Baby Boomers: Selfish?

I have trouble believing any of the generalizations about generations–it’s like assertions about people’s personalities based on birth order–so vague that most could be anything and everything. And temporal boundaries in analysis are similar to spatial boundaries in geographic analysis: they’re impressionistic and yet still meaningful, but you can still get up to all sorts of analytical shenanigans by how you choose to cluster data points.

Francis Beckett of the The Gaurdian opines, however, that UK Boomers are selfish and powerful; they have pulled up the ladder they climbed and left their children with a far harsher, rather than better, world:

Harold Wilson saved the baby boomers from having to fight alongside young Americans in Vietnam. When the baby boomer generation formed a government, its prime minister, Tony Blair, told lies to the young so that he could send them to fight alongside the Americans in Iraq. Opinion polls show that the now elderly baby boomers will use their increasing voting power to ensure that when the bad times come, the young are hit first, even though it is by a chancellor of the exchequer who was not even born until the 60s were over. When the baby boomers were young, they believed society could afford student grants; now they are old, they think it can afford pensions. I say it can afford both – but only if young and old alike learn to care for each other.

link: Baby boomers: powerful and selfish | Francis Beckett | Comment is free |

What do you think? I rather think there’s something to be said for this, not on character but on demographics. If you are voting majority, you get distributive powers. It’s not clear that people vote their pocketbook, but it’s an interesting set of worries. Why would the Boomers do this type of thing to their kids? If Beckett is correct, perhaps it’s an intergenerational game where they think theirs will be provided for via inheritance–and who cares about others’ kids? (The private school public school rationale, writ over a greater variety of social policies programs?)

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