A most amusing piece over in Salon about how American millennials are certain that capitalism just ain’t gonna be around in the future therefore they see no point in saving for their retirements. Boy, ain’t they gonna get a surprise! One of the larger ones being that an absence of capitalism is going to, as it was before the emergence of the system, make having some savings for old age rather more important than it is now.
But there’s more there, of course there is, this is Salon we’re talking about:
The idea that we millennials’ only hope for retirement is the end of capitalism or the end of the world is actually quite common sentiment among the millennial left. Jokes about being unable to retire or anticipating utter social change by retirement age were ricocheting around the internet long before CNN’s article was published.
Well, that’s a generation shopping in the cat food aisle for their meat requirements in retirement then. But more:
Many millennials expressed to me their interest in creating self-sustaining communities as their only hope for survival in old age;
Certainly, that’s one way to do it. Move back to that pre-capitalist idea of the self-sustaining community which takes care of its oldsters. Be useful to have a name for those sorts of things but fortunately we’ve got one that already fits – families. Go and have those 6 to 8 kids and hope like hell that one stays home to change diapers. You did it for them after all.
Wood, 32, a political consultant, told me via Twitter that she felt similarly. “I don’t think the world can sustain capitalism for another decade,” she explained. “It’s socialism or bust. We will literally start having resource wars that will kill us all if we don’t accept that the free market will absolutely destroy us within our lifetime [if] we don’t start fighting its hegemony,” she added.
Great, a generation not understanding the most basic point about resources, it’s capitalism, that lust for gelt and pilf, which creates the resources.
“Capitalism might still exist [in 2050], but I don’t expect people will be happy about it,” Jon Good, 34, a chocolatier and small business owner, said. “If [capitalism] is replaced [by then], my ideal economic model is one where all basic necessities are abundant and free, everyone works a few hours a week at the necessary chores of society like garbage collection and machine maintenance, then has the rest of their lives free to pursue whatever projects—be they art, leisure, or industry—that they desire.”
Dear Lord, has anyone even taught them some Marxism? For what’s being described there is the True Communism that will arrive once we’ve abolished economic scarcity. The thing which will come through the productive powers of bourgeois capitalism. You know, as Karl The Beard insisted? As, arguably, we have by any reasonable historical standard. A recent potter around Primark – yes, I know, not high up the list of fashionable outlets – showed that you could, or can, purchase an historically adequate set of clothing for a person for £100. Two day’s minimum wage labour. One set of clothes for everyday, one for Sunday Best. Including a warm coat and more changes of underwear than was usual back then.
No, seriously, there’s not been a period of human history when clothing – to give but one example – was as cheap as it is now. Not in relation to the effort needed to acquire it at least.
There’s actually a serious argument to be made that true communism has already arrived. Certainly Karl and Friedrich would be astonished at a society rich enough to be able to afford diversity advisers – if societal productive surplus is great enough to support that idea then surely communism has indeed arrived?
Boy, aren’t these millennials going to have a surprise when they grow up? That the Good Old Days are now?