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Generation Wars

Discussion in 'History, Travel, and Culture' started by tovlo, Jan 24, 2019.

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  1. Fidicen

    Fidicen Community Member

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    This is weird, just today I saw on another forum a discussion about this, people wondering who put all those porn mags there. I never found any, but apparently there are so many people who did find them that this sounds like a case for Mulder and Scully. Aliens? Porn industry? Do porn mags actually grow in the woods before they're harvested by a secret sect of Hefnerites?

    Isn't that the plot of every anime ever? :D
     
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  2. John K

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    Hmm! I was born in 1949 so I'm risking life and limb putting head over the parapet here :D. I've just skimmed through the thread so far and there's some great points made, but I'm closest to Zola's in my own thoughts. There may be significant differences between the UK and US Boomer experience, but it wasn't a dream ticket in the UK in the 1950s and 60s. Rationing after WW2 didn't end until 1954, and was actually more strict than during the war. There were severe restrictions on how much currency you could take out of the country if you went abroad for a holiday for a lot of this time. Neither of the houses I lived in with my folks until 1971 had central heating or double glazing - my bedroom was freezing in winter at the first house. We didn't have a car until 1960, a fridge until the 1960s, a TV until 1960. I remember going to school during the Cuban missile crisis thinking it was unfair of my folks to insist I went, because I didn't expect there to be any of us left by the end of the day. The papers were all full of the threats of global climate change - but then the scientists were going on about the ice age coming back and freezing us over any day now.

    Most people couldn't afford to buy their own homes then so they rented - but unlike today there were a very large number of government owned houses to rent, so it was a lot easier then than now to put a roof over your head. Only a small minority were owner occupiers though.

    It might look like the education system in the UK was more generous in those days, but the system was very different and was continuously under attack by the socially minded. Schools were highly selective on ability and only about 20% of people went to the top ranking state schools (so-called grammar schools) - we were selected on the results of a public exam taken at 11 years old, and for most people the outcome of that determined the whole of the rest of your future. The grammar schools were very good for the minority who went to them. Very few people went to University - again the places were limited and highly selective, with perhaps only about 10% of young people having the necessary grades to go. On the other hand all your fees were paid by the state and there was a means tested subsistence grant as well, so no-one left with any debt unless they hade been silly. And yes - because there were a lot fewer people with degrees, it was easier then than it is now to get a decent job if you had a degree, but the vast majority of people were locked out of these because they lacked the education opportunities. So there you have it, you can decide to put only a relatively small proportion of people each generation through high quality education and select them on ability all state paid - or you can try and give the majority of people this opportunity, but the state can't afford to pay for it. And yes, the rich have always side-stepped all of this and bought whatever would give their kids an advantage over anyone else - the UK public schools (fee paying) dominated entry to Oxbridge in those days - things don't change there and when our socialist governments tried to change things the rich guys just took themselves overseas, which helped to trash the economy.

    The 1970s in the UK were a nightmare - the government and the bosses who ran the large companies lost control to the unions. Things work well when there is a good balance of power between these three, but it's bad news when any one dominates. We had terrible inflation, constant disruption of services through strikes, long periods when elecricity was rationed to homes and businesses through daily power cuts - sods law meant that you were dark and cold at work for several hours - then the power came back on at work at the end of the day, only for you to find your home was due to lose power that evening. It was nearly impossible to get a mortgage to buy a house because there were no funds for considerable lengths of time, and the lenders insisted that you had been saving with them for at least a year to be eligible - they wouldn't take women's income into account either in those days. The jobs market dried up and people were being laid off in large numbers - unemployment was far higher then than it is now.

    We had guys at Uni from the US who were starving themselves to try and avoid the Vietnam War draft - so it wasn't all great news there either by the sound of things. I doubt they'd have an easy time of it back home either way that worked out.

    I'm laying it on thick here, but no more than the frustrations people are expressing about the modern world. Then as now, there were some really positive things about those years as well - but they weren't some utopian dream, at least in the UK.
     
