Social Action Now!

An objective view to worldwide social issues

The beginning of a generation with less expectations

In this current economic uncertainty horizon, expectations for citizens seem increasingly small and the forecast for future generations points to be dark. Years of economic crisis and globalization have left winners and losers. Among the beneficiaries are old acquaintances: the economic elite. For example, Branko Milanovic and Thomas Piketty, both economists, have been responsible for alerting about the injustice effects caused. Even though few have informed with the frankness of billionaire Warren Buffett, who in 2011 wrote in The New York Times: “While the middle and lower classes fight for us in Afghanistan, while Americans fight for a living, we, over wealthy people, continue to have extraordinary tax breaks.”

In an impoverished, individualistic and fragmented society, a well distributed system seems unthinkable. But if we consider the purchasing power a mood, most of the Spaniards are going through depression. 60% of citizens believe that young people in the future will live worse than their parents and 30% think that there are more differences between generations than between social classes. However, regarding that generation, they have not given up to this vulnerability. They have managed to arrange their life differently. This explains, for instance, the rise of collaborative economy. Not only in that term but also in political ground. Instead of abstaining they create new political parties such as Podemos or Ciudadanos. Without that look many other young Spaniards would be in danger of giving up the right of every human being to improve.

In fact nearly half of young people who want to work have no place. How to tell then that they will live better than their parents. In addition, logically, discouragement leads to capitulation, and then abandonment. And not only in Spain. After some time many people give up looking for work. In the euro zone 6.3% of the inactive population recognizes that despite wishing to work, is no longer seeking employment. Income is no longer an incentive. Furthermore, economic uncertainties, terrorism, increased political radicalism and European defensive policies are therefore matches at a gas station.

In Spain, Italy or Germany a third of the population will be over 65 in 2050. This population shift results in less jobs, less consumption and less need for investment. Which leads to a reduction in size of the economy. But we cannot blame the elderly. The trap is that during the crisis has increased the competitiveness by lowering wages. And therefor also the contributions to Social Security. This long-term mortgage. When the current active workers enjoy their pension, in many cases the regulatory basis on which it is estimated will be less because the contributions provided during the recession were lower by falling wages. “In 2014 for every retired person there were 3.5 active. In fifty years the proportion will be one retiree assets 1.3. With these data, the balance does not come out”, warns Mercedes Sanz, director of the Department of Insurance of the Mapfre Foundation.

But what really makes slippery the question of whether our children will live worse than their parents is derived subjectivity. “The standard of living (longevity, purchasing power, health …) is higher than 40 years ago, but what happens is that the perception of the linearity of well distributed progress is no longer a general sense,” says Federico Steinberg, main investigator of Economy at the Elcano Royal Institute. The only certainty is that our descendants will have many more tolls as well as information close to their hands. We hope they use them to form a better future.

REFERENCES

  • Euronews (2015, December 18). Unemployment in Spain: a life without hope? Retrieved from http://www.euronews.com/2015/12/18/unemployment-in-spain-a-life-without-hope/
  • El Mundo (2016, January 17). El blindaje de los derechos sociales. Retrieved from http://www.elmundo.es/economia/2016/01/17/569682b346163f5f7b8b4582.html
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