Generation M

I think this Manifesto sums up quite well the angst most Designers feel:

Dear Old People Who Run the World,

My generation would like to break up with you.

Everyday, I see a widening gap in how you and we understand the world — and what we want from it. I think we have irreconcilable differences.

You wanted big, fat, lazy “business.” We want small, responsive, micro-scale commerce.

You turned politics into a dirty word. We want authentic, deep democracy — everywhere.

You wanted financial fundamentalism. We want an economics that makes sense for people — not just banks.

You wanted shareholder value — built by tough-guy CEOs. We want real value, built by people with character, dignity, and courage.

You wanted an invisible hand — it became a digital hand. Today’s markets are those where the majority of trades are done literally robotically. We want a visible handshake: to trust and to be trusted.

You wanted growth — faster. We want to slow down — so we can become better.

You didn’t care which communities were capsized, or which lives were sunk. We want a rising tide that lifts all boats.

You wanted to biggie size life: McMansions, Hummers, and McFood. We want to humanize life.

You wanted exurbs, sprawl, and gated anti-communities. We want a society built on authentic community.

You wanted more money, credit and leverage — to consume ravenously. We want to be great at doing stuff that matters.

You sacrificed the meaningful for the material: you sold out the very things that made us great for trivial gewgaws, trinkets, and gadgets. We’re not for sale: we’re learning to once again do what is meaningful.

If this was Facebook, I’d ‘like’ this.

Dear Old People Who Run the World, My generation would like to break up with you. Everyday, I see a widening gap in how you and we understand the world — and what we want from it. I think we have irreconcilable differences.

That’s a pretty broad brush you wield there. Tell me that you don’t believe that these observations are peculiar to only those under the age of thirty, or confined to a specific generation.

Granted, you did say “Designers”.

What is this? http://knitting-channel.com/kl2cll

While the statement this post makes is very general it covers some good points. The digital divide stems deeper than networked computers and technology and the original post sums it up nicely.

I don’t agree with it. Than again, don’t I always disagree?

I’m so tired of all the finger pointing and complaining that’s been going on since this recession started and GW got his second term. Let’s just admit OUR fault. We f***ed the economy, our culture and international diplomacy. It’s not the fault of someone else, it’s our fault and let’s try to remember that.

Now, moving forward, let’s be real conservatives. Let’s try things out on small scale. Let’s be cautious. Let’s get involved with our neighbors and community. Let’s make the world within 1/4 mile of us better and then worry about the rest.

It is a very broad brush, like most things that people use to make a point, it is far too general. I don’t agree with him that this is (necessarily) a generational discussion. I am not under thirty, but I whole heartedly agree that the past 50 - 100 years has been about over consumption. The “me” Generation. Does everyone fit that mold? Of course not.

The “Designer” part comes in due to the observation of the common thread on these boards…not that making purchases are bad, but the excess. The focus on cheap, low priced products that we can throw out after one use when it could easily be used 1000 times if we build it right. The idea that driving a Hummer or Escalade (or whatever) IS excessive in MOST cases.

I read this meme more as a call to bring balance back to the system. The scales have been tipped too far. 914, I also don’t read this as finger pointing. I read it as a call for the changing of the guard. Recognizing that mistakes have been made but there is a feeling that not enough is being done to change it. There are a lot of young(er) people out there that aren’t able to lead because the older generation is still in there making the same mistakes that have occurred over and over again to protect self-interests.

I clipped the most controversial aspect of the article to grab attention. Unfortunately I put the wrong link in. The correct one is below. Read the whole thing.

It was supposed to be this: Harvard Business Review - Ideas and Advice for Leaders

It’s not about old people, it’s about old mentalities.
It can be difficult and even painful for a person to revise or remove the cherished understandings which they have considered true for long periods of time. Being open to information and change is the only thing that is going to keep people flexible enough to fit in an ever changing world. That’s how life perpetuates it self.

I agree with nunoCR, it is about old MENTALITIES (so NOT you LMO)… there are plenty of people my age and younger who embody these OLD mentalities. Progressiveness is not monopolized by youth, though it is often expressed there.

I think that’s a good summary nunoCR/Yo…it is easy for the author to say “hey, old people, you suck”! Well, because it will get a reaction. When the cruxt of the matter is the old mentalities.

