Organisation - September 5, 2019

Worse off than our parents?

Vincent Oostvogels

The Social and Economic Council and various youth organizations published a joint report in the final week of August entitled High Expectations: Opportunities and Obstacles for Young People in 2019. They don’t beat about the bush: the future looks bleak for the current generation of young people — in other words, our future. We experience a lot of stress at university, are burdened by student loans and face an insecure job market and tight housing market.

That message is hardly new. We have been hearing more and more in the past few years that our generation will not fare as well as our parents’ generation. They were able to spend many carefree years on their degree. After graduating, they would in all probability get a permanent job and an affordable home. It was almost a foregone conclusion that they would earn more than their parents had.

Our parents were able to spend many carefree years on their degree

That’s the situation, right? Undoubtedly. But the other side of the coin is that many more people in our generation have access to higher education in the first place, and universities have become more diverse in many respects. We are also less restricted by religious and social dogmas than our parents were. And we live at a time when ensuring a liveable world is higher up the agenda than ever.

So it depends what you focus on. That is why claiming we will fare worse than our parents is problematic. Anyway, if you repeat something often enough you will start believing it. And nothing is as disastrous as the despondency that produces.

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  • Diederik Samson

    Goed gekopieerd van mijn stukje in de Volkskrant.