Eight reasons young people have every right to be pessimistic about the future

Louis Dor
Friday 04 March 2016 17:00
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Picture: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

A new survey by YouGov has found that younger people are more likely to be pessimistic than older people.

Over 1,500 British adults were asked "Which of the following comes closer to your view of human nature?", asked to choose between whether humans were "essentially self-serving and uncooperative" or "essentially sympathetic and cooperative".

Alongside Ukip voters, young people were the only other demographic more likely to say people were "essentially self-serving and uncooperative".

A bigger question is: "Are we supposed to be surprised?".

Here's a handful of reasons:

1. On net, young people will fund the older generation

This survey has come out in the same week that experts from Imperial College London and the Bank of England suggested in a House of Lords hearing that young people were "losers" in a raw deal which favours older voters, because the government caters to their higher election turnout.

Experts cited a combination of high house prices, unemployment, more expensive education and rising government debt that means young people will be net contributors to the public purse, whereas older generations have on net, taken from it.

Professor James Sefton said:

I think they should be angry and I think the deal they are getting is poor. There are a lot of transfers going on in the system that are from the young towards the old. The awareness of it is very poor but it will come out.

2. Young people will have to compete for jobs with robots in future

A 2015 report from Oxford University found that 35 per cent of current jobs in the UK are at high risk of computerisation over the next 20 years.

3. The government treats young people with disdain

In February 2015, prime minister David Cameron announced a scheme which mandated community service for young people out of work, education or training for six months who are seeking benefits, and said of youth unemployment at the time:

That well-worn path - from the school gate, down to the jobcentre, and on to a life on benefits - has got to be rubbed away.

What these young people need is work experience and the order and discipline of turning up for work each day

From day one they must play their part and make an effort. That could mean making meals for older people, cleaning up litter and graffiti, or working for local charities.

Your first experience of the benefits system should be that yes, you can get help - but it isn't something for nothing, and you need to put something back into your community too.

Meanwhile, reports have found that his government's policies have caused youth employment and wages to fall to the point that income inequality and opportunity between age groups reached its most disparate level for generations.

So that "well-worn path" Cameron speaks of is arguably of his making. We all want a job, David - a full-time real one with a pension... not the zero hours.

4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. And a few other things

Not to mention increasingly concerning global issues such as (4) overpopulation and (5) climate change, and ongoing issues such as (6) international humanitarian crises, (7) the near-extinct notion of "privacy" and to top it all (8) Donald Trump.

So, yes, there are a few reasons why might be just a little ticked off.

Picture: Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool /Getty Images

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