I agree with nunoCR, it is about old > MENTALITIES > (so NOT you LMO).

I was waiting to see if someone else recognized that… … :wink:

But the original author does base his critique on the perceived differences in mentality between the “generations”; I think he is naive in most of his observations, and barely intelligible in several.

Don’t misunderstand me; with regard to consumption, mentalities do need to change. But the need to change is not driven by the past, it is driven by the future. The author makes his observations from a position of hindsight, and has gotten his perception of ethics entangled with age; ones “ethics” are a human, not a generational (age) trait.

Bear with me, while I get this off my chest … :unamused:

Everyday, I see a widening gap in how you and we understand the world — and what we want from it. I think we have irreconcilable differences. > Really…

You wanted big, fat, lazy “business.” We want small, responsive, micro-scale commerce.
Micro-scale? Like, I’ll give you three chickens, and two bunches of onions, for my business card design. Deal?

You turned politics into a dirty word. We want authentic, deep democracy — everywhere.
This is not an age specific expectation.

You wanted financial fundamentalism. We want an economics that makes sense for people — not just banks.
Everyone wants “economics that make sense for people”.

You wanted shareholder value — built by tough-guy CEOs. We want real value, built by people with character, dignity, and courage.
Logical non sequitur; of course investors want value for money invested; unless losing money is their hobby. It is irrelevant to > who > built the business. Every company is built, and manned, by people of character, dignity, and courage ( if you’ve ever attempted to operate your own business you know how much courage it takes).

You wanted an invisible hand — it became a digital hand. Today’s markets are those where the majority of trades are done literally robotically. We want a visible handshake: to trust and to be trusted.
Who does > not > want to trust, and be trusted by, those one deals with?

You wanted growth — faster. We want to slow down — so we can become better.
Logical non sequitur; what does faster have to do with becoming “better”, and at what?

You didn’t care which communities were capsized, or which lives were sunk. > We want a rising tide that lifts all boats> .
Who doesn’t?

You wanted to biggie size life: McMansions, Hummers, and McFood. We want to humanize life.
Most folks want to be appreciated as an individual; to believe that their life makes a difference, and that they have made a contribution to future generations.

You wanted exurbs, sprawl, and gated anti-communities. We want a society built on authentic community.
“Community” has nothing to do with > where > we live.

You wanted more money, credit and leverage — to consume ravenously. We want to be great at doing stuff that matters.
Money and consumption vs.“doing stuff that matters”? Logical non sequitur; what is the connection here? We all want to be good at what we do.

You sacrificed the meaningful for the material: you sold out the very things that made us great for trivial gewgaws, trinkets, and gadgets. “We’re not for sale: we’re learning to once again do what is meaningful.”
This > I have a hard time swallowing, if what I observed at the Verizon store yesterday is any indication; customers waiting three deep at the counter; mom’s with youngsters, teenagers, laborers, businessmen … all waiting to pick up the latest and greatest technology that they think they > need > for their lives. Every other commercial on television is either for an automobile, or a cellphone, and the one’s in between them are for computers, financial management services, or hamburgers.

The problem we have in the economy is due to overlending to surprime borrowers. This was originally started to provide working poor with housing. In order to finance it, rules & regulations were relaxed to the point that over-leveraging caused a severe downturn. Rules and regulations have been re-instated and the economy is stabilizing back into the natural cycle. This has nothing to do with being insincere or selling out for gewgaws or gadgets or mcmansions or inauthenticity. Stupid.

“old people”…wow to me old is 90, to others its 22 lets define OLD.

I agree that this isn’t confined to any specific generation. It’s just timing that allows something like our current socio-economic depravity to become so troubling.

It’s human nature to want to get something for nothing and that’s the crux of the problem. In order to “fulfill” this expectation, which the logical next step of “something for nothing,” is “get rich quick,” politicians and business people operate on ever shortening performance windows. Where businesses used to operate on 5, 10, or 15 year plans, it is almost as if they presently operate purely on quarterly plans. Politicians are much the same. Since there are no term limits in congress, the politicians operate in sound bite windows so they can keep their image at a consistent level for perpetual reelection. All of this is in the service of, “everything is great right now. Your stocks are up. Your house is worth twice as much as you paid for it 6 months ago. Your taxes are going down as soon as I’m reelected… Don’t worry about next month let alone next year.” The ignorant public doesn’t have enough vision to recognize that real success is built over time, hard work, and must have a sound foundation of intelligent planning. But, our entire system functions on knee jerk reactions to long boiling fiascos.

