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Gen-X in MidLife - Are We Really On the Sidelines?
#1
From my blog, inspired by recent memes about Gen-X the overlooked generation.

http://stevebarrera.com/the-invisible-mid-lifers/


THE INVISIBLE MID-LIFERS

 February 18, 2019  Steve Comments 0 Comment
[Image: GenXMissing.jpg]
Recently there was a meme going around that showed the living generations and their birth years, but with Generation X conspicuously absent. The responses from my generation came fast and thick, loaded with the expected amount of snark and ironic detachment.

The meme was circulating around the same time that Saturday Night Live aired a sketch called Millennial Millions – a parody game show in which Millennials had to withstand obnoxious, narcissistic Baby Boomers for a chance to win the same entitlements the Boomers already enjoyed – like health care, or a job. My generation was there in the form of the game show host, who had this memorable line: “I’m Gen-X, I just sit on the sidelines and watch the world burn.”

My generation has always had an instinct to keep to itself, to take advantage of opportunity when it presents itself, but otherwise stay in the background. It’s because of the hands-off way we were raised in the 1960s and 70s, a time of cultural upheaval when children were not a social priority. We learned to depend on ourselves, not to trust social institutions or the wisdom of our elders. And we’ve carried that attitude forward into mid-life, perhaps to our detriment.

Is Generation X really on the sidelines of life, ignored and forgotten? Let’s took a look at the impact we have had in different spheres of life. We can also look at some of the best known Gen-Xers for insight.

As I pointed out in an earlier blog post, Generation X comprises everyone in their late 30s through late 50s. These are the prime years of life – we are at the peak of our careers, growing in responsibility and taking over leadership roles. The culture may decry Boomers living too long and keeping good jobs away from Millennials, but it is really Gen-Xers occupying all those managerial positions. It’s Gen-Xers who have driven the digital transformation of the economy, and the remarkable productivity gains which have given us our prosperous commercial age.

The most successful Gen-Xers in business, particularly in the dot.com world, have been greatly influential in forging the modern zeitgeist. But only a few are really prominent, like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Tesla founder Elon Musk. Other founder-CEOs are responsible for much of the background of modern life, but aren’t as well known – Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, eBay’s Pierre Omidyar, Uber’s Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp. The iconic Internet startup-CEO is a Millennial, Mark Zuckerberg. And no highly successful Gen-X entrepreneur has the stature of the two great Boomer godfathers of the digital age – Bill Gatesand Steve Jobs.

In politics, the influence of Generation X is also rarely noted, though we are integral to one of the remarkable political stories of the century – the rise to power of the Republican party. Gen-Xers were the most likely to embrace the Reagan Revolution in the “greed is good” 1980s, with its philosophy of deregulation and elevation of the free market. Like Michael J. Fox in Family Ties, we turned away from the hippie past to embrace a new era focused on the business of making money. Prominent Gen-Xers in politics today are mostly Republican, furthering that agenda. It’s as though left-leaning Gen-Xers are just not interested in getting involved.

In the 2016 presidential election the two Gen-Xers who made it the furthest in the primaries were Republicans Ted Cruz and Mark Rubio. With the subsequent Republican takeover of the government, it seemed that unfettered individualism had triumphed. This may be mostly a Boomer accomplishment, but it is one in which the Gen-X go-it-alone ethos has been complicit.
Since 2018, the tide has started to turn against Republican dominance. If a progressive wave does sweep away the current regime, if the Presidential administration does collapse from its corruption, Gen-Xers who hitched themselves to the Republican success story will find themselves sidelined. But Gen-Xers on the Democrat side aren’t likely to become prominent as a result. The political narrative of Democratic regeneracy is focused on the needs of the young generation, and the up-and-coming Democrat who is making the biggest waves today is a Millennial.

Media and entertainment is perhaps where Generation X enjoys the most eminence. A look at the highest paid film stars shows a lot of Gen-X faces. Gen-X has always been obsessed with pop culture, and now that we are in the peak of life, it’s like Gen-X content creators are finally getting the chance to realize the imaginative visions of their youth, aided by all the advances in computing and audiovisual technology. It’s no wonder so many of the franchises of our childhood years are springing to life in movie and television form. Gen-X also brings a bit of a dark touch; as I put it in an earlier post, we are in a large part responsible for a new film noir age.

