. In a 2011 study of intergenerational equity in 31 countries by the Bertelsmann Foundation, Greece came in last place. Italy, Portugal and Spain didn’t do much better, landing in 28th, 24th and 22nd place respectively. Currently, the unequal distribution of income and opportunities is particularly distinct:

  • The employment market collapse has hit young Europeans much harder than older generations. In Greece and Spain more than half of those under age 25 are unemployed — twice the rate of older workers. Things are even worse in parts of southern Italy, where youth unemployment has risen above 50 percent.
  • One reason for this situation is unequal employment circumstances. Older Spaniards and Italians, for example, profit from worker protection laws preventing them from getting fired that are quite strong by international comparison. But almost half of young Italians and 60 percent of young Spaniards are on temporary employment contracts and can easily lose their jobs.
  • The burdens and risks of the euro bailouts are also mainly borne by young people. Ultimately, growing national debts and bailout funds worth billions will be financed through bonds that won’t be due for many years to come.

Robert J. Samuelson (Dec. 9, 2013). THE CLASH OF GENERATIONS. ArcaMax Publishing. Retrieved January 14, 2014 from http://www.arcamax.com/politics/robertjsamuelson/s-1436667

David Böcking (Aug. 9, 2012). ‘TRUST NO ONE OVER 30!’: EURO CRISIS MORPHS INTO GENERATIONAL CONFLICT. Spiegel Online International. Retrieved January 14, 2014 from http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/commentary-why-the-euro-crisis-is-also-a-generational-conflict-a-849165.html

Daniel Camacho (June, 2007). CHOQUE GENERACIONAL EN ÉPOCA DE CRISIS DE VALORES: FAMILIA, INFANCIA, JUVENTUD. Revista de Ciencias Sociales. Retrieved January 16, 2014 from http://www.revistacienciassociales.ucr.ac.cr/choque-generacional-en-epoca-de-crisis-de-valores-familia-infancia-juventud/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: