It seems common to most of the older living generations for the last couple of centuries that they have viewed the younger generation as going downhill, along with the whole world getting worse. The facts, however, strongly suggest just the opposite.
Just a look at the population growth in the world, with it shooting up in the last 3 centuries, we can see that the world has become exponentially more habitable and hospitable. In fact, this chart is nothing short of stunning:
So the older generation gets it wrong all the time, and I would suggest that once again, they are getting wrong, spectacularly wrong. I am writing this blog about the “Millennials”, ie the generation who were still kids at the year 2000 as well as those born since. I am going to suggest that this generation will prove to be the greatest in history (in spite of as much as I would prefer to think that mine is! 🙂 )
The complaints against this generation go like this: too pampered, too many video games, too much instant gratification, etc. One random stranger walked by my daughter and her friends in Tim Horton’s last week and blurted: “stop texting and read a book!” and quickly disappeared. Well, they weren’t texting but researching for some information, but such was the automatic bias of this stranger. There are also many biases against this generation that are flat out misinformed. Many of the older generation also think this generation is getting more immoral regarding things like drugs, booze, sex, and violence but I will demonstrate that many of these complaints are unfounded.
Thanks to a recent article in The Economist, here is what is really going on with this generation:
There’s much more decline of negative things: cigarette smoking is down (although cannabis is up in some areas as they move toward legalization), they are less rude and noisy in public places than the previous generation, there is less binge-drinking, and fewer STD’s. It continues with most of these metrics.
On the positive side, I am seeing a generation of kids which has more developing talent than anything I have ever seen, and I suspect compared to ever in the history of mankind. I have seen teenaged professional level actors, singers, musicians, scientists, and sports players such that did not exist even close in my generation. Kids are excelling all over the place.
Also characteristic of the Millennials is their social attitudes. They show a respect and acceptance for the disabled, those who have same sex attractions, for the environment and I have seen them head up anti-bullying campaigns, and fundraisers for a variety of great causes.
All this adds up to a 21st century world that should continue to become even more habitable and hospitable (although hopefully without more population explosion). We will see more peace, less crime, less violence, more respect for our neighbours and great achievements in science and technology.
My Part 2 of this blog will examine why this generation is looking so much better than at any time in history. The main reason: the greatest generation of parents.