As for the more serious side of media, Generation X has had less luck supplanting previous generations of journalists and news reporters. Part of the problem is that we peaked at the same time that “fake news” became a thing, and that the public stopped trusting traditional media. The great Gen-X opinion shapers are actually the sarcastic, fake news types, like Jon Stewart, or Stephen Colbert. It’s like not taking anything seriously has been our great contribution to the culture.

In family life, it’s Generation X whose live-and-let-live attitude has given us the diversity of the Modern Family, up-ending traditional family values. Not that Gen-Xers don’t support family – we are fiercely loyal and dedicated to those we love. After a childhood during a social era of family disintegration, we seek in mid-life to rediscover family life. We also are the ones who introduced work-life balance, turning away from the workaholic careerism of the Boomer generation. For us, for the most part, work is a necessity for survival, not a calling.

The main way in which the influence of Gen-X on family life is commonly regarded, if not acknowledged as a Gen-X trend, is in the rise of overprotective parenting – a reaction to the underprotective parenting of our childhood. A common kind of meme in social media feeds is one extolling the good old days of laxer parenting, and boasting about how a mid-lifer (70s or 80s kid) got along just fine without all the child protective rules and regulations of today. The irony is that a Gen-X parent might post such a meme, and might enjoy such a meme, but is unlikely to actually change parenting styles.

This high level look at Generation X shows how our ethos of individualism and self-determination has influenced our contributions to society. On the one hand, our productivity and innovation have helped sustain the great economic boom of the post-war period. Our tolerance and open-mindedness have helped to give us a society that is more diverse and full of opportunities for all than that of the past.

On the other hand, our avoidance of group participation – even denial of its value – hampers society’s ability to find solutions where collective action is required. This means long standing problems such as wealth inequality and the lack of affordable healthcare and education remain unsolved. As time marches on, Generation X has to be careful not to let its instinct for non-participation cause it to be fully sidelined, should a progressive or quasi-socialist regime supported by younger generations rise to power.

Gen-Xers still have many peak years of life left in which to make our contribution to history. In the transformative years that lie ahead, our generation may well produce new leaders from unexpected places. As the old order dies and a new one takes its place, we may find ourselves in positions of unprecedented power – and surprise the world with what we do with it. The story of Generation X is not over yet.
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

Saecular Pages
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#2
Well done article.

A nomad generation was supposed to accept in mid-life the increasing progressive, more collective or community-oriented slant of society during a 4T, and use their productive and innovative skill to be effective managers of the response to the crisis, while visionary prophets provide direction and guidance, and civics the man/woman power and dedication. That depends on some blue boomers fulfilling their roles as gray champion leaders. The younger generations will power this societal shift toward collegiality and community, but some leadership will still be Boomer, and Xers are still best fitted to be effective crisis managers. But even if Gen X doesn't produce a president (except another cusper like Obama), Xers will increasingly predominate in power, while millennials predominate in voting numbers and rising stars. As you imply, in the next 10 years it will be those Xers who can adapt to the less neo-liberal individualist regime who will gain power, especially in blue states and probably the nation.

I would think though that Boomers who looked upon a career as a calling, and as a fulfilling vocation rather than just a job, were not workaholics in the sense of being impelled to work too much. The stronger survival instinct of the Xer would seem to imply workaholism because of the need to survive. Boomer parents were often lauded by the older cohort millennials as caring and good teachers. Silents were the neglectful ones.

Those who understand the direction of society and technology will help shift society away from work to survive. Didn't I just post a Ted talk about this? Ah, here it is. Maybe a European Gen Xer is well-enough immune to the survivalist mentality so prevalent among Americans (especially Gen X, but certainly not exclusively to them). Or maybe he's a millennial.
http://generational-theory.com/forum/thr...l#pid41374
"I believe in a future where the value of your work is not determined by the size of your paycheck, but by the amount of happiness you spread, and the amount of meaning you give. I believe in a future where the point of education is not to prepare you for another useless job, but for a life well lived. I believe in a future where an existence without poverty is not a privilege, but a right we all deserve."

Gen Xers enjoy preeminence in entertainment? Boy, their "entertainment" sure leaves me cold. TV shows today have no character. Give me the older GI and Silent-produced ones any day. Gen X music (and late Boomer music too for that matter) is loud and deliberately obnoxious, at least the American music. Gen Xers here have justified this as a protest against their life situation. I say they did not use their angst to develop it into a real art form. Some Gen X culture is better than others, but overall I'd say it's as weak a contribution as their Republican politicians have made. The myth makers that created the franchises were mostly boomers.

