The baby boomers have brought the boy to the brink of climate change, an unfair generation contract and a broken Europe. Time to make room
Actually, it has always been the same story lately, shared dinner, while we, tired from long days of work, devoured spaghetti with tomato sauce and opened one cheap red wine after another: the friends, all between 20 and mid 30, had sat in uncomfortable chairs in cold executive offices, talking head-first, as so often at the beginning of a new year. Her cheeks were flushed, her hands clenched and her voice an embarrassing octave higher than usual. They had listed what they had done and done in the past few months and what they wanted to do even better in the future. They had tried not to forget the breathing. One over, another over the other leg. It had been a game with just one goal. In the end, at some point, one of those sentences fell: "I need more money, more security, more perspective."
Their superiors sat opposite to them. Beautiful, well-groomed people with gray hair and healthy complexion. They had smiled contentedly and nodded encouragingly. Just keep it up, they said and smiled a little wider. Probably, so the friends suspected, because they were somehow touched by the commitment that came towards them. It just did not help. At the end of the conversation, they still had to explain that the wishes expressed (supervisors always spoke of wishes, never of demands) for the new year could not be fulfilled unfortunately. Austerity measures, limited resources, little planning security and so on. At the moment everything is not so easy. The friends just have to be patient.
Everyone can imagine how the rest of the evening went after this story. The friends scolded and beat their fists on the tabletop until the red wine glasses trembled. They described the precarious living and working conditions in which they moved despite their bachelor's or even master's degrees, and listed the injustices that befell our generation. My friend Clara, 33, said, "I did everything right, right?" She studied history at the Free University of Berlin and the elite Yale University, completed countless internships in renowned historical museums and institutions, conceived her own exhibitions in her spare time and successfully completed an internship. Nevertheless, it is only enough for limited-term fee contracts. Sometimes she works on three projects at the same time. She has hardly any money. She does not remember when she was really free the last time, did not have to do anything. After all, Matthias said, she would still be able to earn her living with topics that interest her. He is 29 and works three days out of five in a call center to afford the life of a freelance journalist and author. He still has not given up hope for employment with a newspaper or a lump sum.
I know what you might think now: Please not another millennial text! The whining of this spoiled, self-pitying Generation Y can no longer be heard. And of course, this whining annoys the friends and me too. Therefore, this text is about the others: the generation of our parents, those beautiful, gray-haired negotiating partners. Time to change perspective.
Our parents are members of the "baby boomers" generation. They were born in the 1950s and 1960s into a world and a society that had to recover from a cruel world war and slowly began to breathe again. Her parents were battered war children who wanted only peace, security and prosperity for their offspring. So they rolled up their sleeves, working like crazy and pushing what had happened, far away, into the backmost drawers of their heads, just as you do when you want to believe in life again. What mattered was the future. And the great, unbelievable thing was: it worked. Some people describe these years as miracles. The pantries were finally full again, the playgrounds even fuller, in the kitchens there was a smell of freshly baked cake by Dr. Ing. Oetker, there were cocktail bars next to the pastel cocktail armchairs, and the radios made Elvis Presley's "It's Now or Never." And because nobody wanted to be alone anymore and they wanted to share the happiness of this new era, the women got on average 2.2 children, which finally led to 1.36 million children being born in 1964 in the Federal Republic of Germany saw. More than ever before and never again since. The baby boom was mainly due to the births in West Germany, in the GDR was the birth rate in a weakened form but also available. Today, the birth cohorts of the fifties and sixties therefore account for 30 percent of the population.
Among these children were our parents and people like Angela Merkel, Martin Schulz,
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Friedrich Merz. They were optimistic, eager little people.
Often they were the first in their family to graduate from high school. They listened attentively, though
the authorities told them that they could make this country even more miraculous
if they diligently continued to study, completed higher education, visited universities and
a profession that does not only give them ideal, but above all material assets
would bring. And because they, like all children, wanted to make their parents proud, they followed
the council, getting older, smarter and more self-confident, climbed up and nourished the
economic prosperity. The majority of baby boomers – this conclusion comes
Thesis paper of the Körber Foundation from 2018 – things went better from year to year. Your
Income and their standard of living rose, and the welfare state also pledged in
difficult times social security.
That certainly applies to the average. People with less education had it
but also difficult under the baby boomers and benefited less from the economic
Upswing as their peers with university degrees. And there were big gaps
of course also with the baby boomers in East Germany, who are in the phase of their career entry
had to watch as the economy of the GDR collapsed. Their employment biographies show the
biggest breaks and gaps. Big differences can also be made between a man and a woman
determine. The annual average salary of 50 to 60-year-old skilled workers was in 2017
around 57,000 euros. Female professionals of this age group on average but earn around
20,000 euros less as her male peers. In leadership positions is the
Difference even bigger.
Nevertheless, the baby boomers could have greater financial wealth than the generation before and after
pile them up. They have saved a lot and have little debt. The prosperity of this country
is due to them, their sheer mass and their enormous determination.