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Will Baby Boomers be the Luckiest?
Old 03-18-2019, 09:33 PM   #1
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Will Baby Boomers be the Luckiest?

In future history, will the US post-WWII generation that is well represented here be considered the most fortunate generation? The Baby Boomers have so far experienced a level of economic prosperity unrivaled by any prior generation. More people than ever have been able to FIRE. Food has been ample, and food choices continue to expand. Nuclear war that seemed inevitable during the 1960s has been avoided. No major, widespread plagues or asteroids have hit. Creature comforts like air conditioning are now common. Ethnic and gender discrimination has decreased, giving more Boomers more opportunities than their parents and grandparents had. New tech simplifies many tasks, and facilitates entertainment. Scientific discoveries let us comprehend the very nature of the universe and reality.

Average lifespan has increased, but that increase is now slowing. The number of humans on the planet has more than doubled since the first Boomers, but how long can Earth's resources permit such growth? Fossil energy that had fueled growth by being so cheap and easy to access might be having negative effects on the planet. An individual could live more or less privately and free if desired, but tech can now follow the trail of most people, and that's going to increase. Will future generations be more limited and, relative to the Boomers, routinely experience more austerity? Will tech and AI introduce a new threat? So, in the year 2100 or 2200 will people look back and name US Boomers, born where and when they were, as the luckiest generation?
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:02 PM   #2
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Time for the eternal Yogi:

“It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future”


But yes, I'm enough of a doom-and-gloomer to believe that the best time to be alive in the US was the latter half of the last century and that a variety of very bad things await just over the horizon.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:07 PM   #3
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... So, in the year 2100 or 2200 will people look back and name US Boomers, born where and when they were, as the luckiest generation?
It may very well be. Too bad I will not be around to know for sure.
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:14 AM   #4
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First off, while I agree with you 100% there are those out there who'll claim that we were the ones who've destroyed the planet, kept other peoples down, taken more than our share, yada yada yada. They'll be happy to see us gone.

Having said that, I think that we're at a turning point very similar to where our grandparents were just before WWI when electrification began, autos were just coming out and telephone was in it's infancy. 1910 to 1950 saw incredible change in culture and how people lived, worked and played. My grandparents were born before airplanes ever flew and lived to see a man walk on the moon; they rode in horse and buggies but ended up driving Cadillacs.

I see a complete change of values, way-of-working, what is valued, accessibility and so on. Millennials just seem to be almost a different species sometimes (not a judgement) and I just see an entirely different world ahead that, while different from ours will not be better or worse...just different.
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:33 AM   #5
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Will future generations be more limited and, relative to the Boomers, routinely experience more austerity? Will tech and AI introduce a new threat? So, in the year 2100 or 2200 will people look back and name US Boomers, born where and when they were, as the luckiest generation?
I hope not.

I certainly consider myself extremely lucky to have been born in the time period I was, in the place where I was, to the family I was. That luck and a lot of hard work have allowed me to live a great life.

But I hope my children and grandchildren are even luckier.
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Old 03-19-2019, 06:31 AM   #6
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Time will tell I guess. But, I've previously thought that my generation (end of X beginning of millennial) have had it incredibly easy and comfortable. No Vietnam, no Korean war, no cold war, it's been pretty much easy street my whole life. We also haven't had anything amazing like the space race to inspire either, so far pretty boring, but I guess that's a good thing. I guess our claim to fame was the internet. I'll sarcastically say "horay for cat gifs, and early retirement message boards" but I think there are plenty of serious benefits too. We'll see how bad the boomers really screwed up the climate and the national debt soon enough I imagine.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:42 AM   #7
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I think of the earlier boomers as having been lucky to not have had to deal with outsourcing and frequent downsizing during their working lives as later generations are dealing with. A man could support a family without a college degree. One could keep the same job for decades, by choice.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:44 AM   #8
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"We'll see how bad the boomers really screwed up the climate and the national debt soon enough I imagine."

No.

You'll see.

We will all be happily deceased.

I'd say more but I have a busy day doing chores:

> Burn plastics and old tires in burn pile. ( with no permit )

> Empty used motor oil into creek.

> Empty truck filled with all of the neighbor's paper recyclables (collected from curb yesterday and separated from above plastic ) to burn in wood stove for heat. ( My part towards Fossil Fuel reductions. )

> Get sprayer ready for DDT applications this spring.