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  3. Roses In The Vineyard

    Roses In The Vineyard Community Member

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    I honestly wish that it would all just hurry up then be done with it as dragging on year after year of this misery is too much. Not only have the boomers made the world a worse place they made it so that for long after it will be a hell for countless generations after. A retirement plan for my generation is 15ft of Ethernet cable with a noose at the end or od on a bunch of pills. :cry:

     
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  4. John K

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    I thnk it's actually like this for most generations, though the inherited problems are different each time of course. The previous generations to mine had trashed the world twice over through bigotted or crassly ignorant politics that resulted in the most horrendous wars in history - we picked up the pieces of the aftermath and made the best of it we could. It will happen again as well - each generation acts like it owns the Earth and assumes the Earth 'owes' them. I think if we could fast forward a couple of hundred years, the people then will look back on our entire era from 19th Century - 21st Century as a time of meaningless utter waste and environmental destruction. It's sobering to think that we have initiated one of the rare mass extinctions of life on Earth as severe as the one that wiped the dinosaurs. None of us will look a pretty sight from the perspective of 200 years into the future. It's damn hard to do anything about it though because in the end part of the cure is to sacrifice real lives in the present for hypothetical lives in the future - who's going to vote for that?
     
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  5. Wildfire

    Wildfire Community Member

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    Hi @John K
    If you have time could you elaborate on this part?
     
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  6. John K

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    It's easiest to see what I mean if I exaggerate considerably. For example we should probably try and stabilise the population of people in the world to about 1/10 or even 1/100 of what it is now if we are ever going to get into a sustainable balance with nature - this would need to be enforced by law. We should ration non-renewable resources such as oil and minerals to make sure they are available to our descendants for at least the next 500 years. We should invest heavily and urgently on developing the same sort of cycles in the way we impact the environment that occur naturally in nature and tax very heavily any consumption that doesn't fit into those cycles. We maybe need to think of returning to much more labour intensive manual ways of living our lives - food production, cleaning, cooking, washing etc.

    You get the idea .... like I say this is an exaggeration, but only in quantity not in type.

    I'm actually optimistic that technology can help dig us out of the mess, but maybe not before the damage to the world's environment is irreversible.

    Of course mother nature will sort out a massive population crash for us anyway if we don't sort it ourselves, and that won't be very nice if it happens. But it probably won't happen for at least 2 or 3 more generations anyway, and its hypothetical, so who's going to sacrifice a lot to avoid it now when it comes to our priorities in (eg) choosing our governments?

    Those are the sort of things I mean - a bit of an Ni brain dump here.
     
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  7. Wildfire

    Wildfire Community Member

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    Thank you.

    I can totally see what you were getting at now, and I've had similar thoughts.
     
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  8. John K

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    I wish I could see a way forward Wildfire. I researched my family history after I retired and even with all the problems we face we are very much better off than our families were a hundred years ago and more. It feels so terribly wrong that we may give our children’s children’s children a world unfit to live in - but I can’t see how to do anything about it other than pray and hope for the best. I do have this feeling though - quite illogical - that it will all come right in the end. I’d love to be able to see our descendants spreading across the Galaxy a thousand years from now :)
     
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  9. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    @Fidicen - I agree with your entire post. I definitely think capitalists saw/sees opportunity in subcultures, but I think it was a combination of capitalism working as it does and everything I said before about the government watering down and popularizing potential threats to weaken them. There were a lot of radical groups inside punk (of course) and there were also people who'd lived decades in the punk and hard core communities who actually worked undercover for organizations like the FBI. (I know this for a fact.) I'm trying not to go on about this in detail because if you get old punks talking about the subculture's problems it turns into a long, boring conversation that loops over on itself like some sort of spiky, crusty ouroboros of nonsense.

    The fall of the Soviet Union is a great point to make about Gen X. It did exactly what you said.
    It also dissolved that generation-long threat of impending doom via nuclear war that Gen X grew up with.

