This is a book review I wrote a little over a year ago, but I believe the topic being discussed is one that will be increasingly relevant.
It clearly hasn’t become less relevant, because I’m regularly seeing articles being published making similar claims to those raised in the book.
Sadly, the comments sections following those articles seem to show that many are falling for the misguided claims that blame a whole generation of older citizens for the difficulties being experienced by younger citizens.
Have the “older” generation robbed their children and grandchildren of opportunities to which they should be entitled? Or are those younger generations expecting to have benefits now that their parents and grandparents had to work towards over two or three decades?
One indication I’ve seen more than once are comparisons between the rates of home ownership for those under 30 and the rates for those in their 50s and above. Those comparisons seem to make a convincing argument, until you ask two pertinent questions:
1) How many of those home-owning 50+ year olds owned their houses or apartments when they were under 30?
2) How many of todays under 30s will own their own homes by the time they are in the 50+ age group?
I really expected and WANTED to like this book. I agreed with its general message: that younger generations were being disadvantaged in today’s world. With jobs hard to get and housing, both rental and purchased, priced well beyond their means, they faced far greater difficulties than I did at their age.
Jennifer Rayner attributes this to an older more privileged generation (mine) not willing to give up advantages and effectively denying opportunities to a younger generation (hers). And in taking that narrow focus I believe she sets off on the wrong path.
It’s not far into the book that she started to lose my empathy, when I read:
In earlier years, our parents’ generation moved steadily through pay rises and promotions as people filed out of work at 55 and freed up the ranks above them. But having got old themselves, they’re not giving up on those great careers. That…
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