Inter-generational theft

Written By: - Date published: 10:24 am, May 2nd, 2012 - 49 comments
Categories: class war, Economy, employment, tertiary education - Tags:

Baby boomers strike again.

In 1989, University fees for domestic students in New Zealand were  less than $300. Moreover, for many students, 90% of that cost was met by the government through a fees grant. NZUSA has a very good history of fees in New Zealand.

But I just want to say thank you to the baby boomer generation.

Thanks for pulling that ladder up after you.

I think it is great that graduates are now going to have to repay their loans faster so that you can keep more of your income. Income that you’re probably earning with that fantastic degree you didn’t pay for. It’s not like we are entering the toughest job market in twenty years, with the highest housing prices and an increasing cost of living.

How about I, as a graduate, repay my loan faster when you give yourselves retrospective student loans to repay the state for that free degree you got? Or pay a general tax of thanks for that ladder we no longer have.

Yeah, didn’t think so. 

Instead we get asset sales, faster repayments, higher fees and Steven Joyce telling us to be grateful. 

49 comments on “Inter-generational theft”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Personally I’m fed up with this blaming everything on the baby boomers crap.

    You keep forgetting that in the 1980’s when neo-liberalism was being driven as the mainstream ideologogy, none of us baby-boomers were more than 35 yrs old. The establishment class that did this to us all were all in their 50-70’s.

    Nah.. the this ‘intergenerational theft’ nonsense is a dangerous diversion. The issue is class, always was.

    • Rupert the Beer 1.1

      Red has a point – working class baby-boomers aren’t exactly creaming it.

      • Tiger Mountain 1.2.1

        Yeah RL, it is actually class theft. In a general sense all previous generations leave a sting in the tail but there is more to it.

        Annoying as grey beards can be, and I don’t particularly like them pumping gas or doing other ‘entry level’ jobs, the ‘baby boomer’ analysis is primarily popular/academic sociological branding. As the Māori party found out, identity ultimately does not trump class, but the two can walk together.

        ‘Baby boomers’ via Mana movement and the small hard left parties are leading the current Hikoi “Aotearoa is Not For Sale”.

  2. KJT 2

    You mean the degree that I did not get, like most boomers I did not go to University, while paying 60 percent tax so the children of the rich could invest the ski-fields.

    It was not free. It was paid for by taxes on the working class who did not go to University.

    I did not mind the tax rates, because, I thought, at least my children would benefit.

    Again like most boomers I am paying to keep my adult children in education.

    Do you really think that we would vote to cut student allowances when it just means that we have to pay more to help our kids.

    Student loans have made University education available to many more people than in the 60’s and 70’s, when it was really only for the upper classes.

    I think it is totally fair that students repay a proportion of their costs.
    While I agree the level of loan and allowances should be more realistic..

    Again this is confusing the real battle, class, with generation.

    RWNJ’s are happy to have us blaming, boomers, beneficiaries, solo mums, anyone but the real cause, themselves.

    • IrishBill 2.1

      Bullshit it was for the upperclass. My entire (lower middle-class, state house) family got university educations from the fifties to the seventies.

  3. Richard 3

    and in 1989 tertiary participation rates were about 40% lower than they are now. There are a lot more students than there used to be. You can either fund a lot of students to a modest degree, or fewer students to a high degree. Unless you have a money tree, you cannot do both.

    • millsy 3.1

      Back in 1989 there was still a lot of industry training in place so you could join the workforce and do much of your training on the job. Not only with apprenticeships, but with cadetships in both the private and public sector. Then around that time, the NZQA/ITO system was put in place and you had to get a qualification from polytech first before entering the workforce in most cases.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Actually, we can.

      We need people in Uni/Polytech getting an education, doing research and development, what we don’t need and can’t afford is rich people.

  4. PunditX 4

    Good grief Jimmy what a whinge – are you a pom? This isn’t my generation pulling the ladder up its John Key and he’s your generation mate. I missed out on the freebie degree because where I come from you work your way through college and there were no loans. And besides the draft intervened and sent me to Vietnam helping me to miss out on that most middle class  of dreams, college and career.. Another story but until you can put that expensive education to good use and work out how get rid rid of this shower and replace it with a Labour Green government, pay up, shut up and stop blaming your parents…

    • vto 4.1

      “This isn’t my generation pulling the ladder up its John Key and he’s your generation mate.”

      Bullshit. The moves are in response to voters, obviously. So ask yourself why this government refuses to address superann. Paying every single person aged 65 and over in these times, no matter whether they have no income or a multi-million dollar income, is simple greed. Greed of the voters and greed of the politicians.

      Inter-generational theft is an entirely legitimate issue – especially as the population pulses and bulges with different age groups and their greedy demands. Good on you Jimmy Reid for raising it.

      It always gets people’s goat though doesn’t it – witness redlogix above. And try raising super ann with most recipients – blah blah blah I paid my taxes blah blah blah. Which is also a bullshit argument. They paid their taxes and consistently voted for governments like Muldoons who scuppered super schemes. Why has that generation that blah blah blah paid their taxes blah blah blah never put in place a scheme to deal with this? I suggest simple greed is the reason.

      Seriously, the older generation really get my own goat sometimes. In the Press today there is an article about a groupf of elderley who have berated CERA for their failures, which are all perfectly legit. However, one noo-noo in the audience claimed “it was our generation who built this country”. What a fricking dope. One generation did all the building of this country over 150-200 years?? ha ha ha – perfect example of woolly headedness on exactly this matter.

