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    Originally posted by Tubby Isaacs View Post
    I think we can overdo that trope really. Very many of them left school at 15, with little more than "Can your Dad get you in where he works?"

    Doesn't excuse racist ignorance though, of course it doesn't.
    Yes, but they belong to a generation where such a background didn't preclude building a comfortable life, and buying a house. . Something they seem very intent of denying to everyone who comes after them.

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      I think we should be wary of seeing the current faultlines in British politics as too generational. Especially as a lot of these analyses tend to downplay class. Plenty of 'boomers' are having a shit time of it, and not every 30-something is in the gutter.

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        I think we should be wary of seeing the current faultlines in British politics as too generational.
        The Brexit faultlines are pretty clearly generational. It's the strongest correlation other than education (which to a certain extent is going to be a proxy for class). It's also notable that the most ardent Brexiteers in parliament are the ones who wish they were living in the 1800s.

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          The vote was on my 59th birthday. Guess how I voted.

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            The Brexit faultlines are pretty clearly generational.
            But they also rub up against class, race and - very obviously - a provincial/city split. Seeing things as too broad-brush makes it harder to win people round with actual arguments. Which, less we forget (and some Remainers, alas, do), is kind of a key task.

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                Originally posted by Tubby Isaacs View Post
                I think we can overdo that trope really. Very many of them left school at 15, with little more than "Can your Dad get you in where he works?"

                Doesn't excuse racist ignorance though, of course it doesn't.
                That's pretty much how I remember it. I, and all but five or six of my classmates, left school at around that age (I was just 16.) Most got apprenticeships, one or two joined the cops or armed forces, a handful went to college to pick up GCEs, a couple of us went to art school.

                I'm disappointed in my generation for a number of reasons but blatant selfishiness isn't one of them. People my age volunteer in droves, support their kids through university (and often well beyond), provide child-care for grand-kids, and financing when our children need a home. Yes, our youth was one of full employment and easy affluence, and yes many of us took that for granted, as — I submit — almost anyone would.

                Now we look around, notice how much harder it is, and (some, not everyone) look for somebody to blame. This is the problem, blaming not solving. Past sixty or so, you feel impotent and vulnerable. Pointing a finger (and voting) seems like all you can do, and sadly there plenty of people around to tell who who to point the finger at.

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                  I don't think there's anything particularly unique about your generation though A de C, other than the Circumstances they faced. I'd come to the conclusion that any group of people in that situation would largely have behaved the same. It's just that the baby boomers actually got the chance, and have cut it off for everyone else. One of the great unintended weaknesses of the Post war settlement was that it raised enough people from working class to lower middle class, that it turned britain into a truly politically toxic environment. The concerns of these two groups are diametrically opposed.

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                    That's right, Amor.

                    I think too there's a bit of haziness about buying a house, and what it meant 40-50 years ago. Sure, it was easier, but lots of people lived with parents till getting married, and often afterwards as well. That's very different from my idea of "buying a place", formed in the mid 90s, where lots of single people bought flats with not too much difficulty.

                    Britpop, it was the best time ever! (etc)

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                      Originally posted by The Awesome Berbaslug!!! View Post
                      I don't think there's anything particularly unique about your generation though A de C, other than the Circumstances they faced. I'd come to the conclusion that any group of people in that situation would largely have behaved the same.
                      I agree, that's kinda what I thought I said.

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                        I wonder if ursus feels this as well. The school leaving age was 15 until 1971 so for us Yanks, certainly myself, you're talking working class pensioners as having a 9th grade education. The real old farts have an 8th grade education, if they finished school before Butler raised the leaving age from 14.

                        To its credit, the trade union movement and some strains of the working class have a real big self-improvement streak the American working class hasn't had for decades. My father-in-law left at 15 but was a voracious reader all his life. Always had a book in his hand, read at least two newspapers a day (usually the Mirror and a broadsheet - usually Times or Guardian). But if you didn't like book learnin', you ended up leaving school with a frighteningly limited toolbox.

                        I've always wondered about this when you look at the staggering disparity in voting Leave between leavers and university graduates.

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                          In fairness, a fair number of people had post-secondary education of some kind. College of FE, Teachers Training College, Technical College, Art School (over 200 in England until the early 60s), and other specialised institutions, like Music College, or Drama School. Most of these offered the educational equivalent of a degree today. British Universities, then, were much more selective than nowadays.

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                            Originally posted by Tubby Isaacs View Post
                            That's right, Amor.

                            I think too there's a bit of haziness about buying a house, and what it meant 40-50 years ago. Sure, it was easier, but lots of people lived with parents till getting married, and often afterwards as well. That's very different from my idea of "buying a place", formed in the mid 90s, where lots of single people bought flats with not too much difficulty.

                            Britpop, it was the best time ever! (etc)
                            I mean, you're not exactly going to find a lot of Millennials looking down on living with your folks until getting married. Lots of us do that. I know people living with their parents who are married with a kid.

