Monday, 23 December 2013

A Génération Perdue

Rebel with Cause
A form of irrational NIMBYism pervades Western Europe and the advanced world. A form that is characterized not just by wealth or income inequality but geographic and generational inequality. Many within Britain, for whom its lost empire and waning soft power is a boon for a redefined sense of pugilistic morality based on bank and immigration bashing, are becoming increasingly narrow-minded. This is seen namely through this current political cycle, where much needed infrastructure spending, long term investments, and ill-defined opportunity costs are spurring on a "Lost Generation".

génération perdue that lacks opportunities and realization of their potential, without being in want of ability, pervades the streets of our global cities. Organizations and institutions face a world that is stagnating and not growing. The effects of computing and globalisation peter to an end and a world that is financially restricted from borrowing and investing becomes one where the long term effects are ever disastrous.

This lost generation, who sought first-time employment at the crux of the US financial crisis of 2008-09, feel ever distant like the generation affected by war of a century earlier. The effects of financial liberalisation and the Great Moderation are not paralleled in the jobs they want for the skills they acquire or the life they wish to lead, similarly wanting material abundance and "want-satisfaction" as those of their parents. Transfer of wealth from the old to the young is considered political suicide as the young do not vote or debate economic policy where it matters, as was not the case following World War II when Bretton Woods was structured to inflate and crowd out debt incurred for global warfare.

In the coming century, if my fears turn out to be true, we may have avoided a repeat of the collapse into the dark of the 1930s but we will face a century of social and economic stagnation. Where without technological progress, the global economy would stagnate; protectionism would be rife; xenophobia and jingoism would be not uncommon; and dangers of warfare would be ever greater.