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Echo Boomers: The Future Decision Makers

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Echo Boomers: The Future Decision Makers

Unread postby MonteQuest » Sun 26 Dec 2004, 20:51:30

I just watched a 60 Minutes episode that got me to thinking about who really needs to be reached about peak-oil. I was born in 1951, and became one of the outspoken baby boomers who changed the culture during the 1960's. As most of you know, I am still outspoken and still trying to change the cultural direction. But now, here comes the next large generation of boomers, and they are quite different. Where will they take us?

The largest generation of young people since the '60s is beginning to come of age. They're called "echo boomers" because they're the genetic offspring and demographic echo of their parents, the baby boomers.

Born between 1982 and 1995, there are nearly 80 million of them, and they're already having a huge impact on entire segments of the economy. And as the population ages, they will be become the next dominant generation of Americans.


These are the people who are going to shape the impetus for dealing with peak-oil. These are the people who will have to learn to think long-term and consider the limits of a finite world. And as you can see from the following quote, that may be a big challenge.


Levine, who is considered one of the foremost authorities in the country on how children learn, is now researching a book on young people entering their 20s. He is concerned that groupthink is stifling initiative. And because they have always been rewarded for participation, not achievement, they don't have a strong sense what they are good at and what they're not.

"[They expect] that they're gonna be allowed to rise to the top quickly. That they're gonna get all the credit they need for everything they do. And boy, are they naive. Totally naive, in terms of what's really gonna happen."

Levine says that is not the only part of their cultural conditioning that's going to require an adjustment in the workplace.

"I talked to the CEO of a major corporation recently and I said, 'What characterizes your youngest employees nowadays?'" says Levine. "And he said, 'There's one major thing.' He said, 'They can't think long-range. Everything has to be immediate, like a video game. And they have a lot of trouble sort of doing things in a stepwise fashion, delaying gratification. Really reflecting as they go along.' I think that's new."

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/ ... 6890.shtml
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Unread postby jato » Sun 26 Dec 2004, 21:27:26

But now, here comes the next large generation of boomers, and they are quite different. Where will they take us?


Maybe I am too cynical, but I don't think it matters. We aren't going to change ourselves internally. However, I do accept that the enormous pressures caused by declining energy (war, famine, disease, etc.) will eventually change us.

Is any "generation" better/worse than the others?
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Unread postby savethehumans » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 00:39:33

Maybe not, but these twenty-somethings don't have a CLUE. Everything's instant, high-tech, fast-forward. We, the original Baby Boomers, at least got a glance at how our parents and grandparents before us coped with life pre-Information Age. Our problem? We SAW how they managed, but never learned how to do it that way! So you've got a generation that SAW how it was before, but never did it, as the only teachers this new generation has.

Can YOU say "disaster in the making"? Cuz I sure can! 8O
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Unread postby Ayoob_Reloaded » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 02:06:40

savethehumans wrote:Maybe not, but these twenty-somethings don't have a CLUE. Everything's instant, high-tech, fast-forward. We, the original Baby Boomers, at least got a glance at how our parents and grandparents before us coped with life pre-Information Age. Our problem? We SAW how they managed, but never learned how to do it that way! So you've got a generation that SAW how it was before, but never did it, as the only teachers this new generation has.

Can YOU say "disaster in the making"? Cuz I sure can! 8O


I love how my cohort (13ers) is just totally ignored in this debate. I've seen it before. Whatever. You guys are going to wish we were on your side when the shit hits the fan.

No hope = no fear.
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Unread postby TrueKaiser » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 03:06:25

*shurgs* i was born in 1981. and have been a little short sighted before and to quote montey python
but i got better

i at least intend to start to make things out of wood just to get the hang of it. my computer case is the first project.
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Unread postby Itch » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 04:35:30

Yeah, maybe driving cars and playing loud music while drunk and high truly is the only thing people my age can do. But keep this in mind: We're a bit more desensitized to violence than most people think, which has very likely led to an increase in violent behavior. Both recognizeable and unrecognizeable demonstrations of this occur on a frequent basis.

They may very well be dumb, but don't expect these people to be dumb enough to realize the giant burden of shit that the older people left for them.

Unless the corpses can convince this group of people that the result of boomer waste is a good thing, or that the result of this waste is the fault of Arabs, gays, gay Arabs, or whoever the marketed scapegoat may be, then, well, I'll just say that I'm glad I'm not a fuckin' baby boomer.

If I was a baby boomer, I'd make sure I that I have gun. Viagra wouldn't save me this time.

And keep and eye on your children.
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Unread postby Schneider » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 08:25:14

Itch wrote:And keep and eye on your children.


Ah..something most boomers didn't have done at all :-D ! Almost a oxymoron :oops: ..

