An acquaintance of mine appeared on TV the other day to debate the fate of ‘our generation’. I think the programme was trying to set up a slagging match between kids young people and people who are as old as their parents. Did it work? I don’t know. It’s like trying to ask someone who’s been happily blindfolded what he saw. The blindfold’s off, it ain’t pretty, but how did we get here?
Every cloud has a silver lining. Cliche. In the so-called age of austerity (hmm, austerity with laptops and iPods) , we have to learn to live with less, learn to cope. This is what the world needs; it cannot support unlimited, unbridled consumption. The older generation will eventually die out and we’ll inherit a surplus of stuff (houses, clothes, bad ideas) as there’s more of them – at least where the population is declining. We cannot expect our generation to enjoy exactly the same privileges – as it is, we probably have the best childhoods, historically, and the best prospects. People can get the sort of job that are a better match to their individual abilities, rather than being forced to work in t’pit, just ‘cos that’s what people do’. Technology has destroyed jobs and created exciting ones in its place.
It is a fair point though that some have been excessively greedy. I’m not talking about bankers – they get enough flak – I’m talking about university vice-chancellors. How is it justifiable that a student struggles through uni and leaves with thousands of debt, while a vice-chancellor gets paid over £250,000 a year, and urging for tuition-fee rises? I believe more of tuition fee costs must be shouldered by corporate firms, who ultimately benefit by employing such well-educated people. Also, there are plenty of positions it seems, that pay much more than what the prime minister gets paid – is their job much harder? They should be running the country then.