> Convert new car's A/C to Freon.

> Pay some Kids to rip out old asbestos insulation so that I can disguise it and truck it to the Landfill.


etc., etc., etc.

Peace.

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Old 03-19-2019, 07:48 AM   #9
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The Bellamy Brothers sang about it about 30 years ago. YouTube Kids of the Baby Boom.


I'm a late Boomer, a 1965 model. The biggest challenge of the Baby Boomers that I can see was the Viet Nam era that the older Boomers faced.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:53 AM   #10
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I wonder if there is a bad period waiting for that last co-hort of aging boomers with future cutbacks in Medicare, mostly in the area of more cuts in reimbursement for nursing homes (caregiver staffing cuts).

Why are baby boomers blamed for the environment? Am I wrong or was it baby boomers who started caring about the environment?

I've always felt like there are two co-horts of baby boomers. The first half and the last half. By the time the first half does the stuff that I'm looking forward to, it's no longer available.

Of course, many things have improved, but I do miss the feeling that "way back" things seemed like they were always improving (example: appliances like washing machines) but now they just don't make the good stuff like they used to.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:54 AM   #11
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As a "middle-Xer" I look back and realize I would have to find a much different way to start my career today, and yes luck of timing played a role:

I started an entry level phone service job (gone-offshore now). Was paid a starting $8.03 per hour in 1990 (that's $15+ in today's dollars) with full medical and 401k, without having yet finished college. And I was looking at 3 similar jobs offers, all with MC's when I picked it. That was the lowest rung on the ladder and I moved up every couple of years.

Are those low-rung opportunities still as abundant when much of the lower-entry servicing is gone now? I don't believe so, and while of course other things exist now that didn't then, I'm not sure it's evened out.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:49 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by joeea View Post
I certainly consider myself extremely lucky to have been born in the time period I was, in the place where I was, to the family I was. That luck and a lot of hard work have allowed me to live a great life.

But I hope my children and grandchildren are even luckier.
I do more than hope. I am certain of it.

Take a history course or two and one will conclude that health, prosperity and peace have improved steadily in developed countries for several centuries. Countries that were essentially medieval just a hundred years or so ago have advanced to becoming highly developed societies. I've yet to see one do the opposite.

Two World Wars in the 1900s were horrific, but don't be misled into thinking that war, pestilence and famine weren't pretty much a constant, inescapable feature of human existence for the previous 50 centuries. That there didn't turn out to be a third and a fourth world war by now is a significant inflection point. The reason the population has doubled is because half of it did NOT starve to death or die from plagues, which used to be routine.

I believe that if you had asked the same question of every generation since the Industrial Revolution, each would conclude they had it better than the prior one. What data exist to suggest think that's suddenly going to stop?

"Fossil fuels are running out, global warming this, jihad that, etc." If that's the worst the pessimists can come up with, they've never studied history. Far worse catastrophes have clobbered mankind, and we have not only recovered but emerged stronger, smarter and IMHO most important, kinder.

Does that mean I think there will never be another war? Of course not. But the maturation of the human species is a long process which I think we aren't anywhere near finished. A lot of boneheaded ideas which infest people today will be discredited over the coming century; a lot of new boneheaded ideas will be introduced and will similarly take some time to be discredited. But in general, mankind figures out solutions to its problems.

I won't be around in 2100, but if I were I'd be saying "This is the best of all times so far, but it'll be even better in 2200!"
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:30 AM   #13
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Perhaps.

But, I can't help but notice how many youngsters in their 20's and 30's are buying homes at interest rates that are remarkably low compared to what I paid for my first home (8%+). Or how many are traveling the world thanks to remarkably low air fares compare to my youth, and the use of the Internet.

I do think baby boomers are probably better off than their grandparents who endured two world wars and a depression.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:09 AM   #14
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Seems like many here seem to forget that we actually HAVE been at war the past ~20 years. As an X'er, and in the industry that I'm in, most of the people that I know have done a few years in the sandbox. Unfortunately some didn't come back.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:35 AM   #15
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Luck had nothing to do with our prosperity. We accelerated lifestyle gains with a sugar rush of debt that the future will be stuck dealing with one way or another. I don't think they will look back at us without at least shaking their heads and muttering.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:35 AM   #16
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I think we are so lucky to be where we are today. Life is a lot more difficult for folks entering the workforce or changing mid career for whatever reason.

