Next Stop: Feudalism

I want to recommend Joel Kotkin’s post at Quillette on the decline of aspiration all over the developed world. Here’s a snippet:

In the United States, about 90 percent of children born in 1940 grew up to experience higher incomes than their parents, according to researchers at the Equality of Opportunity Project. That figure dropped to only 50 percent of those born in the 1980s. The US Census bureau estimates that, even when working full-time, people in their late twenties and early thirties earn $2000 less in real dollars than the same age cohort in 1980. More than 20 percent of people aged 18 to 34 live in poverty, up from 14 percent in 1980. Three-quarters of American adults today predict their child will not grow up to be better-off than they are, according to Pew.

These sentiments are even more pronounced in France, Britain, Spain, Italy, and Germany. In Japan, a remarkable three-quarters of those polled said they believe things will be worse for the next generation. Even in China, many young people face a troubling future; in 2017, eight million graduates entered the job market, but most ended up with salaries that could have been attained by going to work in a factory straight out of high school.

I cannot tell you what factors underpin the attitudes of young Australians or young French men and women. The preponderance of the evidence here in the United States suggests that young people are not forming families, not buying homes and all of the things associated with homeownership, not because they prefer it that way but because they can’t afford to and the main reasons for that are educational debt and slow growth in the number of jobs they thought that more education would provide them.

Among my siblings and me half of us have incomes greater than our parents’ ever were. The other half earned less than our family did when we were growing up. Of their children only one is likely to have a family income that equals that of his parents. Most are tenuously holding on to middle class status. About half have post-graduate degrees.

2 comments… add one
  • Gray Shambler Link

    I’ve complained before about the Federal TRIO program,
    Many minority youth simply do not know what to DO when they leave school. They have been steered away from college prep work in H.S. but then sold on college through debt by professional shills, most of them young minority adults, who give uplifting speech about how anyone can be whatever they want to be, with a college degree. They are very effective at this. They are also proud of targeting “first
    generation college students”. This makes sense because these children’s parents are ignorant of the professional world as well.
    The TRIO program is no better than ACORN, and should be abolished.

  • TastyBits Link


    “How would the descendents of black slaves be doing if they hadn’t been brought to the Americas (New World)?” or any variants is a racist statement.

    It is equivalent to “How would the aborted fetuses be doing if they were born into poverty?” or “How would grandma be doing if we allowed her to live after the broken hip?”

    The world is not a better place because of slavery, abortion, or euthanasia.

    This has been a Public Service Announcement.

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