The economic life-cycle of contemporary Australian youth

Once upon a time there was a land of opportunity called Australia. In it, a young person could hope to be raised amid perpetually rising living standards the envy of the world. Great weather, good universities, native English language the global lingua franca, reasonably affordable accommodation, proximity to Asia and relatives in Europe, very safe, high wages, good infrastructure, solid institutions and an excellent safety net all contributed to this outlook.

Remarkably, there was virtually no class system to hold this youth back. S/he could look forward to working hard, learning a well-paid tertiary career, enjoying a gap year and leaving home at a dignified age to set his or her own course to build independent wealth.

Then something went wrong. Very wrong. And the economic life-cycle of the Australian youth changed very much for the worse.

The youth now inhabited a land of wholesale corruption and greed called Straya. In it, a young person looked forward to declining living standards in perpetuity sliding down the global scale. Great weather turned into climate change and planet-wide destruction. Good universities plodded into an ever-declining future as pedagogical standards fell to meet the lowest common denominator of middle class Asian students paying for tuition. Native English was spoken less. Accommodations became a running joke as house prices soared to globally unaffordable levels and rents went with them as mass immigration stuffed people into major cities. Proximity to Asia threatened to overturn Australian democracy as Chinese regional hegemony mushroomed. Urban safety declined as global grievances were imported. Wages fell as policy mismanagement and mass immigration forced them down. Infrastructure got crush-loaded and environmental amenity was trashed. Solid institutions were debased by corruption and politicisation and anyone tapping the safety net was widely condemned for being a parasite.

What had been a fabulously horizontal society transformed swiftly into a vertical class structure of the landed and the deprived. The youth of Straya worked hard but could not get enough hours. When s/he did it was in competition with an imported coolie that lowered his or her wage. The university degree was now a mass-produced worthless piece of paper offering no competitive advantage. There was no chance of leaving home during or after university as the cost of living was absurd. The gap year turned into a global pilgrimage to find a higher paying job that offered the vague hope of buying a property back home, hamstrung by a currency held high by offshore borrowing to fund Strayan elders lavish lifestyles. Children of the Strayan youth’s own were deferred endlessly to age 39 and IVF exploded.

This is the economic life-cycle of the contemporary Strayan youth. Screwed by parents. Systematically exploited by government. Rorted by a parasitic media and over-concentrated corporate sector that can imagine no other outcome than defense of the Boomer rump.  Destined to wipe the arses of, and serve coffees to, those former Australian youths that took it all for themselves.

Comments

    • Interesting to compare with Finland, like the article on the weekend newspaper sites.
      Strong legal system, no private schools, equal opportunity for all., lots of skiing, consensus politics, high taxes on the well off, good universities (thats Finland).

  1. Australia used to be an example to the world. Now it is an example of what not to do. Thanks to the war on the working class, aggregate demand in this country has all but collapsed and it won’t revive whilst Do-Nothing is our PM. Then again, if the ALP does nothing about immigration then things won’t improve. Especially on the East Coast. My heart aches for all the young people suffering in Sydney and Melbourne. Then again, things are not much better in Perth. As it is hard to believe, money has simply evaporated over West. Apart from the Super Rich we are all struggling.

  2. Yes, the Moron Side of the Force rules in Straya, from top to bottom. If one cares to trace it back to where it started, it shouldn’t be too hard to find that the CAD is at the root of this corruption. It pretty much defines what kind of country it is going to be and sets the course for the country going forward…..

    Once a country accepts that chronic CADs are okay, then it starts going down the path of the Moron Side of the Force….. and chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. Bit by bit, the whole country becomes captive of the foreign interests…..

    Almost time for a new episode, eh?

  3. The safety net has become a suffocating noose.

    And for over a decade, the bogans believed that traffic jams are caused by boat arrivals rather than aircraft arrivals.

    Captain Rinnan was knighted by Norway’s King Harald for his role in the rescue and honoured by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    You can not make this up! Howard labeled him a “people smuggler” and the best nation on the planet knighted him.

