This is not about Syria, or Egypt, or the European Union, or any other countries experiencing unrest due to political and economic issues. I expect this revolution is occurring in the United States of America (U.S.). And I think the upcoming Millennial Generation (a.k.a. Generation Y) will provide the innovation needed for this revolution to prosper.
Unfortunately, the fractionated nature of the Occupy Wall Street protests (OWS), prevented the protests from initiating real change. OWS’s general complaint is that a small group of the population (the 1%) controls and benefits from the current capitalistic social model. Before we get into the details of this problem, let’s go back to the Millennials. Full disclosure: although I am at the cusp of the divide between generations X and Y, I consider myself part of gen X based on the characteristic descriptions and the typical calendar cut-offs.
Although each generation complains about the group that follows, stereotyping the group based on their phase of life instead of their unique traits. We all develop and grow with life experience, and so looking at the generations that follows, it’s natural to view the less experienced generation as self-centered. But when you really look at the Millennial generation, they are already doing profound things. The second TED Talk featured in this NPR program describes how young people are having a significant impact and are already getting involved with important issues. It appears the supposed narcissistic generation which only does something for instant gratification, is having to deal with some pretty tough circumstances and is using their confidence to do work beyond themselves. I see significant social benefits to the Millennial Generation.
The expanding economic gap between the 1% and the 99% is blamed for just about every problem we can think of in the US. From low wage jobs, to the increasing cost of everything. I say this is a consequences of capitalism (RSA Video); capitalism incentivizes people to do more for less, improve efficiency, to cheat and manipulate for profits. The priority to succeed financially has gone awry, and in the process our value on money has defined our self worth. Generation Y is trying to determine how to reward doing the right thing, helping others, treating your employees well, building stronger and better communities. We know the answer, but the current economics and definitions of success have yet to incentivize the social good we now value.
Business is slow to change, but some companies are finding new models to motivate their staff and still improve profits. Going green has been good for business lately; as is developing sustainability, providing human rights to factory workers, etc. Right now you can find out the business practices for some companies and products, check out the Good Guide website or phone app. Eventually, doing the right thing will have a higher priority than profits benefiting the 1%. Personally, I’m looking forward to the next business model.
Additional Content Relevant to this Discussion
- Jennifer Pahlka: Coding for a Better Government TED Talk
- Tips for Managing Millennials
- Charity donation is becoming more popular and these young Millennials are already contributing.
- 60 Minutes program on the Millennials