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The Forum > Article Comments > Boomers - your time is up ... > Comments

Boomers - your time is up ... : Comments

By Trish Bolton, published 21/6/2006

Move over Baby Boomers, itís time to let someone else drive the car.

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Trish,
You are, as John Howard has put it, guilty of hyperbole. Are the Boomers the 'lucky generation'? No, I don't think so. The really lucky generations were those born in the 1930s and WW II because there were so few of them and they were able to ride to affluence on the wave of the boomers coming after them. The further you go after WW II the less lucky the boomers have been, and they do go up to a birthdate of 1961. The key date in Boomer history is 1973 and the oil crisis. Before that there were lots of opportunities and perhaps Trish's colourful portrayal may have a grain of truth. After that opportunities diminshed as unemployment rates rose. Sure not as tough as later but tougher than the late 1960s. The tide of demography might yet turn against the Boomers and they could easily end up with less than the generation before them in old age as there are so many of them! And it is worth pointing out that Australia has yet to have a Boomer Prime Minister.
Posted by GregM, Wednesday, 21 June 2006 9:28:47 AM
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Baby Boomers is a term commonly applied to people with birth years from the span 1945 to 1964.

In other words they are now aged 42-61 so Roger Daltrey of My Generation fame is NOT a baby boomer. Neither was Jimi Hendrix or Jerry Garcia.

Paul Keating was not a boomer, neither is John Howard. The heads of most major corporations are not boomers.

We need the Silent Generation to move over and let boomers run things well before X and Y get the gig (grin).
Posted by Steve Madden, Wednesday, 21 June 2006 9:32:22 AM
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A far greater proportion of the X and Y generations are university educated than the babyboomers. The Xers, despite early indications to the contrary, are now breeding - just later than some predicted. Enjoying a youth prior to the obesity phenomena (indeed growing up in the skinny 70s) they'll live longer than the babyboomers so breeding later is not surprising.

While more babyboomers owned houses earlier, they didn't have as many material possessions or experiences. My generation, X, enjoyed world travel in youth at a rate far greater than the boomers. We enjoyed social freedoms (to live with our lovers, to extend our youths, to explore multiple careers, to sample education) that were only ever enjoyed by a tiny percent of the boomers but which will forever be glorified in media celebrations of their era (discounting the true quite narrow, conservative and restrictive experience of the majority who were married with children and burdened by responsibility far earlier than their children).

Popular culture celebrates the exciting minority experience of boomers not the dull majority reality.

(See next post).
Posted by Shell, Wednesday, 21 June 2006 10:34:48 AM
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(continued from last post)

I benefit greatly - and often wonder whether my experience is rare or whether its shared by many - from the generosity of my babyboomer parents and my babyboomer bosses and mentors.

My parents are keen to see that my life is better than theirs was. They give any support they can and now, though both still in the workforce, are also giving their time in volunteerism to give back to a community that gave to them. They offer their time to the workforce, the community plus they're also looking after both sets of aging (WWII) parents and generously offering their time to look after their grandchildren. They're as busy as they've ever been.

My bosses and senior mentors at work are at pains to encourage me, to make opportunities for me, to share the rewards of their seniority and reputation with me and to stand aside so that I may take over from them as soon as I'm able. They're keen to let go of the power and relax into the enjoyable twilight of their careers.

They - the men included - have been exceptionally generous about my maternity leave and about restructuring my work arrangements so that I may continue enjoying a career, within reason, without taking away from the wonderful time spent with tiny children. They celebrate in my parenthood and in my working life in a way that nobody celebrating that dual life for them.

They never criticise. They never judge.

Sure - its fun to kick the babyboomers but the reality is a more complex picture. They had some good times. I've had some better times as a generation Xer.

Things change.
Posted by Shell, Wednesday, 21 June 2006 10:35:08 AM
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Good article Trish, and full of fact. I'm a 1946'er, definitely a BB, so I can recognise a lot of the comments as fitting rather well.
Sadly, the news is worse, in a way. Since fertility has dropped well below replacemnet level (we rely on immigration for population growth)it means that the younger generations behind us are not keeping up in numbers, and so the BB's are forming a larger proportion of the the population each day. And because of the medical advances since say, 1900, there are more BB's who survived their first and subsequent years. Not only that, those BB's have a greater average life expectancy than ever: women to around 86, men to maybe 80. Phew! Not only are there more of us, but many of us are going to live way longer than our own parents. It gets worse. Look at your demographics, and at a point in time not too far away the over 50's will easily have an overwhelming voting power! In the year 2010, a person born in 1945 will turn 65, and it keeps going after that of course. What do you think their voting preferences are likely to be? Grey Power of course!
So in a way, it is time for the BB's to get out of the way, because soon enough you might not be able to get us out of the way.
Posted by Hendo, Wednesday, 21 June 2006 11:20:43 AM
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What a wonderful post Shell. I hope my daughter can say the same about me. And it is true that the popular conceptions of what it was like growing up in the 60s only applied to a minority. Life is much better now, for all of us.
Posted by jeremy29, Wednesday, 21 June 2006 11:23:06 AM
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