But kudos to the Xer journalist-comedians. Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Seth Meyers and others help to make the times we live in under the cheeto in chief barely tolerable. Gen X irony has its value.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#3
(02-24-2019, 06:57 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: Well done article.

A nomad generation was supposed to accept in mid-life the increasing progressive, more collective or community-oriented slant of society during a 4T, and use their productive and innovative skill to be effective managers of the response to the crisis, while visionary prophets provide direction and guidance, and civics the man/woman power and dedication. That depends on some blue boomers fulfilling their roles as gray champion leaders. The younger generations will power this societal shift toward collegiality and community, but some leadership will still be Boomer, and Xers are still best fitted to be effective crisis managers. But even if Gen X doesn't produce a president (except another cusper like Obama), Xers will increasingly predominate in power, while millennials predominate in voting numbers and rising stars. As you imply, in the next 10 years it will be those Xers who can adapt to the less neo-liberal individualist regime who will gain power, especially in blue states and probably the nation.

I would think though that Boomers who looked upon a career as a calling, and as a fulfilling vocation rather than just a job, were not workaholics in the sense of being impelled to work too much. The stronger survival instinct of the Xer would seem to imply workaholism because of the need to survive. Boomer parents were often lauded by the older cohort millennials as caring and good teachers. Silents were the neglectful ones.

Those who understand the direction of society and technology will help shift society away from work to survive. Didn't I just post a Ted talk about this? Ah, here it is. Maybe a European Gen Xer is well-enough immune to the survivalist mentality so prevalent among Americans (especially Gen X, but certainly not exclusively to them). Or maybe he's a millennial.
http://generational-theory.com/forum/thr...l#pid41374
"I believe in a future where the value of your work is not determined by the size of your paycheck, but by the amount of happiness you spread, and the amount of meaning you give. I believe in a future where the point of education is not to prepare you for another useless job, but for a life well lived. I believe in a future where an existence without poverty is not a privilege, but a right we all deserve."

Gen Xers enjoy preeminence in entertainment? Boy, their "entertainment" sure leaves me cold. TV shows today have no character. Give me the older GI and Silent-produced ones any day. Gen X music (and late Boomer music too for that matter) is loud and deliberately obnoxious, at least the American music. Gen Xers here have justified this as a protest against their life situation. I say they did not use their angst to develop it into a real art form. Some Gen X culture is better than others, but overall I'd say it's as weak a contribution as their Republican politicians have made. The myth makers that created the franchises were mostly boomers.

But kudos to the Xer journalist-comedians. Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Seth Meyers and others help to make the times we live in under the cheeto in chief barely tolerable. Gen X irony has its value.

Thanks, Eric, for the thoughtful replies.

I'm not sure that neoliberalism will die in this 4T, it seems a lot of its assumptions are pretty entrenched. Of course, something will likely happen to mitigate its negative effects. The TED talker you linked to is Rutger Bregman - he is a Millennial, b 1988. He proposes Universal Basic Income as a solution to poverty, which I believe mikebert has referred to as simply a bandaid over neoliberalism, not addressing it fundamentally. But it still might make a difference.

Sorry you don't like our movies and music; I'm pretty happy with them myself. I do love a lot of the Boomer stuff, too - it's what I remember from my childhood, of course. I was weaned on Pink Floyd.  Cool
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

Saecular Pages
Reply
#4
(02-25-2019, 07:36 AM)sbarrera Wrote:
(02-24-2019, 06:57 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: Well done article.

A nomad generation was supposed to accept in mid-life the increasing progressive, more collective or community-oriented slant of society during a 4T, and use their productive and innovative skill to be effective managers of the response to the crisis, while visionary prophets provide direction and guidance, and civics the man/woman power and dedication. That depends on some blue boomers fulfilling their roles as gray champion leaders. The younger generations will power this societal shift toward collegiality and community, but some leadership will still be Boomer, and Xers are still best fitted to be effective crisis managers. But even if Gen X doesn't produce a president (except another cusper like Obama), Xers will increasingly predominate in power, while millennials predominate in voting numbers and rising stars. As you imply, in the next 10 years it will be those Xers who can adapt to the less neo-liberal individualist regime who will gain power, especially in blue states and probably the nation.

