From The Economist - JAN. 2016
When the young get older
Their time will come
Ignore the moral panic about lazy, self-obsessed millennials. The world will be fairer when they run it
SOME PEOPLE DESPAIR of the young. Books such as "Generation Me" by Jean Twenge and "The Road to Character" by David Brooks describe young Americans as deluded narcissists. Having constantly been told they are special, they are now far more likely than their elders to believe that "if I ruled the world, it would be a better place" or that "somebody should write a biography of me."
They are materialistic, too. About 65% of American college students expect to become millionaires, and some are not too fussy about how they get to the top. In one study of high-school students, 95% admitted to having cheated in tests. The millennials' expectations of life are so out of kilter with reality that "they will probably get less of what they want than any previous generation," frets Ms Twenge.
Moral panic is not confined to America. Chinese parents worry that their "little emperors" have grown up lazy, spoiled and promiscuous. When a video of a young couple having sex in the fitting room of a trendy clothes shop in Beijing went viral last year, officials vowed to arrest the culprits, spluttering that their behaviour was "against socialist values". Young Beijingers just laughed; a number made pilgrimages to the store to take defiant selfies outside.
Where some see a generation in crisis, others think the young are adapting quite well to the challenges of a changing world. They flit from job to job not because they are fickle but because job security is a thing of the past. They demand flexible hours and work-life balance because they know they don't have to be in the office to be productive. They spend six hours a day online because that is how they work, and also how they relax. Their enthusiasm for new ideas (and lack of spare cash) has kickstarted money-saving technologies from Uber to WhatsApp. They take longer to settle down and have children, but so what? They will also be working far later in life than their parents did.
What will the world be like when today's young people are in charge?
Some worry that it will be more cynical. In China, for example, eight out often students say they want to join the Communist Party, but of those who do, only 4% are motivated by a belief in the system, observes Eric Fish in "China's Millennials: The Want Generation". Party membership opens doors, and millennials grab opportunities where they can.
Others take a cheerier view. When the millennials rule, society will be "more meritocratic and better governed," says a young journalist in Malaysia, where the 62-year-old prime minister has given a confusing explanation of why nearly $700m was found in his bank accounts. (He denies wrongdoing.) When the millennials rule, the world may also be greener. They have shown great ingenuity in using resources more efficiently by sharing cars, bikes and spare rooms with strangers.
The world will surely grow socially more liberal.
Young people nearly everywhere are more comfortable with homosexuality than their elders, partly because they are less religious but mostly because they know more openly gay people. In rich countries the debate is practically over; in developing nations the liberals are winning. A Pew poll in 36 countries found the young to be more tolerant than the old in 30 of them, often dramatically so: 18-29-year-old South Koreans were four times likelier to be gay-friendly than those over 50. Most millennials in China and Brazil now approve of same-sex marriage, an idea unheard of a generation ago. Even more agree that "people are exploring their sexuality more than in the past."
The young are less racist than the old, too. In a survey by JWT, an advertising agency, 86% of youngsters in Brazil, Russia, India and China agreed that "my generation is accepting of people from different races," and 76% said they differed from their parents on this topic. American students are so sensitive to any hint of racism that they sometimes see bigotry where there is none. When a professor at Yale suggested that students should be free to choose their own Halloween costumes, activists furiously protested that without strict rules, someone might wear an offensive one. Still, today's over-sensitivity is vastly preferable to the segregation of yesteryear.
Tolerance is unlikely to erode as the millennials grow older. They may grow more fiscally conservative as they earn more and notice how much of their pay is gobbled up by tax. They may move to the suburbs and buy a car when they have children. But they will not suddenly take against their friends who look different or love differently.
In several countries the young are warier than their elders of their governments using military force, partly because they are the ones who get drafted. Young Chinese are less likely than their parents to favour sending in troops to settle territorial disputes, despite the Communist Party's efforts to fire them up with an aggrieved nationalism. American millennials see global warming as a bigger threat than China or Islamic fundamentalism; for older Americans it is the other way around.
In every generation, the young are the first to take to the streets to demand reform. Sometimes their fury leads nowhere, but autocrats still fear it. That is why China's government rolled tanks over the Tiananmen Square protesters, and why it censors social media today. Young Africans, for their part, may not put up indefinitely with gerontocrats such as 91-year-old Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and 82-year-old Paul Biya of Cameroon.
In democracies, young people will some day realise that signing online petitions is no substitute for voting (just as their elders started voting when they acquired grey hairs and mortgages and sent their children to government schools). When the young show up at polling stations, democratic governments will heed their views. And when the millennials start calling the shots more widely in society, they will do so for a long time. For thanks to steady advances in medical technology, they will remain healthy and able to work for longer than any previous generation. Indeed, if scientists' efforts to crack the "ageing code" in human genes bear fruit, many of them will live past 120. ■
YES THE TIME WILL COME WHEN THE YOUTH WILL BE THE MIDDLE-AGED, AND SOCIETIES WILL BE RUN BY THEM. ON THE PHYSICAL SIDE OF THE PLANET, THEY MAY INDEED BRING IN A "GREENER" EARTH. BUT IN MORALITY AND THE LAWS OF THE ETERNAL GOD….. IT WILL BE AS JESUS SAID BEFORE HIS COMING AGAIN, "…EVIL SHALL ABOUND AND THE LOVE OF MANY SHALL WAX COLD." TRUE LOVE, THE LOVE OF GOD, AND THE LOVE HE PRESCRIBES, WILL DIMINISH. AS THE PROPHETS OF OLD PROCLAIMED THE DAY WILL COME, IT HAS COME ALREADY, WHEN EVIL SHALL BE CALLED GOOD, AND GOOD SHALL BE CALLED EVIL.
THE DAY WILL COME WHEN ALL THAT IS WRITTEN [IN PROPHECY] SHALL COME TO PASS.
WHATEVER GENERATION IT MAY BE, THE BOOK OF REVELATION WILL BE FULFILLED!!