This may be a gross oversimplification, and I’m willing to be corrected, as long as you’re nice about it. But what is a blog for if not for trotting out ideas that are not yet ready for prime time?
So here goes. While certainly there are many generations at fault for our economic crisis, isn’t it true that the majority of our political and economic leaders during the swelling and popping of the housing bubble were Baby Boomers? Aren’t these the same people who protested Viet Nam and oppression from government and big business in the 1960’s?
These spoiled children of the Greatest Generation believed that they could change the world once they came into power. Well, they’ve been in charge since the early nineties, and so far they have done a much worse job of running things than their stodgy parents. The Greatest Generation may not have been perfect, but at least they didn’t destroy the world’s economy.
The Baby Boomers are so large that any generalization is bound to fail, but it would be interesting to know how many of the bonus babies at AIG or executives at Bear Stearns, Citigroup, and Lehman Brothers were free loving, pot smoking hippies in the sixties (or at least got close enough that they didn’t inhale).
It’s ironic that the generation which said it would save the world turns out to be the one that destroys it. The very people who argued most passionately for love are the ones who are selfishly burying their children and great great grandchildren under piles of Chinese debt.
At the very least their tragic tale warns against the dangers of triumphalism. Beware of anyone who declares that they have got it all figured out and that if given a chance, they will bring “peace, love, and understanding” to the world. Such narcissism always ends badly.