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Unread postby Kingcoal » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 09:17:42

I've noticed that there are a lot of followers and not many leaders. It's not all their fault. We've given them a world of ultra low paying jobs and sky high real estate. Although, I've noticed from the entry-level people where I work that the foreign born kids don't have these deficiencies. America has the ability to "upgrade" it's work force with immigration which is something special about America (and that includes Canada.)
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Unread postby frankthetank » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 12:55:19

Having many nieces and newphews that fit into this catergory makes me very scared!!! They have no clue...none...But one good thing ive seen is the tendency for them to be VERY open minded about everything(compared to their parents!!!)
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Unread postby frankthetank » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 13:28:39

I forgot to mention that i watched this too...my experience could be off from the truth due to the my families financial situation(overpaid government employees).

A couple years working @ Wal-Mart should bring some reality into their lives.
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The Fourth Turning

Unread postby johnmarkos » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 14:12:42

If you're interested in the topic of generations, I definitely recommend Strauss and Howe's books, The Fourth Turning, and their earlier Generations. They do a great job of describing the characterstics of the different generations now taking part in civic life.

Brief synopsis of the current living generations according to Strauss and Howe, along with their role in the next crisis (which I'm convinced is PO):

G.I. - hero - born 1901-1924 - no role in next crisis
Silent - artist - born 1925 - 1942 - possible moderating role in next crisis
Boomer - prophet - born 1943 - 1960 - spiritual moral leaders in next crisis
13er/Gen X - nomad - born 1961 - 1980 - operational leaders in next crisis
Millenials - hero - born 1981 - 2000 - workers/soliders in next crisis

Also, just little children - next artist generation - born 2000 - ~2020 - children in next crisis.

My big question about T4T -- do the Millenials have what it takes to be a hero generation?

John
13er - born 1970
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Unread postby Xelat » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 14:39:18

Until further notice this article - for me - falls under the "Expression in Print of Old Man's Disease". Yes - I'm between 20 and 28 (meanvalue?) - so thats my bias. But it seems to me this is just the age old expression on the part of the gray hairs of "These youngsters these days . . . [rant about irresponsibility follows]". They forget that they too were young, impatient and reckless at some stage too. They were also more creative, open to new ideas, and energetic than they are now. The Older cohorts pose as much threat to change as any cohort - witness the strength of the AARP lobby. Why have social security benefits for retirees increased dramatically against CPI while we cut every social program aimed at younger cohorts?

I think there are generational differences. But I don't think the younger genration is "lost" or "the problem". There are a great number of us who have managed to stay thin in a culture of fat, who have ditched the mobility of a car for a cell phone, and are begining to figure out things aren't as they seem. There is a powerful push for young Americans to integrate into the culture of consumption . . . but a surprising number have resisted and that sort of discipline will be very valuable in the coming years.
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Unread postby johnmarkos » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 16:46:53

Here's my perspective on the millenial generation as an outside observer. In pop culture, they seem to be following the expectations of Strauss and Howe built up in Generations and The Fourth Turning.

People under the age of 24 seem to have a more unified popular culture than gen X or boomers did. There appear to be fewer subgroups and counter cultures these days. This was expected by S + H. Another trend they anticipated was the redefining of pop culture to appeal to a wider generational audience. Back in the 80s, when I was a teenager, it wasn't "normal" for 70 year olds to like pop music. Nowadays, it's much more common for old people to like young people's music. S + H also anticipated the backlash against vulgarity in pop culture that began in full force this year with a wardrobe malfunction.

Millenial pop culture is not reactive against the previous generation, nor is it generally about creating new forms (e.g. rap or punk rock). Instead, they're recycling and refining existing forms of pop culture. This phenomenon was also anticipated by S + H -- the boomers created the main pop culture trends of this era. The trends were then made "extreme" by gen X and are now being refined and made more accessible by millenials.

What I do not see in millenials is the increase in civic mindedness and academic acheivement that S + H expected would occur. Someone who is more familiar with this generation could give a better picture of the generation than I. I would expect to see

1. higher standardized test scores than 13ers/gen X at the same age
2. better high school graduation rates
3. more participation in civic organizations and many new civic organizations created for the millenial generation's benefit
4. more volunteerism

Maybe a teacher or a member of this generation can tell me -- are these things happening? If so, can you provide evidence of these changes?

Perhaps the millenials are civic in a new way that older generations don't understand yet.
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Unread postby The_Virginian » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 16:52:58

And boy, are they naive. Totally naive, in terms of what's really gonna happen.


I thought most youth were naive by definition?

I know I was....

All this generational stupidity is a big ego stroke anyway...a mass market lable to an otherwise homoginized army of sheep.

Life will get tough, the soft will toughen up with it...else, they will perish.

So simple.
[urlhttp://www.youtube.com/watchv=Ai4te4daLZs&feature=related[/url] "My soul longs for the candle and the spices. If only you would pour me a cup of wine for Havdalah...My heart yearning, I shall lift up my eyes to g-d, who provides for my needs day and night."
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Unread postby johnmarkos » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 16:56:33

One more thought on the boomers/echo boomers question brought up by Monte.