The cycle is just feeding on itself because, save for a few small conflicts here and there, the first world is relatively stable and the focus is, more and more, placed on leisure and material success. The good life is at the finger-tips of so many more people than ever before and it’s become too easy for the politicians and CEO’s to dangle that carrot out there… all the while knowing that the short planning, quick profit, backlash will come, and the plebes will be there to foot the bill for all of the money that was stolen from them while they were being dazzled with the promise that everybody deserves to, and will be, successful, rich, and beautiful.

This has happened time and time again over the centuries, but the proliferation of technology, and the shrinking of the world, has made it so much more of an ominous storm. But, as was said in the posting, we need to “slow down” and look around. If we all just stop for a minute, and start asking real questions, maybe our leadership will be chosen for better reasons, and feel they have someone to answer to other than themselves.

Josh, great post on the larger systemic issues we face. One of the biggest and most sinister symptoms of our country’s illness is the rising polarization of our people, even as the ruling class gets cozier and cozier. Liberals are told to vote for one politician who will fight big business, while conservatives vote for the other guy to fight big government. All that happens is the first guy helps big government and the second guy helps big business. In this way, the status quo is maintained, while both the liberals and the conservatives lose out.

The left and the right get madder and madder, each blaming the other that nothing gets done. These are common people, fellow Americans who share most of their values, and should stand together. Instead we tear each other apart over social issues and and abstract economic theory, while big business and big government get closer and closer and grow together.

Here’s an eye opener of a photo http://www.npr.org/news/specials/2009/hearing-pano/ from NPR, where they turned the camera 180 degrees from the senators to over 200 lobbyists behind them. They are busy noting every word and expression, reporting to their superiors by blackberry, phone, and computer. Picture that, our elected representatives carrying out the rituals of government like actors on a stage for an audience of the ruling interests who massage, manipulate, and fund them.

The raw numbers tell the same grim tale http://www.opensecrets.org/bigpicture/elec_stats.php?cycle=2006. Spending in the average senate election has more than tripled, while spending in the house has almost quadrupled. All along, the average winner has spent considerably more than the average loser, most years more than double. This shows that a politician’s most important role is that of a fund raiser, if he wants to stay a politician. The winning politician is the one who bends over for the big spenders and special interest groups, while those who stick to their morals or try to collect small donations from a grassroots movement are drowned out.

This is a self-sustaining cycle of dishonesty. A politician who is not in bed with lobbyists finds himself unable to win elections. Companies and industries who don’t have a stake in the lobbying find themselves muscled out by rivals with friends in high places. Party affiliation is mainly just fuel for the media circus- both sides attack each other with the same money from the same donors.

Basically, our government runs on a system of legalized bribery. Every few years “corruption scandals” involving politicians accepting personal gifts surface. There’s a lot of shouting, condemning, and bloodletting. In the end, politicians shouting the loudest about transparency, honesty, and accountability are accepting millions of dollars every year so they can win their elections. Does anybody really think that a golfing trip in Scotland with Jack Abramoff is more of an incentive than the prospect of keeping or losing your job?

  1. This original text could have been written by a hippie in the late '60’s or a Gen X hipster in the '80’s. Probably any decade really. This kind of youthful naval gazing really does nothing constructive.

  2. People keep bringing up two distinct issues: contemporary corporate capitalism and political conservatism/corruption.

a. Corporate capitalism can be traced back to the British East India Company of 1600. It was founded in order for the existing wealthy and powerful (monarchy) to profit from the new booming riches of the merchant class. It traded a monopoly on trade to India in return for a spliting of the profits with the monarchs (corporate taxation if you will). So, if we really must blame a generation, I vote for the one around 1600.

b. I really blame voters for the short-sightedness of our politics. J.K. Galbraith wrote a book in the late '80’s, when he was just a young lad in his late 70s, where he argued people continually voted for the status quo out of a fear of things getting worse. Let’s face it, most Americans today live far better than any other population in history. It’s difficult for most of us to really imagine a better world, so we vote in order to maintain what we have.

