Saturday, April 27, 2019

College Student: My Generation Is Blind to the Prosperity Around Us

The title describes the author, Alyssa Ahlgren, who's in grad school for her MBA.  It's a short article but definitely worth a read.
I’m sitting in a small coffee shop near Nokomis trying to think of what to write about. I scroll through my newsfeed on my phone looking at the latest headlines of Democratic candidates calling for policies to “fix” the so-called injustices of capitalism. I put my phone down and continue to look around. I see people talking freely, working on their MacBook’s, ordering food they get in an instant, seeing cars go by outside, and it dawned on me. We live in the most privileged time in the most prosperous nation and we’ve become completely blind to it. Vehicles, food, technology, freedom to associate with whom we choose. These things are so ingrained in our American way of life we don’t give them a second thought.
Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently said to Newsweek talking about the millennial generation, “An entire generation, which is now becoming one of the largest electorates in America, came of age and never saw American prosperity.”

Never saw American prosperity. Let that sink in. When I first read that statement, I thought to myself, that was quite literally the most entitled and factually illiterate thing I’ve ever heard in my 26 years on this earth. Now, I’m not attributing Miss Ocasio-Cortez’s words to outright dishonesty. I do think she whole-heartedly believes the words she said to be true. Many young people agree with her, which is entirely misguided. My generation is being indoctrinated by a mainstream narrative to actually believe we have never seen prosperity. I know this first hand, I went to college, let’s just say I didn’t have the popular opinion, but I digress.
"Never saw American Prosperity".  It's stunning when you think of it in those terms, but the attitude that AOC voices is obvious all around us.  The US has roughly 5% of the world's population but contributes about 25% of world GDP; global prosperity, if you will.  Producing that quarter of the world's GDP gets us derided by those same college students for using more than 5% of the world's energy to generate that outsize contribution!  Instead, they should be asking why the other major economic powers aren't contributing as much.  The US has lifted more people out of abject poverty, spread more freedom and democracy, and has created more innovation in technology and medicine than any other nation in human history. When a disaster happens somewhere in the world, US citizens routinely donate more out of their own pockets than any other country's citizens, and generally giving more than entire nations do with tax money (that is, not voluntary charity). 
Why then, with all of the overwhelming evidence around us, evidence that I can even see sitting at a coffee shop, do we not view this as prosperity? We have people who are dying to get into our country. People around the world destitute and truly impoverished. Yet, we have a young generation convinced they’ve never seen prosperity, and as a result, elect politicians dead set on taking steps towards abolishing capitalism. Why? The answer is this, my generation has only seen prosperity. We have no contrast. We didn’t live in the great depression, or live through two world wars, or see the rise and fall of socialism and communism. We don’t know what it’s like not to live without the internet, without cars, without smartphones. We don’t have a lack of prosperity problem. We have an entitlement problem, an ungratefulness problem, and it’s spreading like a plague. 
Churchill spoke of socialism as the "Gospel of Envy" and the daily media spew reeks of that envy taken all the way to resentment.  In the US we have people living in the top 10% of incomes in the country resenting the small percentage making more than they do.  Society stratified so that everyone resents the next higher level of income, with most of those people thinking how bad they have it instead of how good. 

(generic hipster-looking coffee shop image) 


  1. I've noticed that attitude among the young people for quite some time now, but could never understand it. That young lady's article explained it perfectly to me. I hope she goes far in her career!

  2. So it's basically they're too complacent about what's around them. Got it. Figures.

    Let them try to live on $1,500 for two people and afford food and meds. Ha! Losers!

  3. Let me summarize the views of my Generation Zyklon son -
    We can see the prosperity all around us. And we can't afford to partake in it. And we probably never will.

    Remember - the government says inflation is 3%, when it's really 10%. Your raises are tied to the official rates, not the real ones. Paychecks have lost an enormous amount of purchasing power over the last 20 years. The young people can't afford homes. They can't even afford apartments. College has been degraded to worthlessness, even as the costs have risen astronomically.

    1. Just teach your son that if his proposed solution is bigger government that his solution is exactly what's causing the problem. Big central government and big central banking destroying free and open markets is the root cause of every problem.

    2. I've taught him well. The internet has taught him more. Let's just say he's begun his investment planning with heavy metals.

  4. With all the free video lectures, the costs of learning college-level subjects like how to build suspension bridges has dropped dramatically. However, operating businesses to do those newer, cheaper techniques has been banned. Sometimes the ban is indirect, where the consumer's money that would be spent on those competing businesses has already been taxed away to be spent on the government school.

    Kurzweil's growth of technology plot showed a faster-than-exponential trend line. His measurements of human history plot showed punctuated equilibrium, timeperiods of no progress which every so often popped up to meet the trend line. Technology is a military force multiplier, and overall technology supplies more advantages to individuals than centralization. Soon, all the monopolies will end, as government destroys its own logistics by bankrupting itself and mandating inefficient production methods. Whatever middle class survives the purge will discover itself to be nearly independently wealthy, and barely have to work for a living.

  5. I'm not sure if my previous comment got fat-fingered away . . . if so, please delete whichever one strikes your fancy . . .

    The current generation knows nothing of a time without prosperity. In general, neither have I. My first ride was a really basic pickup truck, well over a decade old. It had an AM radio, FM was for fancy people. It had a rubber floor, a plastic bench seat, no air conditioning, windows that you had to roll down (no electric motors) and a manual transmission. That's still better than 90% of the world today.

    I can't even buy a car without all that junk in it (I'd keep the air conditioning, maybe, but I don't need air bags, thank you very much).

    We live in a forest of prosperity and can't even see it because we have it so good. Perhaps certain people could use some time in a place lacking prosperity - there are plenty of those around the globe.

    I'd even watch that on reality television!

    1. This is the only comment I see, so yeah, the first must have been swallowed by the resident black hole.

      My first car was a 1972 Pinto - exploding gas tank and all. AM only radio, nothing powered, manual windows, manual transmission, no air conditioning. I'll always keep the A/C. Count me among those who say the swamp here couldn't have been settled without mosquito control and air conditioning.

      About an hour north of here is a place called Mosquito Lagoon. Early settlers said the mosquitoes could kill a horse. Not from the bites but from being so thick they'd fill the horse's lungs and suffocate them.

      BTW, you may have noticed I've added you to the blog roll.

    2. I did! Thanks so much!! I need to figure out how to add one to mine - I just worry about losing all my content if I change templates . . .