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Published by jack elliot

It is not surprising that many young people believe democracies will not deal with change successfully when the forces that profit from the status quo and endeavour to keep it this way so clearly dominate, economically and demographically.

The Coronavirus crisis is ushering in a stronger state that has no problem interfering with the market economy. It is an even stronger rollback of the neoliberal Thatcher-Reagan coup that has infested and undermined the Western political systems, and was erroneously believed to be triumphant when the Soviet Union collapsed.

A state, or even better a community of states with democratic freedoms, that is not hesitant in front of corporate power and big money, can pull back the support for democracy if it addresses the problem of inequality and the over exploitation of humans and natural resources by an economic model that has outlived its sell-by date.

There have been moments in various countries' living memories when times were tangibly 'good', and things were considered to be 'getting better' for ordinary citizens. The postwar Fifties and Sixties, roughly the period 1948-73, saw circumstances steadily improve for most people in Britain certainly. I'd say there was a second wave too, roughly from 1993/4 through to 2008.

If you are of an age when you're lucky enough to have lived through one of these periods in your adult (or at least conscious) lifetime, then you may also be lucky enough to have accrued things like a stable career, a house, savings, things to spend a disposable income on etc. And life will have been good, certainly compared to your forebears.

However, there is a generation now, born roughly 1990-onwards, whose adult lives have only ever existed in a state of perpetual socio-economic crisis. Admittedly 9/11 happened just before I went to university but unless you were under direct terrorist assault your life didn't change much unless you went to an airport.

But from 2008 there has only been recession, stagnation, the casualisation of much employment (especially the entry-level stuff young people tend to do), the obliteration of entire sectors driven by the whims of tech giants primarily serving the time-poor middle classes, increasingly visible climate change, angry regressive nationalist movements led primarily by middle-aged white men, and now there is the coronavirus, which has led to mass death, economic shutdown, unprecedented disruption, yet more entire swathes of the economy wiped out, lives put on hold indefinitely, and the disturbing undercurrents of the establishment of surveillance-states by apparently benign governments 'for our own good'.

In the last 12 years, lives have been blighted by a never-ending cavalcade of upheaval, disruption, pain and misery.

And yet by contrast, the previous 12 years were a relative doddle.

Even the World Wars didn't drag on for quite so long as the current seemingly endless malaise.

And so if you've spent your entire adult life so far stuck in this thankless era, is it any wonder you might not share the attitudes and values of your elders, especially if they're sitting surrounded by the trappings of far more comfortable, stable eras, telling you to be grateful?

As someone who experienced that era of post-Cold War euphoria, through the emergence of level-headed Centrist governments in the Nineties, the Good Friday Agreement, the Millennium, the expansion of universities and the promise of the 'knowledge economy', I feel bitterly sad for the generation that followed mine.

They have never known good times.

They have every right to be furious.

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Comment on this post
Yes, they have never had strong leaders or logos to guide and mentor them, Have not had the stability of a strong family unit at least for the majority. They are living in a culture where every form of weakness, mental and emotional illness and emptiness are worshipped.<br /> <br /> What they need is a good kick in the ass and after that some love and kindness.<br /> <br /> Mike
I agree