    The youth have seen China build 25,000 km of high speed rail and will see Modi carry out his promise of building a high speed railway – while seeing Gillard and Jacinda break their televised promises to cut immigration.

    The youth have also seen UBI get installed in Iran and India while Chris Bowen offers a false binary choice on it.

      • Remember ole mate Hyman Minsky ,He said “Some of you will fail”.
        Bad news, punters especially young punters . Some of you must fail.
        Not probably, >unfortunately,> but must.
        It’s a necessity of how society works.
        Most of this is due to the behaviour gap: a parade of dumb decisions where the average punter seeks the comfort of a safety net, rather than the adventure of the road less travelled.

        Avoiding this behaviour is the holy grail of a successful life.
        Some -can be taught to read the signs and behave better, but the reality is that, as a group, we never can, never will.
        Why?
        Because most humans are just human.

  4. Not a lot will change unless there is a seismic shift ie: significant downturn, depression, maybe natural event whatever that may be. We are after all just another creature trying to survive in a Darwinian world, whether we like to think of our selves as superior or not. We’re not ….. we’ll just find another, more complicated way to destroy ourselves.
    Knowing the level of wealth (or lack of) and standard of living in other parts of the globe, we are not so badly off and have a long way to fall (if we are to fall naturally), so the ‘average’ aussie will hang on and survive as best they can through the slow grind downwards. Because doing something exceptionally different may mean either losing the great (or meagre) riches some have gained, or what little some others have scraped together.
    I grew up through the period in the first paragraphs (in Far Nth Qld), and i now have two daughters (yr12 and uni) growing up in this age. I had a bundle of fun growing up literally without a care in the world. I know that’s not going to be the case for my girls, and they are pretty intelligent and well adjusted.
    The average lifespan of a civilisation is 250 to 400 years, some a lot more. ‘We’ wont be breaking any records for longevity, but this could go on for while yet !!

    • “We are after all just another creature trying to survive in a Darwinian world”

      The number one survival trait all animals share is providing for their young.

      Except among Australians. We want to open our country to the world and destroy our own offsprings future.

      Hang your heads in shame.

      • yes many do provide for their offspring …….. but there are several species that willingly kill the offspring of others so they are not threatened in the near future …… sometimes wonder which we are ??!!

    • The Greens winning the federal seat of Batman will be interesting. Given that inequality is growing, they really need to do something for the poor if they ever form a minority government with the ALP again.

      Putting in a carbon tax of $23/ton (while it was $10/ton in Europe) and not giving out carbon compo cheques was utter madness. Try giving out carbon compo cheques next time, braindead Greens.

      After all, raising the unemployment payments is politically difficult but giving out carbon compo cheques “instead” would be lapped up by the electorate.

      • Labor’s disastrous alliance with the Greens has ensured Labor forever remains in opposition. It will never happen again. Labor’s finished, the sooner we move on from them, the better for all of us.

  5. +100. As a baby boomer I have watched the impact of greed and stupidity unfold with growing unease that morphed to anger and now to white hot volcanic rage. Our electoral process is broken – representatives are captured by vested interests that are contrary to community interests. So policy development has become all about favouring these vested interests rather than the community at large. Even worse, our national and personal moral fibre has been shredded by so many factors that would take a page to list.
    But, on the positive side, as mentioned above, I can now use female toilets.

    • This! Australias woes are all sympthoms of a broken political system. Change the electoral system to allow options and the woes will go away.

      MMP or Proportional Voting, take a pick.

      • You’re not going to get corrupt politicians to change the way they’re voted in. There’s only one way. That’s for the electorate to wipe them out. Haven’t seen anything resembling a plan. We continue voting for idiot A or idiot B. Vote with our brains and vote for maximum disruption in a coordinated way is the sole path to anything changing.

    • +100. Unless the politicians can be made to fear a swift boot off the gravy train, there will be no changes for the better.

      “If you aren’t putting the major parties last, then you are part of the problem.”

