The so-called ‘generational divide’ seems to inform much political debate today. Millennials have been encouraged to regard their parents’ generation as entitled and selfish, and to blame the baby boomers of the Sixties for the cultural and economic problems of today – whether it’s unaffordable housing, a plundered planet, or the prospect of having to foot an enormous pensions and healthcare bill. But is it true that today’s young are the victims of their elders?
In her new book, Stop Mugging Grandma: The ‘Generation Wars’ and Why Boomer Blaming Won’t Solve Anything, author and academic Jennie Bristow looks at generational labels and the groups of people they apply to. She argues that the prominence and popularity of terms like ‘baby boomer’, ‘millennial’, and ‘snowflake’ in mainstream media operates as a smoke-screen – presenting economic problems as generational conflicts, encouraging a pessimistic sense of grievance and powerlessness among younger people, and letting policy-makers off the hook.
So, have the Baby Boomers ‘had it all’, depriving Millennials of the opportunity to create a life for themselves. Is it the older generation who are selfish or the younger who are self-centred? Or does this sociobiological blame game let successive governments of the hook? Ultimately, can turning the generations against each other solve anything?
Jennie will present her ideas followed by questions and comments from our critical panellists before discussion is opened up to the audience.