    @John K – Thank you for weighing in about the UK Boomer experience. This has been a "USA" focused discussion. In documentaries about punk, oi, ska, and mods, the UK roots of those movements have always started with the financial and social troubles you described, and there are TV shows, books, and movies about this, so I am familiar with what you're talking about. Maybe some US Boomers will weigh in with their personal experiences, especially regarding Vietnam. Nothing is ever as peachy as it seems to outsiders.

    There was definitely a class/race gap in the US with who went to Vietnam. If you were in college or had a good job that 'benefitted society', you weren't drafted. Vietnam basically sent poor and black people to slaughter. There are several different Boomer experiences, and the Millennials are focusing on the tier of wealthy and upper middle class Boomers who had comfortable lives, escaped the draft, and climbed the ladders in business.

    My father definitely molded his life choices around avoiding getting drafted. He is a philosophical, free-thinking person. When I asked him about why he was never involved with the folkies and hippies, he told me there was no time to participate, and rebellion wasn't a choice, because he had to stay out of Vietnam. My mother's experience was: marry well so you're taken care of, be a good wife and mother, be agreeable, do what is expected even if you don't like it, look pretty, belong to the proper social circles, be good at skills women are expected to be good at (sewing, cleaning, cooking, makeup, social skills, dance, sex). Her way of life would be considered misogynist now, but it was normal for Boomer women and the generations before them, and I was absolutely raised with the same expectations.
     
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  10. John K

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    Sorry to take this out of context Asa but its just SO evocative :sunglasses: .... it's actually comforting to find that the aging process transcends all ...... :D:D

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    Absolutely! :tearsofjoy:
     
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  12. Gaze

    Gaze My word . . . hmm
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    Judgments of Baby Boomers are ridiculous and misguided. Again, In the US, When Baby Boomers parents lived before or during the Great Depression, or died during or after the war, and your world feels constantly threatened, and you're not sure what to expect, you're going to try to benefit as much of you can if quality of life improves. Although as @John K said there are many falsehoods about the lives of Baby Boomers. It varies depending on where you grew up.

    I was raised in Caribbean country, and our lives were different. My parents are boomers and their lives were not easy growing up. They lived very much from the land, and had difficult circumstances. They are probably the only reasons why I've survived in this world. It was living through the difficulties they grew up with starting in 50s-70s that gave them the tools and toughness they needed to survive and give their children a better life in the 80s and 90s. They sacrificed a lot, I mean a lot, to get us to me to this point where I could pursue my own life education and career. They worked hard for what they had, and yes, had family support, but it wasn't always easy. They didn't receive a ton of handouts and no one just paved a street of gold for them. They did what had to do to make a good life based on what opportunities were available and later on did well for themselves. This allowed me to go to school and college, and have my own opps later on.

    As a GenXer, I lived in the time just before and after technology became a huge part of our everyday world, and knew life with or without it dictating my life, and these are completely different worlds. I can see the positives and negatives. There were so many great things about that time that younger generations will never experience and so many good things about today that my generation never experienced when we were young adults, but that's life.

    I think everyone needs to keep in mind that people make decisions based on the time they're in and the decisions available to them at that moment in time. Hindsight is always 20/20 but the world was not the same place then as it is now. Beware of tunnel vision, thinking you see the complete picture based on your own experiences, not realizing there's always more to everyone's story than anyone can ever imagine or understand.

    Instead of judging previous or current generations, realize no one can fully understand the effects of growing up in each generation based on how the world works in another time frame or period. If many Boomers didn't take advantage of the prosperity they experienced, not withstanding many of their lives were put on hold because their parents were overseas fighting or at home trying to survive, they wouldn't have started the families they did and produced current generations. So, good or bad, life is what each person makes of it in their own time. Blaming the past is just kicking yourself in the butt or the foot. You choose.
     
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    #72 Gaze, Jan 27, 2019
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  13. OP
    tovlo

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  14. OP
    tovlo

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    I see wisdom in your words.
     
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  15. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    @Gaze, you're right. As I said in my last post, the Boomers being blamed for how things turned out for newer generations are a small part of the Boomer generation, and definitely from the US. The ways of life for Boomers elsewhere, as @John K pointed out, were far different and shouldn't be lumped in with the US. As you are highlighting, a lot of Boomer experiences are being lost in amid assumptions.
     