I would think though that Boomers who looked upon a career as a calling, and as a fulfilling vocation rather than just a job, were not workaholics in the sense of being impelled to work too much. The stronger survival instinct of the Xer would seem to imply workaholism because of the need to survive. Boomer parents were often lauded by the older cohort millennials as caring and good teachers. Silents were the neglectful ones.

Those who understand the direction of society and technology will help shift society away from work to survive. Didn't I just post a Ted talk about this? Ah, here it is. Maybe a European Gen Xer is well-enough immune to the survivalist mentality so prevalent among Americans (especially Gen X, but certainly not exclusively to them). Or maybe he's a millennial.
http://generational-theory.com/forum/thr...l#pid41374
"I believe in a future where the value of your work is not determined by the size of your paycheck, but by the amount of happiness you spread, and the amount of meaning you give. I believe in a future where the point of education is not to prepare you for another useless job, but for a life well lived. I believe in a future where an existence without poverty is not a privilege, but a right we all deserve."

Gen Xers enjoy preeminence in entertainment? Boy, their "entertainment" sure leaves me cold. TV shows today have no character. Give me the older GI and Silent-produced ones any day. Gen X music (and late Boomer music too for that matter) is loud and deliberately obnoxious, at least the American music. Gen Xers here have justified this as a protest against their life situation. I say they did not use their angst to develop it into a real art form. Some Gen X culture is better than others, but overall I'd say it's as weak a contribution as their Republican politicians have made. The myth makers that created the franchises were mostly boomers.

But kudos to the Xer journalist-comedians. Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Seth Meyers and others help to make the times we live in under the cheeto in chief barely tolerable. Gen X irony has its value.

Thanks, Eric, for the thoughtful replies.

I'm not sure that neoliberalism will die in this 4T, it seems a lot of its assumptions are pretty entrenched. Of course, something will likely happen to mitigate its negative effects. The TED talker you linked to is Rutger Bregman - he is a Millennial, b 1988. He proposes Universal Basic Income as a solution to poverty, which I believe mikebert has referred to as simply a bandaid over neoliberalism, not addressing it fundamentally. But it still might make a difference.

Sorry you don't like our movies and music; I'm pretty happy with them myself. I do love a lot of the Boomer stuff, too - it's what I remember from my childhood, of course. I was weaned on Pink Floyd.  Cool

Of course, Gen X also possesses as its own a lot of entertainment and music created by late-wave boomers, just as boomers identify with a lot created by late-wave silents. Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is one example, a hugely-popular song about not caring about things, and it has nice moments, but it sure doesn't get MY juices flowing.

I like the sixties psychedelic Pink Floyd better than the quiet melodic and lyrical-emphasis seventies Pink Floyd.

I'm not sure neo-liberalism will die or not, but it might if the Bernie and AOC-types gain more power (Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez). It probably can't disappear entirely, to the extent that free market capitalism is still around and has its say. However it should be pared back to its level before Reagan-Thatcher. The assumptions of the Reagan era need to be UN-entrenched, and it could happen. I think Bregman's proposal would cut the heart out of neo-liberalism, and rob it of its fundamental assumption of blaming the poor for their use of welfare and its primary virtue of "earning a living" instead of "freeloading on the backs of taxpayers," but it would also cut back on socialist-type "paternalistic" bureaucracy.

Neo-liberalism is doomed to the extent robots take over our jobs. Having a job will then lose its virtue. If the machines do all the work, why should the saving of labor they provide only accrue to the owners of the machines? No, the proceeds of production must be distributed more equally, whether as more money for less hours, or basic income.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#5
(02-24-2019, 06:57 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: Well done article.

A nomad generation was supposed to accept in mid-life the increasing progressive, more collective or community-oriented slant of society during a 4T, and use their productive and innovative skill to be effective managers of the response to the crisis, while visionary prophets provide direction and guidance, and civics the man/woman power and dedication. That depends on some blue boomers fulfilling their roles as gray champion leaders. The younger generations will power this societal shift toward collegiality and community, but some leadership will still be Boomer, and Xers are still best fitted to be effective crisis managers. But even if Gen X doesn't produce a president (except another cusper like Obama), Xers will increasingly predominate in power, while millennials predominate in voting numbers and rising stars. As you imply, in the next 10 years it will be those Xers who can adapt to the less neo-liberal individualist regime who will gain power, especially in blue states and probably the nation.