                            Originally posted by Amor de Cosmos View Post

                            Now we look around, notice how much harder it is, and (some, not everyone) look for somebody to blame. This is the problem, blaming not solving. Past sixty or so, you feel impotent and vulnerable. Pointing a finger (and voting) seems like all you can do, and sadly there plenty of people around to tell who who to point the finger at.
                            The problem comes from the olds seemingly refusing to acknowledge their privileged economic position relative to the rest of society - even if a lot of it is tied up in their house - and not looking to take any concrete solutions to remedy this. If the franchise was restricted to people under the age of 50, Jeremy Corbyn would be Prime Minister and Bernie Sanders would very possibly be the President (or at least Hillary *would* have walked it). Wealth is going to have to be redistributed, and that may mean either selling your house or selling your second house or the value of your home plummeting via taking the teeth out of the property market.

                            You can't thank yourself for sitting on a gold mine in a big, prosperous city and also wonder why the hell your children can't afford to live there.

                            (If you haven't noticed, I'm rather speaking to other people besides you)

                            I think there's also an important side issue which is that for people under the age of 35, all the Red Scare Reaganite Communism Is The Worst Thing Ever bullshit just has no meaning to us.

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                              Originally posted by Amor de Cosmos View Post
                              In fairness, a fair number of people had post-secondary education of some kind. College of FE, Teachers Training College, Technical College, Art School (over 200 in England until the early 60s), and other specialised institutions, like Music College, or Drama School. Most of these offered the educational equivalent of a degree today. British Universities, then, were much more selective than nowadays.
                              Yeah, sorry, meant to say that I'm excluding people who went to college and such. Obviously it wasn't either Oxbridge or the pit at 15.

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                                You can't thank yourself for sitting on a gold mine in a big, prosperous city and also wonder why the hell your children can't afford to live there.
                                But you need rental and properties to buy. I moved to London in 1996, when it was quite cheap, and rented a room because it suited me. It would have been pretty ridiculous of me to think of the landlords as a load of bastards who should have sold it to an owner occupier. Where would I have lived?

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                                  The problem comes from the olds seemingly refusing to acknowledge their privileged economic position relative to the rest of society - even if a lot of it is tied up in their house - and not looking to take any concrete solutions to remedy this.

                                  I suppose it depends on what you mean by concrete solutions. In a practical sense I know several couples my age who've effectively passed on their inheritance to their children before they die, so they're able raise a family in this city. That means funding a single family home, and paying for childcare, and holidays, when necessary. Is that what you meant?

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                                    Originally posted by Flynnie View Post

                                    The problem comes from the olds seemingly refusing to acknowledge their privileged economic position relative to the rest of society - even if a lot of it is tied up in their house - and not looking to take any concrete solutions to remedy this.
                                    I think this is where I stand. There's an almost wilful ignorance of a lot of Boomers of how policies which have benefited them have damaged the prospects of subsequent generations. Obviously there are many exceptions, and I'm pretty sure there's no malice. But - for example - generations who make repeated votes for policies that reinforce and inflate house prices, particularly NIMBYish shutting down of house building, are clearly responsible for how hard it is for the youngs to afford to either rent or buy (which becomes all the more galling if they then tell the youngs how it was when they got on their bikes to buy a house and if they could do it why can't the kids). Or generations who vote repeatedly for Pensions Triple Locks while at the same time driving down income tax and complaining about government borrowing are obviously undercutting all government provisions outside of the pension system.

                                    As I said, it's not malice. It's just a wilful ignorance, and unawareness of how the system has rigged itself so strongly in their favour.

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                                      Originally posted by Amor de Cosmos View Post
                                      The problem comes from the olds seemingly refusing to acknowledge their privileged economic position relative to the rest of society - even if a lot of it is tied up in their house - and not looking to take any concrete solutions to remedy this.

                                      I suppose it depends on what you mean by concrete solutions. In a practical sense I know several couples my age who've effectively passed on their inheritance to their children before they die, so they're able raise a family in this city. That means funding a single family home, and paying for childcare, and holidays, when necessary. Is that what you meant?
                                      you mean stuff that in germany isn't the preserve of those with solvent parents because the property market is designed to provide housing rather than rentier profit, and the ealthy pay more tax?

                                      the thing about this is that it is evidence that the US and canada are becoming gerontocracies like italy, where only the old have weath and with wealth comes power. Hearing people complaining about having to help out their kids as a hardship rather than part of the responsibilities of power doesn't wash well with younger generations.

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                                        I think this is where I stand. There's an almost wilful ignorance of a lot of Boomers of how policies which have benefited them have damaged the prospects of subsequent generations. Obviously there are many exceptions, and I'm pretty sure there's no malice. But - for example - generations who make repeated votes for policies that reinforce and inflate house prices, particularly NIMBYish shutting down of house building, are clearly responsible for how hard it is for the youngs to afford to either rent or buy (which becomes all the more galling if they then tell the youngs how it was when they got on their bikes to buy a house and if they could do it why can't the kids). Or generations who vote repeatedly for Pensions Triple Locks while at the same time driving down income tax and complaining about government borrowing are obviously undercutting all government provisions outside of the pension system.

                                        As I said, it's not malice. It's just a wilful ignorance, and unawareness of how the system has rigged itself so strongly in their favour.



