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Millennials have a second once-in-a-lifetime chance to get back up off the canvas

Avoid the doom and gloom


So far I haven't responded directly to writing I have seen online. So this is a first for me. Welcome to my response to Millennials Don't Stand a Chance. I would suggest having a read before continuing. I have previously written about what Gen Z can expect out of coronavirus.


Briefly the article talks about the poor economic outcomes millennials can expect as a result of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and coronavirus. Factually speaking, I think the article is spot on. Graduating during recessions, with higher unemployment, is devastating for millennial's income potential. At a point in your life when you are meant to be paying off debt and saving for a house you get struck by this terrible economic wave you can't control. Its awful. Drawing attention to these types of figures is useful, though I have no idea what governments can do about it. A subsidy for being young isn't a thing - though welfare for being old is right so there is a precedent.



While I think the article is right, on an individual level it's not helpful for millennials to think of ourselves as a "lost generation". Note the word individual in the above sentence, it is very important, I know that the market will be tougher and on average society will be worse off for the time being. Though as individuals, we don't have to be a statistic. An average fall in income is just that. It ignores distributional impacts. Some people will be worse off than others coming out of this crisis and some won't.


Understand the facts and how they affect you, then look for ways to fight back. That might be learning new skills, voting for decent welfare, or negotiating harder on salary or that house you want. It depends. If you want a better world coming out of this crisis there has never been a better time to mobilise (from within your own homes of course). Don't forget, millennials have been here before with the GFC. While it may seem outside our control, no one is the economy's play thing. Markets are made and broken by people.


My point is that while it looks bad, don't give in to the idea that what's coming is out of your control and automatically bad. Some of it is, I am not totally naive, but what you do with your brain and your skills is not. The mandate now for a different world has never been stronger. Young people need to grab that opportunity and push for the political and economic systems they want.


Long term with the population age pyramid being as it is millennials are critical to the workforce. The dependency ratio, the ratio of non-working to working people is expected to rise significantly during millennial's lifetimes. Yes that means millennials will be supporting a large number of older people's pensions. But guess what, it also means with the right skills you will be in demand like never before. Skilled workers should have more bargaining power.. With fewer people working per head of population, theoretically the demand-supply equation could be in millennial's favour. Of course there are the effects of automation and AI which will whittle this away, but you can't do away with people entirely. In areas like health or IT which require deep skills you can always expect demand.


I am a bit mindlessly optimistic in this post. I am fully aware that the odds aren't in millennial's favour - particularly if you have skills that are not in demand. Millennials have another big fight on their hands, I hope we are up to the challenge.



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A New Zealand based politics and economics blog

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