Despite all the challenges Generation Y faces, the solution to our problems does not lie in 1970s-style socialism, but in post-Brexit capitalism.
For those of you who do not know whether or not you are part of this ‘lost generation’, people in Generation Y were born in between 1980-1994. The press have created many nicknames for us. They call us ‘Generation Stupid’, Generation Me, Me, Me, and so on.
What’s worse is that 59% of millennials described their own generation as ‘self-absorbed’ and 49% said they were ‘wasteful’, compared with about 30% of Generation X and 20% of baby boomers.
It is true that we do face some unique challenges compared to the previous generations. We moan that we cannot afford to buy a house. We whinge when we come out of university with thousands of pounds of debt, only to find that there is nothing out there but low-paid jobs due to the 2008 Recession.
Ed Miliband capitalised on this misery during his years as Labour leader by classing us as ‘Generation Rent.’ This all makes for depressing reading out there for anyone who is proud to call themselves an 80s or a 90s kid, both of which have more positive connotations than the unpleasant names some journalists have for us.
But here is what 80s and 90s kids forget, or at least many of them do. It was capitalism that provided them with these childhoods that we all miss. 80s, and more recently, 90s, nostalgia has been trending. There are many posts on social media from pages dedicated to that great decade. They ask you if you can remember the variety of cartoons we had, the simple consoles with basic graphics, the cheesy music and a booming economy.
Yet we in Generation Y need to ask ourselves; why were we provided with so much choice back then? It was because of capitalism. It was a system that provided all of us born between 1980-1994 with ‘brilliant’ childhoods.
After the 2015 General Election, we witnessed many people born between those years participate in violent protests against the election of the current Conservative government. Famous millennial Charlotte Church was involved in those disruptive clashes last year. Incidents like this give 80s and 90s kids a bad name by the press.
Many of us invest a considerable amount of time on social media. Corbyn’s election as Labour leader last year proved to be a massive hit with young adults. His anti-austerity message appeals to an age group who have felt disadvantaged by cuts. But Generation Y (thankfully) don’t remember the 70s, and this is the problem. They remember the boom years as kids, but now that the bubble has burst, a sense of betrayal among many millennials is apparent.
The truth is, a continuation of free market capitalism post-Brexit is the answer to our struggles. It was capitalism that allowed many in Generation Y to have the ‘best childhood ever’ and it will ensure they all have a wealthier future as adults. The same goes for all future generations, too.
Though 75% of young people voted to remain in the EU, leaving this super-bloc will help all generations. The end of the free movement of workers will stop wages for the lowest paid from decreasing. The opportunity to form trade deals with other countries beyond the single market will help create more jobs and reduce food prices. We have already seen the myths of Project Fear shatter this summer. Imagine how much more we could achieve as a society outside this 1970s-style trading bloc.
By significantly reducing housing regulation, extra houses can be built in the future. Building companies will have more freedom to build on land so desperately needed for future homes. This will make it better for younger generations to gain a foot onto the housing market and reduce house prices in the long-term. With the end of uncontrolled immigration from EU countries, this will reduce demand and cause a drop in housing value, enabling us all to one day buy a house. We already witnesses this effect over the summer.
The greatest irony is that those in Generation Y who feel betrayed by capitalism due to the 2008 Recession and that we voted to leave the EU because ‘older people stole our futures’, may one day find that post-Brexit capitalism has made them richer. As nice as it is to remember our ‘glorious’ childhoods and rejoice that The Corrs have released a new album recently, it was capitalism that made us happy then and will continue to do so in the future, not socialism.