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  1. #1
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    Default Children of the 1980's and Children of the 1950's

    Do you think there's any parallel between these two groups in their social perceptions?

    The reason why I ask is because both were times of great illusory, larger-than-life, almost fantastical success for America fiscally and politically...especially for anyone who was middle class or higher (or whose family had the same amount of money as the middle class).

    I grew up in a time when everything was handed to me. I had everything that kids in the 80's had: dance and piano lessons, a horse in my back yard, on television everyone had tons of money, and Reagan filled our heads with all kinds of preposterous bullshit, which seemed to come true because of the fantastic end of the Cold War.

    The music of the 80's was also mainly pop (it was one of the best times for pop in the history of the U.S. aside from the 1950's and early 60's) and happy and upbeat. America seemed to be getting better, not getting worse.

    Then suddenly in the 90's there was a drastic shift to reality, a recession, the first Gulf War, grunge, increase liberalism, that kind of mirrors the 1960's.

    Again there was some prosperity in the late 90's and early 00's, but then a very bad political situation and war, not entirely unlike the early 70's and Vietnam, before the country went into a gas shortage and a deep recession.

    The 70's were also the time when the Religious Right began to pop up, who seem to have a very loud voice Now.

    I'm wondering what the influence of having a very affluent and hopeful-seeming childhood creates in the generaton who experiences it, when they experience a big huge dose of reality in their teens and twenties, as they come into middle age and begin to be the people taking control of the wheel.

    Is this the explanation for my generation so fervently pushing toward fiscal conservatism (like the 80's) despite all seemingly factual clues around them?

    Are we trying to re-create our childhood, just as the children of the 50's tried to re-create their childhoods in the 80's?

    Is that really smart, considering what came next?

    I'm trying to figure out the source for all of this irrational-seeming extreme fiscal conservatism in my generation.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Gish's Avatar
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    No.
    Whoops.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gish View Post
    No.
    But you weren't even born in the 80's. Even the youngest 80's babies are about 23 now.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Gish's Avatar
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    I know, but I was alive in the 50s.
    Whoops.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Maybe I should post this on Personality Cafe. There's a big discussion about the difference between Gen X and Gen Y there, and questioning if the defining line is really technology (making us all Gen Y) or being able to remember the fall of the Berlin Wall as a political world event (a hopeful thing) versus the first big political event remembered being a traumatic thing (9/11) and therefore making people born in the 80's kind of this weird limbo group between the two generations, especially those who remember the 80s, who were born in the late 70's to mid-80's.

  6. #6
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    I'm a child of the 80s, but not from a family or area that believed that ANYTHING should be handed to one's children on the virtue that they were your children alone

    I still wish that I could have graduated a good 20 years earlier though... I grew up reading about all of the hope and forever upwards trend of the economy throughout the 90s and thought that when I graduated there would be hope out there and it would be easy to find a job with a lot of upward mobility based on my strengths alone... senior year of high school I watched the stock market plunge after 9/11 and thought "oh shit... my test scores and acceptance letters will mean NOTHING now compared to what they would have been"

    However, I grew up poor so I know how to survive when things aren't all that great, which is a good thing because I went through a few tough years at one point... it's not the 80s I want things to be more like though, it's the 90s... the economic bubbles on the growth side, awesome movies, television and music and no real, protracted war... however, I know that can't sustain itself...
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  7. #7
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    @whatever

    I realized we were actually working class by the 90's, that there was just a surplus of money in the 80's because of development in certain areas. My grandfather was a civil engineer, and my grandfather and my uncle helped build the house we lived in. I had chores as a child, and a summer job at sixteen. I baby-sat at thirteen.

    When I say I was handed things, I say my family had enough money in the 80's that I had all of the perks of the neighborhood children and kids on television: the extracurricular activies, the swimming pools, vacations, etc.

    I'm actually glad my grandparents educated me so well, and showed me what they were able to of the world, on the other hand I think fiscal bubbles can cause children to believe the world is safer and more endless in its supply of things they want than it actually is.

    I just think people in my generation may have a false sense of fiscal conservatism being the path of great success of a country, and that they'll naturally be the ones on top, when all earthly signs point to increasing poverty and lack of opportunity in our nation, despite the fact that the wealthy are paying less taxes than they were even 20 to 30 years ago, things don't seem to be "trickling down" the gap between the rich and poor just seems to widen.

