Why Some Millennials Think The Economy Sucks

Why Some Millennials Think The Economy Sucks


The only way Facebook is manageable for me is to limit the posts I see. I used the defaults and only look at Close Friends and Pages Feed. It helps a lot.


Tell me why Vegas is in the same sentence with Europe and African safari. Vegas sucks for non-gamblers. Maybe once a decade for a weekend if you want to see a few good shows.



There was a psychological study done on 20-somethings and this was shown to be the case among those w/ “extended” social groups and also showed higher average levels of stress among this group as well, a 2xxx ‘keeping up w/ the Jones’ ’ phenomena. They also saw higher levels of depression as well, though I can’t say it was causal from the above, the article didn’t go into enough detail to make that assumption, but was more inferential.


Sure, but where’s the control study? Compare with _____ before the internet?

_____= ?? Telephone gossip? Physically visiting neighbors? Etc


I love threads like these. Thanks to all who have contributed. I quote Jerosen with my bolding of one statement I don’t quite agree with…

I think a lot of disgruntled people are uninformedly (I don’t think that’s a word…) so. Most people don’t think about their lot in life and how to make it better. They don’t think about how well off they are. It’s human nature to look at others who are better off and then get mad / frustrated because they don’t have more.

A person making average-stagnant-ten-year-wages in the US has a LOT to be happy about! Many have smart phones, cable TV, great medical care, good cars, etc.

Due to decreased costs of international shipping and communications, that (US) person’s wages are stagnant or dropping because someone in Asia is willing to work 12 hours for a cup of rice. That’s very high incentive for US manufacturers (and office type jobs also) to move jobs offshore.

To cope, US workers need to continue to improve productivity – with robots, AI, new management techniques, etc. This is QUITE painful for many US workers to go through. If you are smart, open to change, willing to put in lots of effort for an uncertain future gain, you’ll likely be better off. If you are not so smart, not willing to change, etc, then you are likely to have stagnant or dropping wages and continue to be unhappy.

We can help people cope with this sort of thing individually or as a nation. It gets tough when we get political views wedged in… What actually works and what we as a nation are willing to fund and execute are often very different things.


I agree with your general assessment on the economy, but I think it’s important to think about why it has been better for fewer people disproportionately than say 50 years ago. With the rise of big, successful tech companies and their increasingly prominent role in the economy (GOOG, FB, AMZN, and the like), these are places where the very best engineers, programmers, and so forth can create technologies that have far-reaching network effects and great potential for scale. As such, you don’t need millions of top tier (and hence well paid) workers to run Facebook operations the way you might if you were producing million of cars or widgets in a factory. FB has grown a ton, but still only has 20-25k employees. If you have a great tech company, you can afford to hire the best people and pay them $500k/year (such as AI experts, currently a hot speciality) and it’s still not a huge cost because you might only need a dozen or two of them. Great deal for very smart people because the current economy can use them to do great and very profitable things, but not so hot for the average person who will never be a top (or even Yahoo-caliber) computer programmer.

I’m not so sure about your arguments about blaming the politicians or the elites. I mean, the politicians have plenty of incompetence for sure, but I don’t think they or whoever you think of as the “elites” set out to create this information driven economy any more than they set out to create a manufacturing one 100 years ago. Change happens faster than most of our institutions can adapt, and perhaps the discussions of a living wage or minimum basic income are a reflection of the recent changes in economic opportunity.


I agree that immigration and globalization is bad for the American worker (although good for the American consumer, or the typical business owner / shareholder). Much of the Silicon Valley left wing pitch in favor of open borders and immigration has been a clear example of talking their book - getting cheap workers is clearly a high priority those execs, as you can see in the tech industry wage price fixing scandals, as well as of course their love for cheap H1B labor.

I think the DNC Democrats abandoned the average worker and their pro-labor base back when the Clintons first came along decades ago and were willing to take the rich’s donations and have been serving their benefactors rather than their constituents ever since. It probably cost them the 2016 election too, since a lot of Trump’s broad appeal was that he cared about the American worker and US jobs and it was totally obvious the Democrats didn’t with their immigration policies despite their lip service to their party roots.

It’s easy when you’re in your 20-30s and just getting started financially to be tempted by redistribution systems that favor you personally. “If you’re not liberal at 25 you have no heart; if you’re not conservative by 35 you have no brain” or similar variations of the quote are pretty accurate. When you’re young and idealist (naive?) and have little to lose, it’s easy to want to change the world. Just don’t expect those currently in power with vested interests to the contrary to make it easy for you.

As for socialism, etc, I don’t see anyone like Bernie Sanders making comparisons to the Worker’s Paradise of Venezuala lately, praising it for its income equality. Equally poor maybe, equally able to wait in long lines for starvation levels of rations, equally able to eat their pets or engage in prostitution for food, etc.