    • Hawke and Keating got the ball rolling, but Howard and his crew were the ones who ran up and gave it a mighty kick down the field. It might have been recoverable up until then, but now you would struggle to find a politician anywhere in the country who hasn’t been at least somewhat infected by neoliberalism. The handful of people still standing in the smoking ruins of the centre-left like the Greens and SAP are the only ones who really talk about the things that facilitate greater opportunity and economic equality (public services, public ownership of critical assets, regulation of the FIRE industries, workers rights, etc), but they still have to couch it in centrist terms or be dismissed as anti-business commies.

      • “public services, public ownership of critical assets, regulation of the FIRE industries, workers rights, etc”

        Nice try, more like talk about diversity, male privilege, white workers don’t deserve rights because patriarchy…

      • Blame Costello – halved CGT, reintroduced negative gearing.
        Bang , the property markets off and takes over Australia. Now no one has any investment ideas or careers, except attempt to buy 4 houses on interest only.

      • The Greens are going to be labelled “socialist” no matter what they do and the SAP is going to be called “racist” no matter what.

        Abbott created work for the dole in 1998 – why did the ALP not abolish it when they were in power or at least make it optional. Now that the ALP is in opposition and a teen died while doing work for the dole, Ed Husic is talking about “maybe abolishing it”.

        After losing the 2013 election, Chris Bowen talked about phasing out negative gearing. Why not trim it slightly when the ALP was in power.

        Not building high speed rail did not save money at all – the money got wasted on 12 submarines instead. And I kept saying that on The Urbanist before Abbott won the election.

        You want the income tax free threshold raised to $30k? That does nothing for the homeless but does boost the income of a guy on $130k! Foreigners get to enjoy the threshold too. UBI can be restricted to citizens only. Very easy to put one in politically: Do you want a $900 cheque each month? The bogans will say “yes”. Just like the bogans of Alaska.

      • Jacob, I was ambivalent re UBI, perhaps erring in its favour as it was apparently originally proposed by Milton Friedman (so many good ideas).

        You have turned me off the concept completely. Too much bleating, too much handout mentality mate. And you’re 31?

  6. Don’t I know it. As a 28yo I’m at the upper end of ‘youth’ but still very much affected by the downturn, and with young parents (late 40s) stand little chance of inheriting any property or even a little cash.

    For the time being I’ve found my (rented) home in Dunedin, NZ, after some years in Frankfurt and Bristol. It’s not perfect of course, but it feels like going back in time a bit to when things are less crowded, more egalitarian, and more hopeful for our kids (assuming NZ Labor shows some follow through). My parents and family are pretty disappointed they don’t get to see my boys growing up, and I’m not to thrilled by that situation either (no nights off!), but that’s the price to pay to escape to vortex of despair that modern Straya has become.

  7. By comparison, the quality of life i can get here is still far higher than in the US or UK. Also, rising property prices and stagnating wages are hardly unique to Australia. The whole western world is suffering from the same disease: globalization. To imply that it is a uniquely Australian problem is BS.

    It is true though, that at 28, i stand very little chance of ever purchasing property without some windfall. I also have to work with a swathe of technologically incompetent and slow boomers who couldn’t manage a piss up in a brewery who all earn well into the 6 figures.

    • The US and UK are just similar Anglosaxon basket cases. You are right, 100% of Brits I have spoken about their migration to Australia absolutely love it here.

      Ask people from continental Europe and you will get a much different reply.

      • You mean all those mainland Europeans that flock to the UK for better wages? Or maybe the Greeks and Italians who struggle to take cash out of an ATM?

      • AnonNL, that might be selection bias though. I bet working as a lecturer in a British uni is a lot more satisfying than working as a lecturer in an Aussie “uni”. You probably know that foreign “students” cheat on exams to come here and bribe professors once they get here in order to get what they do not deserve.

        Although lecturers may find housing in Britain is less affordable than housing in AUS. I am not sure.

        Britain ranks better than AUS on the corruption index now.

        Britain still makes jet engines and cars. London is getting a new £14.8 billion railway (Crossrail) including 21 km of tunneling while AUS gets more and more toll roads with corrupt contracts.

      • Agree HnH, I always cringe when Aussies tell each other to suck it up because people in the Third World are dying… and then pat each other on the back for being good Aussie blokes. Hard Yakka! Yeah!