                                        But if those things are true, then they're true because of electoral decision making, when most people — we're told — vote in their own self interest. If the generations that are suffering voted in their self interest, wouldn't things be better for them? However if they don't vote at all then things are likely to stay bad. I mean, when I enter a ballot box, I'm thinking about making the best decisions for my kids and grandkids, but I really hope they're not relying on everyone else doing the same.

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                                          Lots of people walk into a ballot box thinking of what would be good for their kids as the exclusion of everyone else. They see their kids' experience as somehting that is controllable by them, rather than subject to big impersonal forces like housing markets, tax poloicy, landbanking and the rest. They think that what they've got in this world needs to be carefully stewarded because that's all they've got to pass on, so they'll vote to lower inheritence tax, lower taxes on themselves etc etc.

                                          What they've lost, and what we've lost, is a sense of class identity. It's Thatcher's victory; there is no such thing as society, just individuals and families, as far as enough people are concerned. That's why ultimately the Boomers are a dead loss. They grew up in the UK and USA with the fruits of the struggles of generations of their forebears, and grew up not as members of a class who sturggled tiogerher and fought together and built together but as a group of people who made it because they worked hard. Like all people who have acheievd some success, be they billionaires, or people owning a 3-bed semi in Doncaster, they believe it was all about them. Whether that's because they grew up without the sense of struggle that their own parents took for granted, or because of somehting more to do with neuroscience about attrubution bias doesn't matter.

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                                            Because buying a house makes you change sides. The Wealthy old who have paid for their house, and frequently have more than one property, have convinced those who have bought their house on a 35 year mortgage to ally with them against those without a house. If you buy a house, you become intrinsically opposed to any market solution that reduces the value of your house, or taxes you for any increase in the value of your asset. In most countries, the proportion of people with houses is greater than those without them. So the response is Fuck them.

                                            Sharply rising house prices should be seen as a serious and embarrassing governmental failure, yet in many western countries are seen as something to be cheered. The easy, obvious, quick and cheap way to resolve all housing problems everywhere is for the state to build massive numbers of apartments, and tear the floor out from under rents and house prices. It's difficult to imagine any "Homeowning democracy" supporting this, particularly if they had to pay more tax to fund it.

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                                              Originally posted by The Awesome Berbaslug!!! View Post
                                              y
                                              the thing about this is that it is evidence that the US and canada are becoming gerontocracies like italy, where only the old have weath and with wealth comes power. Hearing people complaining about having to help out their kids as a hardship rather than part of the responsibilities of power doesn't wash well with younger generations.
                                              And nor should it, Though I have to say I've never heard anyone think of helping their kids as a "hardship," a disappointment maybe.

                                              I can't answer for the US or Italy. In Canada, especially this part of Canada, accrued wealth is almost entirely down the massive increases in property values over the past forty years. For most people, myself included, this has been almost entirely accidental. You buy a small house, two years later you have child and need a bigger one, and surprisingly, find you've made a bunch of money. Rinse and repeat. I don't know if we've become a gerontocracy in the process, I hope not. Immigration, (increasing the population at about 1% per year) heavily favours youth, which should mitigate against it.
                                              Last edited by Amor de Cosmos; 01-03-2018, 19:13.

                                              Comment


                                                Sharply rising house prices should be seen as a serious and embarrassing governmental failure, yet in many western countries are seen as something to be cheered. The easy, obvious, quick and cheap way to resolve all housing problems everywhere is for the state to build massive numbers of apartments, and tear the floor out from under rents and house prices. It's difficult to imagine any "Homeowning democracy" supporting this, particularly if they had to pay more tax to fund it.

                                                The NDP/Green Provincial government here in BC is planning to do exactly that.

                                                Details here.
                                                Last edited by Amor de Cosmos; 01-03-2018, 19:12.

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                                                  Originally posted by Amor de Cosmos View Post
                                                  I suppose it depends on what you mean by concrete solutions. In a practical sense I know several couples my age who've effectively passed on their inheritance to their children before they die, so they're able raise a family in this city. That means funding a single family home, and paying for childcare, and holidays, when necessary. Is that what you meant?
                                                  My instinct is to see this is both patronising and patronage. It also, of course, means that the wealth is hereditary.

                                                  For things to change, they have to change structurally, rather than millennials relying on having rich parents and relying on the fickleness of those parents in passing wealth down.

                                                  From my perspective, it would be reassuring to see some wider awareness of this among the Boomers - we might not see actual political or structural change, but it would be nice to see my parents' generation admit that they were inordinately lucky: life almost entirely in peacetime, jobs for life, affordable housing, nailed on state pensions, nailed on final salary pensions, no student debt, and so on.

                                                  Comment


                                                    If you buy a house, you become intrinsically opposed to any market solution that reduces the value of your house, or taxes you for any increase in the value of your asset.
                                                    And yet we had the Tories proposing to use unearned wealth from house prices to fund pensioner social care, and Labour saying "pay it out of everybody's taxes". Just as we had the pensioner trying to stop the main state pension rising so fast, and Labour attacking them for it.

                                                    Sure, Labour wanted to increase inheritance tax and the Tories attacked them, but nobody is looking at this stuff in the round.

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