A Nomad/Reactive generation accepts the more equitable, progressive, and communitarian ethos that emerges at some point in the 4T because the every-man-for-himself concept fails all but the most ferocious predators within Humanity. A Nomad generation that can do little to protect itself can at the least create the material and institutional bases of a safer and more satisfying world for its younger loved ones. The Nomad/Reactive generation is unable to create the ethos, but it can pick and choose as Prophet/Idealist factions, especially the exploiters who see themselves as benefactors to those that they cheat out of any chance at happiness, discredit themselves. The Prophet/Idealist has seen it all if he has so chosen, but the Nomad/Reactive has felt it all. Note also that in desperate attempts to get personal recoveries from economic calamities typical of a 4T, Nomads are the ones to do small-scale enterprise on a shoe-string that can be models for doing much the same on a bigger scale when the capital is available.  One fails alone as a Nomad/Reactive, and one finds others imitating what one does on a bigger scale for more profit if one succeeds as a Nomad/Reactive.


Quote:I would think though that Boomers who looked upon a career as a calling, and as a fulfilling vocation rather than just a job, were not workaholics in the sense of being impelled to work too much. The stronger survival instinct of the Xer would seem to imply workaholism because of the need to survive. Boomer parents were often lauded by the older cohort millennials as caring and good teachers. Silents were the neglectful ones.

Whoever loves his job has solved most of the problems in his life, whether he is an intellectual or a laborer. The problem with Boomers was that too many wanted to be cerebral leaders at the neglect of the material basis of prosperity. Maybe our Silent guidance counselors told too many of us "whatever you do, don't do factory work", and too many of us heeded that advice. We ended up competing for jobs that weren't available, and we neglected the gritty world of making the material basis of prosperity. We still need glass, steel, petroleum, and concrete for prosperity, and we left manufacturing exclusively to the dummies. Many of us ended up seeking jobs that did not exist while needful work went undone or was done badly.  Just look at the 1970s as a sort of hard time for the automotive industry, when American-made cars were awful and imports started taking over the market.



Quote:Those who understand the direction of society and technology will help shift society away from work to survive. Didn't I just post a Ted talk about this? Ah, here it is. Maybe a European Gen Xer is well-enough immune to the survivalist mentality so prevalent among Americans (especially Gen X, but certainly not exclusively to them). Or maybe he's a millennial.

There will always be opportunity for work. Manufacturing became a bigger share of the economy as food surpluses emerged and fewer people were needed for farm labor. Intellectual property is now a bigger share of the economy now that few of us are in gross need of material comforts.
 

Quote:"I believe in a future where the value of your work is not determined by the size of your paycheck, but by the amount of happiness you spread, and the amount of meaning you give. I believe in a future where the point of education is not to prepare you for another useless job, but for a life well lived. I believe in a future where an existence without poverty is not a privilege, but a right we all deserve."

The economic paradigm that we now know will fail because the command-and-control system behind it will become unworkable. Need and fear will no longer drive people to do what is simply necessary for the indulgence of economic elites. Indeed, the depravity of the most prominent member of America's economic elite, Donald Trump, exemplifies the last-ditch efforts of that elite to grab what it can while it can. Even if the rapacious crony capitalist does not face the 21st-century equivalent of the Madame Guillotine, that beast can also become irrelevant and know it. The command-and-control system mandates drudgery for the masses...but what if the drudgery becomes unnecessary?

Most of us still have a desire to create and experience. Curiosity will be among the strongest tools of the marketer. Enterprise will still thrive -- but it will not have inequality of result as an objective.


Quote:Gen Xers enjoy preeminence in entertainment? Boy, their "entertainment" sure leaves me cold. TV shows today have no character. Give me the older GI and Silent-produced ones any day. Gen X music (and late Boomer music too for that matter) is loud and deliberately obnoxious, at least the American music. Gen Xers here have justified this as a protest against their life situation. I say they did not use their angst to develop it into a real art form. Some Gen X culture is better than others, but overall I'd say it's as weak a contribution as their Republican politicians have made. The myth makers that created the franchises were mostly boomers.

One of the basic rules of television programming is that anyone over 48 who is not fantastically wealthy (and can thus buy the high-priced products of brokerage and life insurance, elite real estate, and very expensive vehicles and 'luxury' travel --- including perhaps visits to Pebble Beach and Augusta*) is irrelevant. Entertainment that satisfies older audiences but not younger audiences goes off the air because advertisers can't reach them. Most people over 48 have already solidified their consumer habits if they are not so erratic in their consumer habits that their choices are caprice beyond the suggestions of advertising. So contrast two families, the middle-class Schmidt family of two 50-something professionals who live in Arlington, Texas and the struggling blue-collar Herrera family that consists of two adults with cr@ppy jobs and three kids in Brownsville, Texas. So the Herrera family doesn't have much disposable income? Sure -- but it is still not fully set on what brand names of breakfast cereal and clothes-washing detergents to buy. If you are the advertising agency for P&G or Kellogg's, you are going to pay attention to the Herrera family and try to reach it. The Herrera family still has some flexibility in consumer choices.