        How about setting a high standard?

        Being an Island really helps the top guys to keep the population stupid and their pockets filled. Lucky Country!

      • The contextual factors that you ignore make it a pretty pointless comparison. Like, you know, how the greatest war in human history resulted in the greatest displacement of wealth and power in human history and the effects of that displacement have waned greatly over time.

        I agree that the country is managed poorly. I just don’t think, even with effective management, our lives would be as good as our parents or their parents. They were born into a golden era.

        Edit: I guess my point is that a little positivity is alright sometimes eh.

      • @Tom – Factors of influence everywhere but I honestly feel like youth here is being shafted more than in many other countries.

  8. Possible strategy for youth: Try to get the voting age lowered, and no votes for very aged (70?) and in proportion to the increase in the life expectancy. + Youth attending religious services should not be expected to put money on the plate.

      • TYPO: Biggest employer should have said biggest private employer. I’ll take a fold out table next time on public transport and do things properly.

      • Yep. I knew more at the age of 31 than I did at the age of 21. Simple fact of life.

        Also, the youth are not in the job market competing against 457 visa staff for a job – they are in “uni”.

    • Lowering the voting age is the worse thing for young people, because they have been indoctrinated with the political left progressive social ideology. As some have said already, they are their own worse enemy. But they have been brainwashed by the education system.
      The seed of today’s broken society began in the mid sixties by academic social scientists with incremental changes to the immigration program and then combined with the globalist neoliberal ideology of the mid seventies – it’s all been backwards. since.
      Anyway the the voting age and maybe the drinking age should be raised to 21.

      • Souros donating millions to Getup (straight to Labor and Greens propaganda) says it all.

        Everything wrong with Australia can be found in that fact.

    • Gen X + Gen Y are already in the majority in both Parliament and the electorate as a whole. If this is an intergenerational problem rather than a class problem, then why haven’t these virtuous younger voters and politicians made at least a start on fixing the very real problems of younger people? Disenfranchising people because they are old (unless they are actually demented) isn’t much different from disenfranchising them because they are black or female, or don’t have enough property.

      As Ric says, the real problem is that young people are their own worst enemy. They vote overwhelmingly for the major parties that are wrecking their lives.

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-10/fact-check-would-voters-aged-under-30-possible-elect-a-green-pm/7467068

  9. Too gloomy to describe current situation for youth, can’t validate prescience for future youth!

    Adolescent hood has been extended five or more years as thousands embark on pisspoor Uni degrees. A handful undertake something worthwhile, the rest routine. Kids can’t afford to leave home while juggling study, part time work and still having a few $ left for a social life. Employers won’t take them on without a degree or two under their belt.

    A generation back kids could quit school at 14 or 15 to undertake a trade, start in a bank, a clerical position etc and gain entry into adult world well and truly by age 20.

    “Now it’s closer to thirty but we have COD and cheap holidays to Vietnam and Bali (we’ve seen how other people live and know we’ve got it good) and all sorts of cool stuff on our phones and thousands of friends. Our parents are pretty cool too, relaxed and happy for us to kick around at home for a few years more – we are after all the most loved generation in history. Our parents will help when it comes time to buy a house but Sydney and Melbourne are hellish so we might look for a place on the coast and work from home (only when we get to the point of wanting kids(?) and settling down). We know how the system works and will pick and choose how we play it. We’ve grown up hearing about climate change but still haven’t seen it so guess there’s a bit of hype there but we still like enviro cool good for the planet stuff so support change in that direction. We pretty comfortable with multicultural mix and made loads of friends at Uni and are planning to visit China and India soon, Shanghai for the buzz, Goa, same. We don’t like politics much and don’t want too much to change so we’ll either go Labor or Liberal and hope for the best. We love the Lucky Country.”

  10. For some reason I was alerted to Penny Wong trending on twitter. Went and had a look at her account.

    Penny Wong stands for everything and everyone but Australians (go and have a look if you don’t believe me).

    Labor are the reason young Australians are suffering.

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