Tuesday, May 21, 2019

For Millennials and Generation Z Capitalism's Future is Bleak

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

The Wall Street Journal, the dominant voice of US finance capital, often has interesting and informational articles on its front page saving the Op ed and editorial pages at the back for the more right wing and fascistic type prose.  Today's edition has an article about the crisis that Millennials, those Americans born between 1981 and 1996, find themselves in, (there are crises throughout US society that are leading to an explosion). They are, the article points out, ".....approaching middle age in worse financial shape than every living generation ahead of them." Both Millennials and Generation Z, those born between the mid 90's and early 2000's are pessimistic about the future and who can blame them.
Source: Wall Street Journal

According to a recent Gallup poll:
Fewer Than Half of Young Americans View Capitalism Positively
Americans aged 18 to 29 are as positive about socialism (51%) as they are about capitalism (45%). This represents a 12-point decline in young adults' positive views of capitalism in just the past two years and a marked shift since 2010, when 68% viewed it positively. Meanwhile, young people's views of socialism have fluctuated somewhat from year to year, but the 51% with a positive view today is the same as in 2010.  Older Americans have been consistently more positive about capitalism than socialism. For those 50 and older, twice as many currently have a positive view of capitalism as of socialism.

The Wall Street Journal article describes the effect that the inhuman economic system we live under has on people:

"For the Cochrans, the price was personal. Joseph Cochran, a real-estate manager, proposed to Tasha Brown in 2012. She said yes. Then Ms. Brown, a consumer finance attorney, realized that combining their salaries as a married couple could drive up their income-based student-loan payments. They ditched their wedding plans but forged a life together. Each wear wedding rings. Ms. Brown, 36, legally changed her name and became Ms. Cochran.

The couple run a financial-advice website, whittling away at their combined student debt of $377,000. “If we had zero student loans we’d be married,” Ms. Cochran said. “We have to be far more strategic and creative in order to try to fit everything in around our student loans.” Their strategy included moving from Philadelphia to Maryland four years ago. Ms. Cochran struggled to get pregnant, and the couple chose a state that mandated insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization, she said. The Cochrans now have a 3-year-old son.

Ms. Cochran also has a 17-year-old daughter from a previous relationship and has promised to pay for college as long as the teenager studies at an in-state school. Last fall, the young woman enrolled in community college to get a head start. Her teenager “likes the idea of being able to graduate without having any student loans,”

Ms. Cochran said. The family takes a more practical view of higher education, based, in part, on hard-won experience with jobs and school loans. “We tell her to think a lot about how much is a given major going to pay,” Ms. Cochran said."

The violence, domestic and social. The alcohol, drug abuse, and most importantly the mass shootings, that occur almost daily in US society are all market driven just like the extreme weather. But reading those few sentences above and the negative effect real policies and legislation that is made and enacted by human beings has on people is staggering. The Journal article also suggests that one reason for the "slow progress"  for the Millennials is "bad luck" because they entered the workforce during a downturn. You see, they will find anything to blame other than capitalism itself, the system. Downturns, slumps, are an integral part of the so-called free market economy. They cannot be eradicated any more than racism and war can. They have "bad luck" alright; they were born in a system of production that is brutally exploitative, violent and in its last gasps.

While millennials are better educated than previous generations, "Those college diplomas have come at a high price. And the Journal goes on to point out that, "The average student-loan balance for millennials in 2017 was $10,600, more than twice the average owed by Gen X in 2004...". But this reflects that education, like medicine and other social necessities are primarily businesses in the US. What should be a human right in a civilized society is actually a profit making venture first and foremost. Millions of people are in debt their entire lives and this debt bondage not only dictates their behavior, their health and in the end whether they live or die. It also delays the resistance to it as people are overwhelmed with day to day survival and fear of slipping further toward the bottom. It will guarantee the explosive nature of the mass resistance too it when it comes.

And before I decided to write this blog post I saw a headline that the Trump administration is looking to lay sanctions on any group or country I assume, that participates in aid to the crisis ridden population in Venezuela whose lives have been driven to the brink of the abyss partially through US sanctions. With the US freezing Venezuela's assets, it cannot buy necessities. The excuse for these new sanctions is that aid groups are involved in in money laundering.

The other day I was accused of "hating America much" for criticizing US foreign policy and accusing the US government of being the world's leading terrorists.  The US at the moment s destroying people's lives on a global scale unprecedented in the modern era. People live in constant fear of what it will do next. It is terrorizing the Middle East making claims that it is being threatened by Iran  without providing any evidence at all. The US overthrew the Iranian government in 1953, as well as the Guatemalan one and installed murderous dictators in both. What madness is this?

We only have to look at how US capitalism treats its own citizens to understand exactly how it treats other peoples and invariably the weak and defenseless. Our infrastructure is crumbling. We have over 2 million in prison, more than any other country, and over 50% of them people of color.  Five immigrant children have died in the immediate period in US detention centers, ripped from the families if they had them. Homelessness has skyrocketed and especially so here in the Bay Area in Oakland and San Francisco, the city with the most  billionaires in the world and home prices and rents that most people cannot afford.

There is, as always, a positive side to the negative. The filth that inhabits the US body politic and the boardrooms of the global multi-nationals have gone too far, are overconfident, emboldened by the predator in Chief. The recent assault on women's reproductive and other rights have crossed the Rubicon and people will be forced by the severity of the attacks on US workers and the middle class to respond. For the more astute and serious sections of the US bourgeois, Trump's insanity, running the country like one of his hotels is undermining US capitalism on a world scale.  If there should be an accident in the Middle East or Iran is attacked, and the crazed Zionists would welcome it, Iran will likely retaliate and close the straits of Hormuz disrupting the flow of oil, one fifth of which passes through those straits. Capital likes equilibrium and stability and Trump is no help there.

There's a hard rain gonna fall as the song goes.  Here is a link to the Wall Street Journal article quoted here.

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