The New York Times published an article today citing the emerging phenomenon of delayed financial independence for the 20-something generation. In typical NYT fashion, the article makes every attempt to discount the economic condition as a fundamental contributor to the shifting social order. Instead, “emerging adulthood” psychology professor, Jeffrey Arnett, is called upon to bring credence to the idea that the “failure to launch” generation is influenced just as greatly (if not more) by their tendency towards liberalized decision making as opposed to the economic landscape.
Kids don’t shuffle along in unison on the road to maturity. They slouch toward adulthood at an uneven, highly individual pace. Some never achieve all five milestones [completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child], including those who are single or childless by choice, or unable to marry even if they wanted to because they’re gay. Others reach the milestones completely out of order, advancing professionally before committing to a monogamous relationship, having children young and marrying later, leaving school to go to work and returning to school long after becoming financially secure.
While the article does provide insight into the collective psyche of “the boomerang kids”, the overall analysis weighs too heavily in favor of a newfound paradigm of personal choice and not the reality of lacking options. This should come as no surprise, as the NYT has been one of the foremost advocates of the “hopeful change” socialization process. It’s much easier to chalk the newly destitute workforce up as a youthful generation grappling with the real-world application of whimsical idealistic fantasies than to take responsibility for a fundamental failure in economic policy and the inability to address the root causes of our problems.Published in