Generation X: Social, Political, And Economic Issues

2135 words - 9 pages

A. Describe Generation X. What social, economic, and political issues affected this generation?
To quote myself in an earlier class, Generation X was socially retarded at first. Nearly half of all marriages ended in divorce, resulting in a life of “joint custody, visitation rights, and weekend fathers” (Zemke, et al, pg. 94). Add to this the need for their parents to have dual incomes (whether together or separate), and you’re left with kids that ultimately had to become self-reliant above all else. These children were given their own key to the empty house to come home to after school, and were later given the name “latchkey kids”. This ultimately served them well, however, as Generation X learned how to fend for themselves and not rely too heavily on security, whether it was relationship-wise or job related.
In the beginning, everything was going well for Generation X economically. They arrived just in time for a labor shortage in the early 90’s, where employers were in desperate need for people in Information Technology (IT) (Zemke, et al). In fact, this is where this cohort earned their reputation for being slackers. Before them, everyone worked for survival. Now this new generation was working for status, and the income they earned to fit the companies’ needs was enormous. Then, about as quickly as it began, it ended. The dot.com bubble burst and massive layoffs came into play. Hundred thousand dollar educations went out the window as overly qualified IT technicians were out of work.
Not a whole lot (in respect to other generations), happened politically for Generation X. They grew up post-Vietnam, and in the early 70’s women’s liberation movements were in progress. The Watergate scandal involving President Nixon resulted in the first public resignation of a US president. Perhaps more impactful, however, were the multiple disasters that happened worldwide and the ultimate pursuit of government regulation (Kahn, 2007). These five that had the most environmental impact were: Bhopal (worst industrial tragedy in history [methyl isocyanate gas leak in India]), Chernobyl (nuclear meltdown in Ukraine), Exxon Valdez (massive oil tanker spill in Alaska), Love Canal (toxic waste spill in New York), and Three Mile Island (near nuclear meltdown in the United States). These incidents began the trend of global thinking and paved the way for future involvement of generations in worldwide industrial regulations.
B. Describe Generation Y. What social, economic, and political issues affected this generation?
Socially, Generation Y (aka Millennials) grew up very differently than Generation X, yet similar to Baby Boomers. They were doted on and adored by their parents (Zemke, et al) while being told they were special and the best at whatever they did. They had hovering soccer moms (Bob Dole quoted in 1996) who kept them on a hectic and varying schedule. Because of this, perhaps, they see their parents as role models. It is because of this that some...

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