Quote:But kudos to the Xer journalist-comedians. Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Seth Meyers and others help to make the times we live in under the cheeto in chief barely tolerable. Gen X irony has its value.

Such are the times in which we live. If you can't laugh, you will cry.

*Golf gets very poor ratings as raw numbers, but it has an upscale audience capable of buying such things as million-dollar life-insurance policies, and trips to the expensive shrines of golf.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#6
(02-26-2019, 07:21 AM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(02-24-2019, 06:57 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: Well done article.

A nomad generation was supposed to accept in mid-life the increasing progressive, more collective or community-oriented slant of society during a 4T, and use their productive and innovative skill to be effective managers of the response to the crisis, while visionary prophets provide direction and guidance, and civics the man/woman power and dedication. That depends on some blue boomers fulfilling their roles as gray champion leaders. The younger generations will power this societal shift toward collegiality and community, but some leadership will still be Boomer, and Xers are still best fitted to be effective crisis managers. But even if Gen X doesn't produce a president (except another cusper like Obama), Xers will increasingly predominate in power, while millennials predominate in voting numbers and rising stars. As you imply, in the next 10 years it will be those Xers who can adapt to the less neo-liberal individualist regime who will gain power, especially in blue states and probably the nation.

A Nomad/Reactive generation accepts the more equitable, progressive, and communitarian ethos that emerges at some point in the 4T because the every-man-for-himself concept fails all but the most ferocious predators within Humanity. A Nomad generation that can do little to protect itself can at the least create the material and institutional of a safer and more satisfying world for its younger loved ones. The Nomad/Reactive generation is unable to create the ethos, but it can pick and choose as Prophet/Idealist factions, especially the exploiters who see themselves as benefactors to those that they cheat out of any chance at happiness, discredit themselves. The Prophet/Idealist has seen it all if he has so chosen, but the Nomad/Reactive has felt it all. Note also that in desperate attempts to get personal recoveries from economic calamities typical of a 4T, Nomads are the ones to do small-scale enterprise on a shoe-string that can be models for doing much the same on a bigger scale when the capital is available.  One fails alone as a Nomad/Reactive, and one finds others imitating what one does on a bigger scale for more profit if one succeeds as a Nomad/Reactive.

Right

Quote:
Quote:I would think though that Boomers who looked upon a career as a calling, and as a fulfilling vocation rather than just a job, were not workaholics in the sense of being impelled to work too much. The stronger survival instinct of the Xer would seem to imply workaholism because of the need to survive. Boomer parents were often lauded by the older cohort millennials as caring and good teachers. Silents were the neglectful ones.

Whoever loves his job has solved most of the problems in his life, whether he is an intellectual or a laborer. The problem with Boomers was that too many wanted to be cerebral leaders at the neglect of the material basis of prosperity. Maybe our Silent guidance counselors told too many of us "whatever you do, don't do factory work", and too many of us heeded that advice. We ended up competing for jobs that weren't available, and we neglected the gritty world of making the material basis of prosperity. We still need glass, steel, petroleum, and concrete for prosperity, and we left manufacturing exclusively to the dummies. Many of us ended up seeking jobs that did not exist while needful work went undone or was done badly.  Just look at the 1970s as a sort of hard time for the automotive industry, when American-made cars were awful and imports started taking over the market.

The fault lay mostly with the GI-generation executives. They got stuck in their ways and assumed no innovation was needed. There were still plenty of skilled boomers around to do the factory work, and then the Xers came along and there were more. The fact is factory work was on the way out anyway, and boomers were pioneers of the new way and created it. Now industry is more productive than it was before. But the social elements have not recovered.

Quote:
Quote:Those who understand the direction of society and technology will help shift society away from work to survive. Didn't I just post a Ted talk about this? Ah, here it is. Maybe a European Gen Xer is well-enough immune to the survivalist mentality so prevalent among Americans (especially Gen X, but certainly not exclusively to them). Or maybe he's a millennial.

