Monday, December 19, 2011

Inter-generational conflict

The Edmonton Journal has an interesting story today about generational differences in income and prospects. Now, I’ve done my fair share of complaining about baby boomers in the workplace. And I’ve gone so far as to put a former colleague (who would not freakin’ retire) on the mailing list for a variety of senior lodges and leaving him job applications for WalMart and McDonalds mixed in with his paper work.

What resonated most with me in the Journal article was the need for two-income families to maintain a middle class lifestyle. This reflects wage stagnation over time for workers, while the cost of housing, energy and (most recently) food has increased.

The notion of generational conflict is certainly an interesting one. For those of you GenXers out there, the University of Toronto Press has recently published The making of a generation: Children of the 1970s in adulthood which largely validates much of what we’ve experienced.

This includes more education but tenuous labour market attachment, growth in economic inequity, delayed marriage and parenthood, work-life imbalance and a significant growth in low-distress mental health issues. Yet the culprit identified by the authors is not inter-generational conflict, but rather state social policy which facilitates externalizing the costs of social reproduction onto families.

-- Bob Barnetson

No comments: