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It’s never been easy, it may well be more difficult… May 17, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Reading the IT at the weekend I was struck by this, a piece on Stefanie Preissner of RTÉ’s latest series on ‘how to be an adult’. There’s no answer to that one – I’ve never cracked that particular code and not sure I want to as my seventh decade on the planet looms ever closer. But be that as it may in the course of the article there was this:

The new show is based on the advice of experts. “You’re not getting random people’s opinions. We went to a mortgage advisor, a pensions advisor, a doctor, a dietician.”
But didn’t every generation just wing it in the adult world? “Maybe no one ever knew about mortgages or pensions but it was much easier; with pensions you just went into your job and you just paid into it at source.
“With mortgages, now it’s like the hunger games, there are no houses.
“Those institutions are not ready for us. We’re also so tech savvy and internet connected, there is so much information. I don’t know who to trust. ”

Now before there’s a sort of slide into sterile and pointless stuff about generation snowflake, which is an hugely unfair and kind of stupid jibe (and this sort of stuff typifies the stupidity of it), I do think that people did wing it. And I think that the idea that only now is there a situation without stability is a dubious argument. I would agree that there is greater instability – particularly in the middle classes. But working politically from the 80s onwards few will forget how difficult it was for people to get state housing. And other areas. Take pensions for example. The idea that only now are they vanishing ‘at source’ is simply incorrect. Most workers in this state never had occupational pensions. Home ownership? I’ve only one friend, anecdotal I know, but not unuseful, who purchased a house in the early 1990s. For the rest of us it was ten years or fifteen years later when we were tipping our forties or well into them. And so on.

It seems to have been easier in the 60s and 70s but then there were eye watering interest rates. And one has to wonder how much is retrospective positive nostalgia.

And so much just wasn’t referenced because for a tranche matters were proceeding rather well all things considered. Now that’s changed to a degree – perhaps with more in the middle classes feeling the pinch in relation to these areas and suddenly areas that weren’t discussed at all in the media are coming into sharper focus.

I actually think Preissner’s approach is fairly sussed. For example:

What of the idea that younger people now have too many choices, I say, trying my hand at playing the elder in this conversation. Preissner doesn’t think the world was presented to her like that. A career guidance teacher told her not to do drama and get a proper degree. “Like, how reckless is that.”
By the nature of technology, hers is an “instant gratification generation.” And “there’s a sort of Instagram generation thing of ‘I feel entitled to take my own picture of Bondi Beach’, like I have seen it and now I want to do it. That’s a good thing, but yes it does it makes you feel like everything is achievable and when you’re not achieving it it’s like, oh god there’s something wrong.”


She hopes it won’t be dismissed as millennial nonsense. “It’s so unhelpful. It’s like, can I just tell you that I’m anxious about my future without you telling me that I’m reckless and that I buy too many lattes. Can someone meet me where I’m at?”

What would be good would be more effort to weave this into a political/economic/class approach though.


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