There will always be opportunity for work. Manufacturing became a bigger share of the economy as food surpluses emerged and fewer people were needed for farm labor. Intellectual property is now a bigger share of the economy now that few of us are in gross need of material comforts.
 

I don't think so. Less work is needed, even intellectual work. Robots are taking over almost anything. How many robot tenders do we need? No, technology saves labor, and eventually it will destroy it utterly. Opportunity has dried up in the Rust Belt, and elsewhere. The neo-liberal adoration of work and blame on those who get government income is doomed. Most people will not get jobs in the future, unless pay is raised and hours are reduced. The owners of the machines are not entitled to all their benefits.

Free trade also hollowed out jobs in the USA. In the long term, as other poorer countries mature economically, free trade won't be a problem. But from the 1970s until sometime a few decades from now, it has helped to destroy the USA economy. Again, free trade was a neo-liberal doctrine imposed on us. These libertarian-economics ideas were put into power by those who were threatened by the reforms and movements of The Awakening.

They found their man. As Henry Giroux says, when Reagan and Thatcher got married, they had many children (e.g. Gingrich, Ryan, GW Bush, Trump), and they put our society in the grip of neo-liberal trickle-down economics and welfare bashing. Classic Xer is a disciple. It's time to throw it overboard.
http://generational-theory.com/forum/thr...l#pid41386

Quote:
Quote:"I believe in a future where the value of your work is not determined by the size of your paycheck, but by the amount of happiness you spread, and the amount of meaning you give. I believe in a future where the point of education is not to prepare you for another useless job, but for a life well lived. I believe in a future where an existence without poverty is not a privilege, but a right we all deserve."

The economic paradigm that we now know will fail because the command-and-control system behind it will become unworkable. Need and fear will no longer drive people to do what is simply necessary for the indulgence of economic elites. Indeed, the depravity of the most prominent member of America's economic elite, Donald Trump, exemplifies the last-ditch efforts of that elite to grab what it can while it can. Even if the rapacious crony capitalist does not face the 21st-century equivalent of the Madame Guillotine, that beast can also become irrelevant and know it. The command-and-control system mandates drudgery for the masses...but what if the drudgery becomes unnecessary?

Most of us still have a desire to create and experience. Curiosity will be among the strongest tools of the marketer. Enterprise will still thrive -- but it will not have inequality of result as an objective.

Curiosity drove my discoveries in the awakening. It drives many people to create and discover. Factory labor is a relic of the industrial age, which is over. Work will be re-defined as Rutger Bergman says.
http://generational-theory.com/forum/thr...l#pid41374
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#7
There will be a powerful movement to preserve intellectual work, for that can be the most human of all work. We will insist upon the human touch -- and being the human touch. Musicians themselves will insist upon being live orchestras instead of having synthesized orchestras.

At the least, live music and live theater are usually far superior to the recorded, let alone synthesized, varieties.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#8
(02-26-2019, 09:05 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: There will be a powerful movement to preserve intellectual work, for that can be the most human of all work. We will insist upon the human touch -- and being the human touch. Musicians themselves will insist upon being live orchestras instead of having synthesized orchestras.

At the least, live music and live theater are usually far superior to the recorded, let alone synthesized, varieties.

While you certainly may be correct, yours are opinions that are not universally shared.  There are true-believers in the artistic ability we can instill in AI.  I don't agree with that either, but neither of us will be around to see the final verdict on that one.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#9
(02-26-2019, 09:05 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: There will be a powerful movement to preserve intellectual work, for that can be the most human of all work. We will insist upon the human touch -- and being the human touch. Musicians themselves will insist upon being live orchestras instead of having synthesized orchestras.

At the least, live music and live theater are usually far superior to the recorded, let alone synthesized, varieties.

I think you're talking about the kind of work Bregman is praising, work that adds meaning, not just work that uses the mind to make money (like computer programming or robot design, or as he said, work to entice people to click on ads). Intellectual work which directly replaces factory jobs won't need as many people. But there will be a market for creative intellectual and artistic work. That would include all of the above, live and recorded, orchestral and synthesizer. 

