Millennials collectively own about 1/10th of the wealth of baby boomers. You might argue that accruing wealth is an inevitable consequence of getting older, but millennials own less than half as much wealth as boomers did at their age. It's not just that millennials haven't had time to catch up, they're not being given an opportunity to catch up and the divide is only getting larger. Gen Z will likely have things even worse than millennials if this issue is not addressed.

Millennials collectively own about 1/10th of the wealth of baby boomers. You might argue that accruing wealth is an inevitable consequence of getting older, but millennials own less than half as much wealth as boomers did at their age. It's not just that millennials haven't had time to catch up, they're not being given an opportunity to catch up and the divide is only getting larger. Gen Z will likely have things even worse than millennials if this issue is not addressed.

Boomers had free higher education, stronger protections at work, and much more affordable housing compared to today's workers who cannot attempt to improve their lives without amassing staggering amounts of debt. Going to university these days is almost equivalent to taking out a mortgage, and if you can't afford a mortgage or university education, good luck trying to pay your landlord. Rent payments tend to be higher than mortgage payments, meaning whichever way we turn, younger people are screwed.

Millennials are more likely to live with their parents than roommates and are delaying having (or just outright refusing to have) children. This is probably because working-class parents are more likely to visit a foodbank than McDonald's these days.

On top of that, we're seeing soaring inflation that's leaving our families cold this coming winter and at genuine risk of homelessness. We can talk all we like about inflation in the 1970s, but this was during a time when house prices were significantly lower (1/65th) than today. The effect today's economy is having on rents, mortgages and energy bills will likely be on a different scale and have a knock-on effect on the cost of everything else. And we're enduring all of this in the knowledge we're inheriting a dying planet. 

Politicians are all too aware that older generations represent the biggest voting block so they're privileging the people who will keep them in power. It's one of the key problems with democracy. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing that economic policy should hit pensioners, simply that it should go easier on the actual workforce.

Millennials are earning £40 a week less than the same age group did 10 years ago and are finding it near impossible to build a pension fund or buy a home.

In 1991, 67% of 25-34-year-olds owned a home. By 2016 it was just 36% and the way this economy is going, a lot of young people are about to lose their homes this winter. So much for aspiration.

Over-60s are the only age group to have become better off since the 2008 recession and are, by and large, insulated from economic downturns. Of course, this does not mean that all older people are living comfortably, many are facing dreadful poverty and deserve our full support, but younger people are hit harder on average and in greater numbers. 

Surely, a reasonable person would therefore agree millennials and gen Z have strong justification to be mad, yet sadly, we are not seeing the solidarity from older generations that we should.

I posted the following meme on Facebook:

I thought it was a funny meme, not provocative right? (By the way, the text attached to the meme was added later in response to the overreaction it got from grumpy older people.)

It's literally just a cartoon to highlight the economic differences between generations and show how unfairly younger people have been treated. It was, I naively thought, an issue that should unite socialists, young and old alike. After all, we hate discrimination of all forms, including age discrimination.

How wrong I was.

My comments were quickly flooded by boomers telling me how stupid I am or how lazy my generation is or how they're poor so the meme can't possibly be true or how I've stated that all boomers are rich and all younger people are poor or that I'm blaming all boomers for the situation! But worst of all, I was accused of discriminating against the old and told it was equivalent to racism or antisemitism! I deleted the worst of the comments because the harassment was getting out of hand, but I left a few of them so people could see what we're up against.

I was really told that speaking out against age discrimination is equivalent to racial discrimination, and honestly, it just reminded me of the people who yell "All lives matter!" when someone says "Black lives matter" - the people who say "I'm not the racist, you're the racist". Only I never accused them of anything, and by assuming that I did, they really were telling on themselves.

If someone challenges racial discrimination, they are not attacking white people. If someone challenges misogyny, they are not attacking men. If someone challenges regional inequality, they are not attacking southerners. But if someone states their generation has less than half the household wealth that boomers did at the same age, they're obviously attacking older people. I don't make the rules.

What these people were actually doing was individualising a systemic issue. They were (probably unintentionally) arguing their personal experience invalidates data and the lived experience of younger people. 

What's tragic here is that many self-described socialists were adopting a Thatcherite attitude of "What about me?" rather than stopping to consider the legitimate point that was being made. They turned a broader statement about our discriminatory economic system into a personal attack on them. This is not the socialist way!

Thankfully, some boomers were in agreement with me. Some made comments along the lines of "I had a tough time growing up and it upsets me to see so many young people struggling today." This is the socialist way and I'm grateful for the contribution of those people.

I had one boomer tell me his generation were more privileged than mine because they got off their arses and fought for their rights through direct action. He accused today's workers of spending all day in their gaming chairs and being too lazy to work or fight, yet that is far from the case. Young people are working long hours for crap pay and organising collectively, which is why we're seeing strikes up and down the country.

We need a fairer economic system, and of course, the generational divide is not the only divide we face or the only problem we need to overcome, but it's a pretty big one. When you tell younger people not to point this out, you're telling them to be silent about their own discrimination.

All forms of discrimination, including age discrimination, tend to ultimately stem from class issues. It's about the ruling class dividing the population, but you don't heal that divide by pretending that it doesn't exist. What we should be doing is highlighting these divides and explaining how they're all rooted in our economic model. This is one of the most effective ways of building a case against capitalism.

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