I am a baby-boomer, I confess, but I have to acknowledge the justice of the fiery j’accuse launched at us by Financial Times analysis editor Frederick Studemann. He complains that the boomers have had a great party but trashed the family home. “We now get to clear up the mess. We are essentially little more than glorified pooper-scoopers.”
Strong words, but he goes on:
“This might all be just about bearable if they had not made such a mess of things. Yes, freedom of the individual and personal fulfilment are undoubtedly laudable. But my, did they come with a cost, as we now pick up the tab for decades of boomer debt-fuelled, take-now-pay-later consumerism that has blighted economies and ravaged the planet. Add to that the less measurable costs of an atomised, more self-obsessed ‘broken’ society and it all makes for quite a clean-up job.”
As Charles Sizemore points out at the HS Dent Financial Blog, this could be an opening salvo in an inter-generational conflict between a huge number of elderly dependents and a shrinking number of productive workers in a greying world.
“The political and ideological debate today is defined by two major conflicts: social conservatism vs. social liberality and government control vs. free market. We believe that age might be the defining political conflict in the decades ahead.”
Age – not the environment, or whales, or climate change.