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  16. Hostarius

    Hostarius Scooby Doo Villain of Fate

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    You raise an important point about the Soviet Union, but I think this needs to be dismantled somewhat. My suggestion that the 'conservative revolution' was the most fundamental turning point in this debate on generational experiences in the West of course includes as a consequence the collapse of the USSR.

    Firstly, 'conservative revolution' is not particularly geographically confined (and certainly not just to the UK). The economic ideas known most variously as 'neoliberalism' or 'monetarism' gained traction in the US (with Reagan) as elsewhere - Chicago School economics (Milton Friedman, et al.) really did change the economic and political narrative a great deal globally.

    The effect this had on the USSR is debatable, but there is an argument to suggest that the 'Second Cold War' instigated by increased defense spending in the 80s (or at least rhetoric thereto) forced the Soviet Union into another arms race which it simply could not afford; as the proportion of GDP 'wasted' on defense increased, the rest of the centrally-planned economy struggled to cope. In fact, this is the pattern predicted by Paul Kennedy in The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Whether you believe that the centrally-planned economy was doomed to failure at the outset or not, the impact of increased defense spending cannot be ignored, and this you could argue was a direct result of the 'Second Cold War' following the conservative revolution in the West. In traditional terms, the Soviet Union had lost Clauwitz's 'war by arithmetic' (that is, economic warfare waged by direct comparison of competing military forces).
    Soviet Expenditure.png

    That's the first point: the conservative revolution is to a large extent causally responsible for the Soviet Union collapsing when it did.

    Secondly, the political template of a 'free Western state' was largely set upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, and hence became the model which the newly independent Eastern Bloc countries would attempt to emulate. At the end of the 80s, this was a neoliberal model, but it could have just as easily been social democratic or something else had the conservative revolution not taken place. This is why Fukuyama was able to argue that liberal capitalism would essentially 'inevitably' take over the world; it was seen that neoliberal capitalism had won, and not any other kind of capitalism.

    The political and economic situation which the West finds itself in right now (millennial woes) is the direct result of neoliberal economic policies and not the fall of the Soviet Union or its international sphere of influence.
     
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  17. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    Are you of the belief that the Soviet Union was doomed to fail?
     
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  18. Hostarius

    Hostarius Scooby Doo Villain of Fate

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    No. I am a firm believer in historical contingency. The Soviet Union could have easily survived into this century and beyond

    I do suspect, however, that the planned economy was perhaps less responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union than being isolated from global trade. Look at Russia today - its isolation since sanctions were imposed has caused precipitous negative growth. It was kind of a marvel that the USSR survived as it did for so long under those circumstances.

    I can imagine a post-détente* scenario whereby Soviet state research centres and factories are innovating new products for export on the global market (imagine state-sanctioned Tetris), but one has to ask therefore if this is really socialism. Would it have had to undergo Chinese-style economic reforms? Perhaps, but I think access to global markets is the crucial factor in maintaining a first or second-world standard of living.

    *And this might suppose that the 'conservative revolution' never happened.
     
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  19. Skarekrow

    Skarekrow ~~DEVIL~~

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    To be clear...when I say...”Baby Boomers” I’m not lumping or blaming everyone in that generation as the sole contributors of the negative issues that came out of that time period.
    99% had virtually nothing to do with the bad shit.
    It’s mainly meant to specify the actions of those in charge and the politics of the time.
    It was incredibly different politically in the 80’s..I remember...lol.
    As were the 90’s and so on.
    Also, @Fidicen I agree that 9-11 wasn’t the defining moment of Gen X being one myself...not sure what our “moment” was, if we even have one?
    Cheers and much love all!!


    (Okay, maybe 95%)
    :tonguewink:
     
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  20. Zola

    Zola Regular Poster

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    ...plus the rest of what you said.

    Yup. I agree. Technology is not at the point where we can keep adding population. Leave a more optimistic future for the next generation(s).
     

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