News from the Generation Gap

My friend Jen over at Interface Media sent me this Economist article about a book called The Pinch: How Baby Boomers took their children’s future-and why they should give it back. Apparently, the number disparity between the baby boom and subsequent generations is more serious than I thought, at least in Britain. The entire population under 40 owns 15% of all real estate and financial assets in their country. At the same time, 20% of everyone in their 50’s owns a second home.

I don’t know if Canada is in the same situation, but these stats are something to think about. I don’t think this situation is entirely anyone’s fault. The Boomers acquired their wealth through years of accelerated technological advancement and industrial production. Now that technology has advanced and so much has been produced, the same sources of wealth that produced all that prosperity can’t be relied upon any more. The factories are either closed or moved to China. Mining and oil production is peaking all over the world. The rules have changed, but that’s okay. Your food budget (potentially) is a tenth of what it was a generation ago. There’s more public transit than there used to be. And computing power? A single paycheck from McDonald’s can put you in touch with the world. We might not make as much as our parents, but if we can make use of what we have available, it might not matter.