  8. #8
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    @Marmotini

    I grew up with parents who could have gone on food stamps but had too much pride and resourcefulness to do so... we had the land to play with and the advantage that both of our parents were very smart and education oriented, however, no cable, no internet, no swimming pool and no matter how much I begged no lessons for anything cool

    the knowledge that, since I DIDN'T want the country lifestyle but still had the smarts, I could move off and DO something and make more than my parents would know what to do with was always a comforting thought though... someday I'm going to have AC, someday I'll be able to take a vacation when I want to, not when I've saved up enough to afford it, someday I won't have to mentally calculate out how much I can afford if I go to a lower end sit down restaurant... it gave me the idea that the middle or upper middle class were in my reach in just a few years if I applied myself

    It hasn't worked out that way... I stayed in college an extra 2 years hoping that the job market would get a bit more hopeful but it didn't... graduates from '08, '09 and so on have moved back in with their parents because the world was no longer their oyster... dreams of owning a startup or at least getting in on the ground floor have pretty much vanished because people can't afford it and the bubble burst. Where did it go?

    The kids a few years younger than me think that twitter can change the world or some bullshit like that... like congress is going to read your twitter feed and do something that's not in their self interest, or that sitting around in the streets holding signs does much other than piss people off and get into the news when something that actually matters on a broader scale could be taking that place. We're talking a generation who grew up even later when their parents were the ones really making money off of the 90s... kids who were raised with the idea that they're too good for some types of work... My sis is in that generation somehow... I think because of her friends and social influences, she recently lost her job and I was helping her apply for jobs and I kept suggesting different jobs that were open and she kept shooting them down- she was too educated to work at a hotel front desk or at a bar... this kind of pissed me off because I've worked both jobs after graduating just to get by and I have 2 more degrees and one more spoken language than she does. However, I've met her friends and a lot of people who think the same way- people who were told that if they didn't get an education they'd be stuck in those jobs and now that they did they don't think they should have to work them... Not that I can claim that my generation is perfect angels by any means, but we're more enamored with making some money (take that how you will...)

    we're meaner in a way, but more practical... sort of...
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  9. #9

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    I'm not averse to descriptions of historical trends being cyclical, it fits with some of what I know about the cycles of generations and what should be the trend of one to challenge, mature, then defend themselves as another generation comes along, although that pattern is fundamentally broken and a lot of generations dont exhibit any learning from other generations, all the learning has to be done afresh, if its done at all and maturation seems to be derailed altogether too.

    I'm also keen on the extent to which things such as nostalgia or fantasy can influence personal and public life, I think its massive, although I dont believe that fiscal conservativism at any time hinges upon any particular childhood experience, it sure wouldnt recreate my childhood, it was the very thing which prevented any of the things you mention as being what anyone could expect in the eighties to have.

    If people recreated their childhoods or teenage years or even late twenties as you say in the UK would have a seriously keynesian mixed economy, some seriously generous benefits universally available, absolutely expenses free university educations accompanied by housing benefits and income support for as many times as you'd like to attend university and study but it doesnt, the reason being that each generation in the UK has consciously done the dirty on the proceeding one and cut back many of the entitlements that they themselves took for granted and even depended upon to get into the posiiton they are in to determine whether or not others can do the same.

  10. #10
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    @whatever

    I don't know if this contributes anything, but I lived through the entire decade of the 1980's, so pretty much my entire childhood was spent there.

    I tend to think that the kids who were upper middle class during the housing bubble in the 00's are even worse, though, you have a point about them thinking certain kinds of work are beneath them, et al, that would be a description of some members of Gen Z...but mostly the upper middle class, I don't think this applies to the entire generation.

    This:

    could move off and DO something and make more than my parents would know what to do with was always a comforting thought though... someday I'm going to have AC, someday I'll be able to take a vacation when I want to, not when I've saved up enough to afford it, someday I won't have to mentally calculate out how much I can afford if I go to a lower end sit down restaurant... it gave me the idea that the middle or upper middle class were in my reach in just a few years if I applied myself

    It hasn't worked out that way...
    and this:

    Not that I can claim that my generation is perfect angels by any means, but we're more enamored with making some money (take that how you will...)

    we're meaner in a way, but more practical... sort of...
    Is definitely what I consider children of the 80's thinking, that class-climbing is easily in your reach, and that we'll make money in a meaner, practical way. That's very 80's yuppie thinking, because it was easier to class-climb 20-30 years ago (it's very difficult now) and the meanness of money grasping was a very popular mindset in the 80's...you did whatever you had to do, and you didn't care what you had to do to get it.

    I relate to this part, but I think it can definitely manifest itself in people FALSELY believing that anyone who works hard is still going to easily class-climb.

    It was actually easier to class-climb for most of the 20th century in the U.S. and all of that has changed.

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