by Duane Paul Murphy
According to a recent Harvard University survey from 2016, 51% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 who were polled do not support capitalism. 42% of those young adults support the free market oriented economic system. 46% of the young adults that were polled in survey contained positive views of capitalism, while 47% had negative views of the entrepreneurial based economic system. When the topic of socialism came up in the survey, 49% of the young people that were polled had positive views of the leftist economic system and 43% had negative views of the Marxist based system. Millennials, the country’s largest generation who were born approximately between 1980 and 2000, tend to have multifaceted views on fiscal issues, but strong progressive views on social or cultural issues such as gender equality, LBGTQ equality, religion or spirituality, and cannabis usage. However, the sentiment is becoming clear. The current state of capitalism, with its bourgeoise and plutocratic inspired or influenced spirit of free markets, private ownership, and free enterprise, is screwing over young people of today and tomorrow within the 21st century.
Based on recent data analysis from the United States Federal Reserve, millennials are earning 20 percent less than their own Baby Boomer and Generation X parents or peers with a median household income of $40,581, which is in significant contrast to the national median household income of more than $51,939. A Citizens Bank and TNS research angry survey showed that millennial have an average debt of $41, 286.60.
That is larger than the national average amount of student loan debt for higher education graduates, which is about $29,400 according to the United States Department of Education. Furthermore, low wages, lack of healthcare, lack of paid employee benefits such as parental leave, and rising costs of living in urban centers or highly populated states are key factors that impact younger generations’ socioeconomic mobility.
Based on this information, almost our entire economic system is failing the youth at large. Despite younger generations working longer hours and studying as well as spending more on education, wages are low or stagnant, employee benefits are often less available or below living standard, and employment availability has been generally less present since the Great Recession of 2007. Capitalism and socialism in their natural or purist forms no where near perfect. That is probably the reason why millennials have continuing mixed feelings regarding both systems due to historical and contemporary examples as well as personal experiences in one form or the other.
Due to these public attitudes amongst these youth, millennials are likely see a more social democratic county where free-market capitalism and welfarist socialism can become one entity along with environmental concerns and economic democracy where the workers as well as the consumers have a voice. Overall, the current state and structure of the economy will not benefit the people of tomorrow. It is time that the next generation must convert ideas into actions that will benefit all people.