Editorial: Talkin' 'bout My Generation

Editorial G.I.T. Laboratory Journal 9-10 2013

As always throughout history, the over 40 generation calls younger people lazy, selfish and shallow. This is nothing new. This year an article, called "The ME, ME, ME Generation", again provoked a hot discussion on this really ancient topic.

Laziness is when somebody doesn't work but tries to live off of others. Did you know that the mentioned headline is plagiarism? Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. (born 1931) called the generation born during 1946 to 1964 the "Me Generation". Today the kids of the "Me generation" call their own kids the "Me Me Me generation", aiming to urge them to be more responsible: for the community, politics, science etc. My question is: why should they do so? They simply do what they learned from their idols and parents. From the very first day of their lives they learn that they are precious and desperately needed to maintain our society. When they ask for details about for what they are needed, all too often the answer can be condensed to "for our retirement pay". For their individual fulfillment their parents decided not to waste their spare time for educating or even having kids, leading, at least in Europe, to shrinking populations (~1.3 kids per woman in Germany), in turn making the few "leftover" kids really precious. Why should they keep responsibility for something their predecessors don't? Selfish is when somebody prefers to look for his/her own benefit instead of helping others.

People are said to be shallow when they try not to discuss difficult topics or controversial opinions. I cannot imagine a generation that is less willing to discuss difficult topics than the one that is in charge today: my generation. No matter whether in business, or in politics or private life, it seems as if nobody wants to face problems at all. But these problems are obvious and must to be solved: Shrinking populations in the so-called "developed" world, overpopulation, hunger and war in the so-called "under-developed" or "emerging" world, environmental pollution, and social disruptions. The lack of determination and participation of people to solve the current problems today is unprecedented.

It is not an option to do like our predecessors did. We should solve the problems of our era as best as we can and should not try to enjoy the advantages it has and postpone the disadvantages to the following generation; they will have to face their own.

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