Not to mention the World's changing attitude towards everything from Climate, Immigration and Automation amongst other things.

In one way we (Boomers) are the luckiest generation, unfortunately most of us care only about ourselves and our immediate futures and that of our children if we have any.

I do not know about most other boomers but those in "our" financial/social status and Net worth will not really have anything to worry about in our direct lifetime, even if the world and the country we live in continues on their downward trends (Which honestly really dos not directly affect me, other than being greatly concerned).

Unless one loses all one's nest egg in a downtrend. But I am sure most in our circles are a lot smarter than to let that happen.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:05 AM   #17
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Personally, I don't see a lot of use for comparing "generational luck" insofar as it encourages generational warfare in a society where many forces are trying to polarize and divide us on as many fronts as possible.

That said, I think the so-called "silent generation" which preceded the Boomers -- those born between the mid-1920s and the early 1940s -- and maybe the earliest/oldest Boomers, came the closest to getting the best deal the world ever had to offer.

The younger Boomers largely are getting close to the same watered-down deal that Generation X can expect. That said, we need to play the hand we are dealt. Resentment would solve nothing.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:33 AM   #18
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I am almost through reading Factfulness, by Hans Rosling. The author's primary message is that the world is doing much better than almost everyone believes. He uses hard data from the UN and other sources to show that most of the world's population has moved out of extreme poverty. Because of that, parent's no longer want to have lots of children; rather they now dream of having 2 or 3 children and being able to send their kids to school. And the data supports this. The period of rapid population growth has already started to slow down. The cohort of people aged 1 - 15 years old is nearly flat.

I am learning a lot from the book and that is changing my perspectives of the world we live in. He isn't trying say everything is wonderful, rather he focuses on the slow be very steady progress we've made at reducing infant mortality and moving people and their economies into the middle class. The changes in India and China in the just the last 50 years are amazing. And all of these people are becoming consumers!

Climate change is a big concern. Ocean pollution and over fishing are major issues too. I'd throw in the cost of higher education here in the US and the continue shift of risk from companies to individuals as issues that may impact the younger generations.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:51 AM   #19
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What if the "birth lottery" is actually a choice in some alternate plane of existence about when and where to be born into a human life on Earth? If, when making that choice, I know the general human life conditions of all places and time periods, which one would I pick?

Assume I'm not allowed to pick the particular individual I would become, or my parents, rather only the country of birth and the approximate year. Presumably I would pick an interesting (but not too interesting) time period, one with food and shelter abundant, relatively minimal suffering, unlikely to be forced into hard labor, lots of opportunity to learn, freedom to make my own choices, and odds that favor a long enough life for many experiences.

According to data in Wikipedia, 74.5% of people born in London between 1730 and 1749 died before the age of five. Choosing that period and location to be born into would mean I'd likely die before experiencing much. I doubt survival odds were much better elsewhere on the planet then, or anywhere during earlier eras. 20th Century US or Europe looks much better as a choice. Narrowing that, if I wanted to minimize the risk of dying in a war, I'd choose late enough to avoid the World Wars, maybe Vietnam too, so maybe late 1950s as the chosen time?

For us here now, that particular selection involves hindsight of course, plus a guess about the future. Perhaps being born in 2019 would be an even better choice, we can't know for sure, yet. If one's outlook for the 21st and 22nd Centuries is less bright, being a US Baby Boomer sounds like a very reasonable pick.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:58 PM   #20
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I

Why are baby boomers blamed for the environment? Am I wrong or was it baby boomers who started caring about the environment?
I'm not sure about this one. The First Earth Day was in 1970, I think, when I was 12. There was all kinds of talk about "the ecology" back then. Littering, which used to be terrible in the 60's, seemed to decrease; or at least municipalities were doing a better job of keeping after it.

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I've always felt like there are two co-horts of baby boomers. The first half and the last half. By the time the first half does the stuff that I'm looking forward to, it's no longer available.
Or, they drove up the price so much, so fast, that you and I had to either do without, or "eat cat food" (metaphorically) to afford it. See: First home purchase.

No doubt, this will apply to assisted living etc. as we approach those years. We will probably have to be on double sessions in the old folks' homes, as we were in high school, while the new facilities are being built. ("Come on, Mr. Smith! Get up and let's get in the bathroom! Weekly shower time's 0630!")
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