Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Millennials and the Commons

Posted by Caitlin Endyke

As an early-twenty-something reading through the New York Times this morning, one headline in particular caught my eye- “Do Milliennials Stand a Chance in the Real World?”  The article, written by Annie Lowrey, goes on to talk about everything I’ve heard before- as a generation that entered the workforce during the depth of the recession, we are likely to continue to experience the effects of the economic downturn for the rest of our lives, both emotionally and economically.  We are the first generation since the great depression where our earning potential as individuals is likely to fall below that of our parents’.  It’s nothing we haven’t heard before.  

Yet this piece did bring up an interesting thought- is the millennial generation, because our most formative years were spent under the shadow of 9/11, the collapse of the housing market, and the subsequent recession, most affected by income inequality? This article alleges that Milliennials, more than any other generation, think American economic policies only benefit the wealthy. Consequently, they have caught up the “We are the 99%” rallying cry perhaps more than any other group.  

Because of this, could the millennial generation, even for all they’ve been often criticized for, become the generation to most support commons-based policies?  They’ve grown up in a time where the profit-driven market clearly did not serve them well, so could they imagine a different and more inclusive model?  When contemplating an audience that is most primed for the Commons-based argument, perhaps those parents' basement-dwelling, student loan-paying, over-stressed twenty-somethings would be the most receptive.

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