My opinion (and that of Strauss and Howe) is that it's not the millenials ("echo boomers") who need to think long range -- it's the boomers.

In the vision of The Fourth Turning, the millenials will carry out the civic agenda created and articulated by the boomers (and transformed into simple "action items" by the 13ers). It seems to me that in the context of this vision, Monte is doing an excellent job of fulfilling the boomer generational role. :)
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Unread postby pilferage » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 17:42:32

I was born in 81, so I guess I'm on the fringe.
I've been in college for about 5 years (courtesy of grants and scholarships, no loans). My short term plans involve improving my academic background, stocking up on canned goods, buying two more bikes, researching building methods, materials, and codes (concentrating on cheap, durable, building techniques, and renewable resources, like those seen in earthship construction), researching mercedes and ford diesels (namely the 6.9l and mb I5 engines), researching svo systems, and saving up money so that I can put together a svo/diesel powered f-series van/truck, or MB sedan.

In the long term I'd like to build my own home on a nice chunk of 'out of the way' land, the aims will be self-sufficiency and cost. I might even use it as a vacation home if I am employed elsewhere.
If I can have something akin to a self-sufficient earthship built in an area with fertile land and a couple svo equiped vehicles set up in the next 5-10 years I'll be satisfied...
I'm also hoping I can figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life! ;)
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Unread postby johnmarkos » Mon 27 Dec 2004, 20:15:53

kochevnik wrote:It isn't the Boomers who S&H theorize will pull our collective asses out of the fire, it is the 13ers, the GenXers. What 4T says about the Boomers are the generation who, thru their instransigence and refusal to accept any other view of the world than their own that CAUSE the Crisis and exacerbate it the longer they remain in positions of power.


This description makes it sound like the boomers' leadership is worthless -- it's not. Unfortunately, we've only had "bad" boomers in power so far. However, I don't think the crisis has really arrived yet -- we're still in a 3T right now. 9/11 shook things up a bit but now they're back on schedule. Bush is our era's Calvin Coolidge. When the crisis begins, we probably get a few more years of clueless Boomer leadership followed by over a decade of clueful Boomer leadership.

The Millenials (the Echo Boomers in Monte-speak) are the cannon-fodder for the Crisis, whatever it turns out to be. They are not and never will be known for their ability as a generation to be deep thinkers. At least they aren't much like the Boomers who are convinced they are deep thinkers, but instead are more shallow, selfish and materialistic than any generation in history. The Boomers changed the world alright ... made it a helluva lot worse, and for that they will be reviled for generations to come and will be punished by the terrible times they will face in their old age.


The boomers, like every generation younger than them, have not yet had their moment in civic life. I reserve judgement on their generational character until their role in the crisis is complete.

One of the problems with the S&H theory is that it's difficult to describe a generation in aggregate, particularly while its members are still alive. How do you measure the materialism or selfishness of a generation?

It will fall to the pragmatic, hard-nosed, realistic 13ers (GenX) who will 'do the deed' and lead the Millenials to solve the problems that need to be solved in the most efficient manner possible. And for this they will receive little credit. Just like the last Crisis, it will be the Millenials who tout themselves as the saviors of the free world, while mostly ignoring those whose thoughtful decisions and planning made it all possible (think Patton).


According to the theory 13ers have a role, neither all good or all bad. It is similar for the other generations: each has its own strengths and faults, which are tempered by those of the others.

S&H note two possible scenarios for the next Crisis, first, that it comes as expected, around 2020.


I think your timing is off here: S&H predict that the crisis era will begin around 2005 and have its climax in the 2020s, just as the last one began in 1929 and had its climax in the early 1940s. FDR (Missionary) was president through most of the crisis.

If you look at the craziness of the last 5 years, it's quite clear that the Boomer leadership has done little but lead us deeper into the Quagmire. The truly frightening thought is that the Boomers have chosen as enemies of the state, OTHER Boomers from different societal structures (think OBL).

Who will provide sanity in a world where Boomers on all sides are convinced God is on 'their side' ?


I think you answered this question -- it's the 13ers. S&H seem 13ers as too cautious and conservative, boomers as too quick to take destructive action. It's when the two generations are both in power, enhancing each other's strength and cancelling the weaknesses, that leadership is most effective in a crisis.

At least that's how the theory goes.
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Unread postby CarlinsDarlin » Tue 28 Dec 2004, 10:21:53

johnmarkos,
It was my reading of the book The Fourth Turning that eventually led me to studying about Peak Oil. I'm a 13r myself, and I can see that Strauss and Howe are right on the mark with their analyses - and that is really scary. Preparing for the fourth turning led me to study many things including energy independence - which led me to Matt's site and these forums. Anyone who has not read the book should pick it up - it offers a great deal of insight into where we may be headed - and PO fits right into the scenario.
Kathy
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