My personal theory adds that 95% of the population is so under-educated in the problems facing government that they aren’t in a position to have a well-reasoned opinion. Therefore, they shouldn’t be able to vote, or perhaps we should have an unelected body to balance out the popularly selected government (house of lords, Canadian Senate or US senate before the 17th Amendment).

I agree that this is the problem, but I wonder what the best solution is? The world was much smaller, and much less populated, in the 18th century. In the case of the fledgling United States, even businesses had more trouble catching the ear of a politician when they were a world away in Philadelphia or Washington. The lobbying, and PAC, infrastructure was not entrenched like it is now. Today, there’s innumerable special interests parasitically attached to each and every congress person… funneling bribes and sucking “favors.” People need to be more involved, not less. Or, there needs to be real repercussions for politicians taking bribes, and the rules need to be changed to clarify that they are all openly taking bribes. Private campaign funding should probably end to make sure it’s totally clear. On the business side, maybe reporting should be annually instead of quarterly, and CEO’s should receive bonuses after their decisions have made an impact… not before.

Peoples’ votes are really rendered meaningless because the bribe money is so much closer and, well, lucrative. Business pays for the campaign through bribes, candidate lies through teeth to dazzle dopey public, and public votes based on some inane, uneducated, personal criteria that bears little on the real issues. Politician then proceeds to carry out briber’s agenda.

There’s more access to info than ever. People need to be more involved… particularly educated ones. But to jehan’s point about polarization, even the educated need to pull off the BS blinders of partisan politics that are used, more than anything, to obfuscate the real issues. Big business pays out to both Dems and Repubs. They’re both in the same pockets regardless of what they say on TV. Public service needs to be redefined because the real meaning has been long lost.

Wasn’t it the Bard who wrote in Act VI of Henry the VI, “First thing we do, let’s kill all the politicians”?

… or was that lawyers?

There’s more transparency than ever, yet they still get away with murder themselves.

Oh yeah, I left that stuff out.

Campaign finance. Go to a publicly funded system, like Canada. Quebec was the first government to do it in '79:

Lévesque’s > Act to govern the financing of political parties > banned corporate donations and limited individual contributions to political parties to $3,000. This key legislation was meant to prevent wealthy citizens and organizations from having a disproportionate influence on the electoral process

I think the amount is actually less than $3k for federal elections. Works great.

Corporations: the renumeration for the top CEOs is absolutely insane. Here’s two things we need:

Essentially a maximum wage through a very high top bracket. Maybe 75% for everything over $5 million / year. This will encourage business to reinvest, rather than cash in.

estate/wealth tax: the estate tax was established BY our founding fathers, not bleeding heart hippies. I add a wealth tax idea, because I think we’ve let wealth accumulate a bit too much and it should be redistributed for the good of the economy. How this could work, I have no clue, but I think it’s a great idea.

Just to balance myself a little, I’m against corporate taxation. If we tax all income, it is essentially the same. In fact, this could increase re-investment, as companies leave money in their banks rather than pay taxes on distributing the money as income.

Yea, the main problem is that people are so partisan that they will ignore the corruption of politicians in their own party to avoid harming them. I think there is almost an attitude of “---- ----- is a really good guy, every politician takes contributions, I’m just happy that my guy is gonna win. I know he has my interests at heart.”

I made this mistake myself a year or two ago. I voted for Obama in the primaries and even gave him 2 $25 donations. He was able to collect so many small donations because so many people thought he was really going to be independent and un-beholden to special interests. We were so dazzled by the message and the promise that we ignored the unprecedented level of corporate donations he received. Now he is completely owned, the level of transparency he promised has not materialized, and his staff is made up of those who his supporters wanted to get out of power.

Another problem, unfortunately, is the large extreme right wing in this country. I’m not talking about people who embrace ideals of individual liberty and the free market, I’m talking about those who think that any democrat is a communist and wants everybody to worship satan. Even then, these are not really bad people, they are just very easy to manipulate. Politicians on the right use them as a surefire voter base, while politicians on the left use them to scare their own base.