It's all the human touch; just different media. Myself I love recordings because you can hear them again and listen intimately. Playing records has been a lifelong pastime of mine, and I have played them over the radio and the internet on my programs. I love synthesizer music, especially the ambient variety. The latter is the best music made today. That instrument has come a long way. I still love the orchestra too though, and always have; and since I was 14 in 1964 I love a good rock band too. These days, the original creative talent is not so much evident for either orchestra OR rock band, though. It would be nice if it were again.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#10
(02-27-2019, 11:49 AM)David Horn Wrote:
(02-26-2019, 09:05 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: There will be a powerful movement to preserve intellectual work, for that can be the most human of all work. We will insist upon the human touch -- and being the human touch. Musicians themselves will insist upon being live orchestras instead of having synthesized orchestras.

At the least, live music and live theater are usually far superior to the recorded, let alone synthesized, varieties.

While you certainly may be correct, yours are opinions that are not universally shared.  There are true-believers in the artistic ability we can instill in AI.  I don't agree with that either, but neither of us will be around to see the final verdict on that one.

If computers start creating art, humans won't be able to appreciate it properly. Humans will always prefer art created by another human, brimming with human emotion and sensuality.
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#11
(02-28-2019, 10:25 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote:
(02-27-2019, 11:49 AM)David Horn Wrote:
(02-26-2019, 09:05 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: There will be a powerful movement to preserve intellectual work, for that can be the most human of all work. We will insist upon the human touch -- and being the human touch. Musicians themselves will insist upon being live orchestras instead of having synthesized orchestras.

At the least, live music and live theater are usually far superior to the recorded, let alone synthesized, varieties.

While you certainly may be correct, yours are opinions that are not universally shared.  There are true-believers in the artistic ability we can instill in AI.  I don't agree with that either, but neither of us will be around to see the final verdict on that one.

If computers start creating art, humans won't be able to appreciate it properly. Humans will always prefer art created by another human, brimming with human emotion and sensuality.

That's very true, except for the obvious point that computers and synthesizers have become instruments and media in their own right, used by humans to express that sensitivity.

Just one powerful example among many:


"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#12
(02-27-2019, 02:52 PM)Eric the Green Wrote:
(02-26-2019, 09:05 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: There will be a powerful movement to preserve intellectual work, for that can be the most human of all work. We will insist upon the human touch -- and being the human touch. Musicians themselves will insist upon being live orchestras instead of having synthesized orchestras.

At the least, live music and live theater are usually far superior to the recorded, let alone synthesized, varieties.

I think you're talking about the kind of work Bregman is praising, work that adds meaning, not just work that uses the mind to make money (like computer programming or robot design, or as he said, work to entice people to click on ads). Intellectual work which directly replaces factory jobs won't need as many people. But there will be a market for creative intellectual and artistic work. That would include all of the above, live and recorded, orchestral and synthesizer.

True -- but it is often the technical work that creates the wealth that funds some expensive activities in theater, music, and visual art.
I predict that the American economy will be obliged to heavily tax robot-based production as well as property rents to support a welfare system that keeps people from hunger and exposure. People are precious, lest the social order become 'disposable' in a revolution.

Quote:It's all the human touch; just different media. Myself I love recordings because you can hear them again and listen intimately. Playing records has been a lifelong pastime of mine, and I have played them over the radio and the internet on my programs. I love synthesizer music, especially the ambient variety. The latter is the best music made today. That instrument has come a long way. I still love the orchestra too though, and always have; and since I was 14 in 1964 I love a good rock band too. These days, the original creative talent is not so much evident for either orchestra OR rock band, though. It would be nice if it were again.

Of course. Recordings are the only way a living person can now have of how Pavarotti (let alone Caruso!) sang; how Artur Rubinstein played the piano, how Mstislav Rostropovich played the cello, how Jascha Heifetz played the violin, or how George Szell conducted. (Add musicians of other categories too). Recordings are one way to rediscover music that has gone undeservedly out of style.

But this said, you are not going to get people to spend real money to go to a concert hall to listen to a recording. Obviously the copyrights get in the way... Recordings always lose something, and in the era of digital recording they really lose something. Compression and decompression? Or did recording companies and recording engineers get excessively complacent with the word "digital" that they lost the concept of musicality?

In my experience, the late analogue era of recording (1970s), before record companies pushed "DDD" as if it were a revolutionary improvement instead at times of a mangling, offered some superbly-recorded recording of music. Digital recording was great for the bean-counters in the recording cartel.

But that topic goes to sound quality.I might take that discussion to an old thread for revival.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#13
Yes, this was a good article.

I wish the X-ers all the best. Hopefully they're not yet Generation ex-hausted, as S&H claimed.
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