As a kid, I grew up aware of the giant generation ahead of me, the one who set the world on fire, who changed the rights of women and minorities. As a young adult, I was aware of the giant generation ahead of me in the workplace, who took up all the jobs, caused the recession of the 80s, and kept me from establishing a solid career, or at least from finding a solid, permanent-seeming job.
As a young mother, I was aware of the giant generation ahead of me that paved some roads for working mothers but left many unpaved. Where is the national daycare policy they promised? Where is the work-life balance they promised? And as a working person, I am certainly aware of the lack of a real social safety net they are leaving for my old age. I have no expectations of social security or old age pensions, something the boomers will enjoy, because their giant generation will bankrupt those government programs.
I know I’m sounding bitter. I am bitter. I’ve been bitter all my life about the boomers, but that’s a feature of my generation, the disaffected Gen X. But recently I read a great op-ed article that was so much more eloquent about the boomers’ self-absorption and how it over-dominates public policy discussions.
In a piece titled Beyond Boomercentrism, Paul Kershaw argues that Canada puts too much focus on boomers and not enough on the young. Our government is all caught up in pension reform that daycare policies and early childhood educational standards are lost. He says:
…We must move beyond the boomercentrism that guides our priority-setting to invest in the smart family policy parents require now, and that children deserve.
And I was reminded of this piece this past week when I read another article about the movie business, something I know a bit about. It was all about how theatre owners need to prepare for the aging demographic.
What will happen when the boomers are all gone, or are no longer much of a consumer force to be reckoned with? Governments and corporations need to retool for other generational priorities soon, not just to please Gen X and Y (and Z), but to be ready for post-boomer days before it’s too late.
I may be bitter, but I think I’m right.