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The ME Decade – Boomers, Welcome to the Result vol15

December 17, 2012

Welcome back to the Boomers – WTF blog, where our future has yet to be written, and we have time to figure out what our legacy will be.

Is this really an ego question – we usually have such high expectations of everything except ourselves, that we are doomed to not meet them, thus disappointment is a reality ? Perhaps we should use the process of goal setting to ascertain the difference between what we expect and where we are today. This gap seems big to some people, and smaller to others.

An example would be the loss of good paying jobs and the growth of income inequality. How can these be occurring under Capitalism. Are they a built in result, or are we just blind to the rules of the game. To begin a strategy session we need to discover the current facts. To dwell on one, let’s discuss the idea that we Boomers have lost the plot, as the English might say, on our individual role in making Capitalism work.

Darwin’s theory of evolution is a theory for at least two reasons. First, experts would have to study us for a real long time to determine whether we evolved naturally, or evolved from invertebrates as is the story. Looking at other species that are less complex will not confirm our status as the predominate predator in our environment. You would probably need a time machine to really prove the theory.

The second reason the theory remains exactly that is due to punctuated equilibrium. This is the idea that there are tipping points in evolution, places or events that occur due to unforeseen circumstances that could not be explained naturally. For example, scientists that study Darwinism have shown that brain evolution took an amazing leap, when it was determined that the brain’s size can not be explained by natural history. Unlike our disappearing tails, brain size increased faster than the available skull fragments allow timeframe wise. Something caused an event, a tipping point, perhaps a freak accident, or a birth defect – something to very quickly cause the brain span to dramatically increase in a short amount of time. A much shorter timeframe than the theory would have allowed for. We can only guess that this event caused our species to accelerate our progress, to pull away from the apes and monkeys that used to be our competitors.  This unexplained event allows for many guesses or interpretations, including the wacky, like alien experimentation.

Punctuated equilibrium also works in economics, and is in the news recently. Many highly regarded Economists are talking about our jobless recovery, and are starting to move away from simple explanations as to why we are losing good jobs worldwide, like blaming salary inequality. The discussion is now turning towards a new tipping point, the same type of occurrence that happened between the agricultural and the industrial revolutions. This tipping point caused major economic disruption before settling into a time when people moved off the farm, started learning new skills, and started growing industrial productivity into major wealth creation.  

Are we in a new economic epoch, and how painful will the transition be ?  How do Boomers, with all of our experience, wealth, energy, and time, react ?  Do we wait to have this change done to us, or do we reach out and influence the coming changes ? 

Part of the equation has to include demographics. There are more Boomers in our cohort than in any other cohort in history. That’s a lot of political power and economical clout to be managed. The worry is that all this power is slowly becoming immaterial as we mess with the rules of Capitalism 

How, you ask, can we be so successful, and yet be obsolete? Perhaps its because we are not really seeing the future. The best example of this today is the increased welfare cost being riveted to the engine of Capitalism, adding extra weight that is unproductive. Didn’t Mitt Romney discuss this point in his now infamous speech about the 47% of people who live off a government hand-out.  

Are our expectations such that we now budget for them, and want more ? Are the French just lazy, or did they not get the memo that a welfare state has rules ? Boomers did not pay enough into the programs like Medicare to fund them independently, so now our kids have to fund it. This is inexcusable.

The point about the French is a classic example. France, as did most of Europe, thought it had the formula just right. Work hard, play hard, pay taxes, and everything will work out. The Germans seem to have kept this societal contract, but the rest of Europe has lost the plot. Some, like the Italians, stopped paying taxes, fudging the formula. The Greeks do not work, fudging the formula. The French, well, let’s consider them a slow moving train wreck, and pull up a chair to watch the crash.

So, no new well paying jobs, lots of low paying jobs that citizens do not want, emigration requirements forced on countries to  get the skills needed to maintain GDP, and increased debt we are passing onto our kids. If that is not an economic wake-up call for Boomers, what is ?

Next time in Boomers – wtf, what European country would you like to live in, because each has benefits and consequences, and if you do not pick, someone else will pick for you.

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One Comment
  1. 133591 579385What a lovely weblog. Ill surely be back. Please preserve writing! 461423

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