I know there have been a lot of TV programmes recently summing up the noughties in many and varied ways but I caught a bit of one the other night that gave me some food for thought....
The main things that jumped out at me were:
1) The financial generation gap
I have always realised that the over 50s and under 30s financial gap was pretty huge and I even remember hearing that 80% of finance is owned by the over 50s but this programme worded it in a way that hit hard. In fact the one question, 'why aren't young people making more of a fuss?' jolted me!
While the over 50s are cashing in on property that they own outright (as it probably cost them just a four or five figure sum) and receiving pensions that have actually worked to fund relatively deluxe lifestyles, the younger generations are not only having to get seriously in debt for a university education (a great lesson in being used to debt so early on in life!!!), they are having to couple up and both work to manage their huge mortgages on tiny houses and are delaying having kids to ensure career progression and financial capability to be able to fund childcare and said mortgages.
This is a social inequality trend that people appear to have just accepted. It's having quite significant impact on the lifestyles of young people. For example, very few young parents can afford to stay at home full time. I can hear my mother moaning about the damage done to kids by not having a parent at home with the children when in reality it's simply a luxury few young people can afford. It also makes sense that because of the fraction of finance young people have to dedicate to education and house buying, that they will never make the progression to the lifestyle of the current over 50s.
Those young people lucky enough to have parents that can 'help them out' might be OK but the vast majority are living a lifestyle and budget the over 50s would really struggle with. Can this ever be redressed?
2) The mosquito - the machine that makes a high pitched noise that the over 20s cannot hear but the under 20s find incredibly irritating.
I had heard of this but thought it was an urban myth! About 4000 were sold. Wow - how come this was not understood to be an infringement of human rights? Is it because we don't let our young people have much of a voice?
How have young people become quite so demonised - to the point where some people want to irritate them away with a terrible noise - like vermin? Surely the vast majority are wonderful, vibrant, things with far more sense than I had at their age (or even now come to that). What an injustice and ill treatment of human beings.
3) Age segregation in the UK
London has become younger.
Former traditional retirement places are now for the over 70s and 80s
People are retiring to different places now e.g. Lincolnshire, Wales, Cheltenham
With different areas tending to having predominant age groups what social change will this cause? The generations don't tend to mix too well in the UK as it is.
4) Re-marketing alcohol to young people
In the 90s, young people were our raving: popping pills and not drinking enough - according to the alcohol companies. Thus the production of alcopops and marketing that tapped into the rave scene e.g. we have added caffeine to our alcohol so you can buzz all night. Now alcohol is well and truly back in vogue with young people. I saw that happen - I was there. But it's only when it's summed up like that that you see what really happened!
Every decade in the 20th century appeared to have had a distinct 'flavour' and perhaps this is only ever seen retrospectively. I do wonder how we will grow to see the noughties. Perhaps it will become seen as the decade when technology took us away from real life and generations to come will have pictures in texts books of us sitting at computers and oh how they will laugh at us!