I realized this during this past weekend, with my own experience with millennials that I know. They largely have yet to realize that when folks have success that is almost always did not come overnight. My BIL complains all of the time that he cannot get a job like mine. Well, I have been in my field working, developing experience, taking on responsibility, etc, for nearly 20 years. He went into the military, didn’t do extremely well there, got out, went to college, where he made a poor choice in degrees, and then got out into the workforce taking warehouse pick/pack and retail jobs; whenever he got a little recognition and was promoted into a management position, he could never accept that little bit of recognition… he wanted to jump 2-3 positions in the organization instead of just one… so he would quit (he is significantly younger than my wife an I… about half a generation). The same thing happens with my eldest children.

It is okay to be impatient, in my view, if you channel that frustration into doubling down on improving your position. If it is just giving up on an opportunity and starting again, that won’t be do.


Obviously for any individual person, the lower or lost job wages due to offshoring and/or increased local immigrant competition has to be compared to the cheap stuff at Walmart that would cost a lot more if they didn’t use cheap overseas labor. If you’re already retired, cheaper stuff is great since it holds down inflation and you don’t need / want a job anyway at that point. If you’re just getting started in your working career, it’s much tougher and likely net negative.


Basic principles of trade. Ideally both groups will make things they’re most efficient at (our have the raw resources for). Then you trade what takes you less than one unit of labor/resorces and receive something that would have taken you more than one unit of labor/resources. And the other party does the same. Then every party ends up with more than if they never traded. But, they do NOT necessarily end up with the same amount as each other, that’s not the point.

If the country has less edge in skills/technology/ resources compared to trading partners, then it will benefit less from trade than previously (and comparing to previous times will look poor) but should still benefit.


Labor force participation rate is about 62% right now.

The figure was below 60% for the 1950s’ 1960’s and 1970’s.


Well that is exactly how it’s worked for a long time. Most “jobs” are service sector and don’t “produce” anything tangible. The only reason we get to “buy” lots of stuff cheaply from other countries is because foreign entities continue to value our debt instruments very highly and to buy our debt (and USD currency itself). Clearly, we “win” for as long as this continues. Someone gets to work at McDonald’s and buy a 60" flat screen and an iphone, with no offsetting manufacturing job producing products for export. So, we end up being able to “consume” the service that we produce and also to “consume” the imported product that other people work long and hard to produce. People “work” here but that doesn’t mean they produce physical products or that they produce in equal value as they consume.

Eventually at some point we will need to devalue the currency (or it will be done for us) or default on the debt. Then all the free imports. If/when that happens, those jobs you are opining will come back but the economy will look much worse (compared to today).

I don’t think autos are really a great example of a loss from outsourcing. A lot of autos are made here and there’s less trade imbalance of the physical goods. We do import vehicles, mostly the smallest and cheapest vehicles (at least from the “domestic” automakers like your example), but we also export vehicles - usually larger and more expensive models with more value-add.


I don’t think HVAC systems are a very large part of the economy.

I agree with you generally though. Globalization and off shoring of jobs isn’t really giving the average American a net increase when you consider wages - expenses. Housing and health care are not going down and probably eclipse any savings we get on cheaper Chinese made electronics.

I do think that food prices have benefited some from globalization and food has not gone up considerably in price in the past few decades.


Yes we’re dropping. But why would we be expected to be #1 indefinitely? We had a significant edge in many areas in the past. Partly due to resolution of WWII.
What edge do you still see? Are Americans more educated in average than every other country? Smarter? Do we have greater technology? We choose to be harder workers? Has the government most strongly encouraged a move to cleaner/cheaper energy or invested funds in research related activities? The answer to most of these type of questions individually is No - there are other countries that best in most categories.

That said, all the previous discussion is ignoring various governments. Our (and other countries’) governments use policy to manipulate activity. These policies affect our progression and standard of living. Some of the relative drop is rightly attributed to the previous generation(s) squandering their position at #1 and electing/allowing government that has been unable to keep us at #1.


Looks like ~ 1 in 10 men found a sugar mama.


I suspect it’s not that bad if you reverted to 1960s lifestyle standards. Small apartment or sub 1000sf house. No ac. One or zero cars. College only for a few.

It does seem to me that tech plus globalization is creating/destroying jobs a lot faster than people can adapt. The whole country can’t just go into IT or healthcare.


In my opinion this is a completely nonsense statement. The “average CEO” vs “average worker” is a useless metric. If you want to get something that even tells you something (the value would still be debatable), it would be “average CEO pay per worker”. Obviously, if a company has 20,000 employees his wages would expected to be higher than a CEO at a company with 10 employees. I would guess that it’s likely the #employees per company in the companies they are comparing have gone up. Edit: That does not mean I am saying that I think this should be a linear relationship. Example is extreme on purpose.

Stock options and performance-based incentives are not so simple to directly compare, either.


Yes, the question then is how many employees the fortune 500 companies have on average, which has not stayed the same over the years.


well sure, a performance based compensation would make more sense in many ways. That would not be connected to “X times the average employee’s pay”, either.

And i’d bet you have it backwards. The fortune 500 companies today are much larger rather than much smaller. But I would only bet, I don’t have the numbers here nor am i interested enough to go search for them. The 10 employees vs 20,000 was only an example taken to the extremes on purpose.

On your specific Ford example, most Ford shareholders would argue that Mulally was worth every penny and then some…