      • Uturn 4.1.1

        I don’t know if the whole Boomer Hate thing is relevent in itself, since the solution to the real problem is always at hand, but never applied. The reply Boomer Hate gets of “don’t blame your parents” always makes me laugh. But you make a good point. Someone had to vote in the nasties who “pulled up the ladder”. No one wants to admit to that. They didn’t vote themselves in. Wasn’t just a single term either. Age may not make everyone stupid, but some people have stayed stupid for longer than others.

      • Roy 4.1.2

        “Paying every single person aged 65 and over in these times, no matter whether they have no income or a multi-million dollar income, is simple greed. Greed of the voters and greed of the politicians.”

        Right on, vto! Whether it’s the BabyBoomers, many of whom have not yet retired, or largely the generation before them, unquestionably the Greedy Greys are screwing the young. I would contend that the blame mostly lies with the generation before the Baby Boomers but the older Boomers sure aren’t doing anything to turn it around. The younger Boomers, born in the late 50’s, are feeling some pain because their kids are still at uni, or are new graduates saddled with monstrous debt.

        As a Generation Jones (born right on the cusp between BabyBoomers and Gen X) I am very well aware that my older siblings, who are BabyBoomers, had it a hell of a lot easier going through uni than I did, and that my kids at uni have it a hell of a lot harder than I did. Why do Boomers keep lying about how it was for them? Do they really think nobody else remembers?

        We desperately need means-testing of superannuation, so that multi-millionaires don’t get it. Australia is supposed to be the economic model we should aspire to, and Australia certainly means-tests its old age pension (which it calls a pension, rather than some cute euphemism). We also need to rebuild the apprenticeship system for young people who are not particularly academic.

        • rosy

          I absolutely agree with the need to sort super. I absolutely agree that intergenerational theft is a real outcome of policy decisions. I absolutely agree that the student loans scheme is unfair . I absolutely detest arguing in boomer and genx/y terms.

          My parents had fixed interests loans and capitalising on family benefits to buy houses, my generation paid exorbitant interest rates on mortgages and huge deposits, but our education was cheaper than my children’s education. And students nowadays have it way better than my children did when they were charged above market interest on their student loans.

          Inter-generational wealth transfer (or theft, if you prefer) is an ongoing problem, partly due to planning in short time-frames and cost-benefit analyses that discount the future, partly due to the influence of voting blocks (young people – vote!! Please!), and all sorts of other partlys. It almost always has that difficult issue of class at the core.

          Does anyone doubt a fair chunk of the children of the asset strippers of the last neo-lib turn were/are not richer students than their parents were? Does anyone doubt a huge chunk of working class parents are seeing their children poorer? Does anyone doubt that on the whole parents want the best for their children, rather than steal from them?

          And all the while middle-class children are trying to hold onto the standard of living their parents have. This is what really crystallises the anger of gen x against boomers, I think.

          Using the boomer – gen y/x argument is static and provides no solution. It’s generation after generation after generation… and is uneven in it’s effects (and sometimes operates in reverse – clearly not recently). Jeez if this type of argument goes on the current greens, because they are part of Gen X accused of intergenerational theft of resources by their grandchildren. Work on the issues and enlist like-minded people to argue.

          Divide and conquer on demographic profile is futile for people who want a fair society. But if it helps to get rid of your anger, go for it. Just don’t expect any solutions while you’re venting – the haves won’t be listening.

      • KJT 4.1.3

        Take a big pull on whatever you are smoking and repeat slowly.

        Very few boomers went to University compared with the next generation.

        Those under 40 now are likely to have much higher lifetime earnings than the average boomer. because there are much less of us. Simple supply and demand.

        Hardly pulling up a ladder when you never climbed it.

        • vto

          KJT, I don’t understand how what you wrote there relates to what I wrote. I didn’t mention either university or boomers – my post concerned inter-generational theft and other issues in a general sense.

          It seems it may have been you taking a drag on something.

          (all assuming your post was in reply to mine).

        • geoff

          you fucking twat. you didn’t need to go uni to get a job back then. you just
          rolled out of school at 15 into an apprenticeship which you could rely on to become
          a job that would be secure for the rest of your life. Unemployment was fucking miniscule!

          The degree of uncertainty and saddling of debt that young people have to take on just to
          earn a paltry crust nowadays is fucking disgusting.

          I hope that whoever out there, perhaps not born yet, who has to look after these
          right-wing cunts in resthomes in their final senile years (most likely for minimum wage!), leaves them lying in their own piss soaked sheets for days at a time.

  5. just saying 5

    Maybe this is good news. I often hear people around these parts discount relative atrocities visited on the working class with “well it won’t be till the middle-class starts hurting that we can effect any real change” with an unspoken “sorry mate, not my fault, it’s just the way the world is”.

    So here we’re starting to see some policies which disproportionately impact on the middle-class coming out of National. People That Matter. Given those most in need have been waiting so long shouldn’t we be saying “Bring it on?”…

    And by the way, lest anyone make assumptions, I’m directly financially affected by these changes.
    pps. The whole time I was at uni part-time I saw the numbers of poor and returning adult students steadily decline, most of that time under a Labour government

  6. DH 6

    I think you need to look a little deeper than fees. In the ’70s not that many people went to ‘varsity, it’s only a fairly recent phenomenon that being a graduate is de rigueur for getting a well paid job or even a job full stop. Current spending on education, and children in general, is bleeding this country just as dry as spending on superannuation. Earlier generations never had ECE, WFF, Paid parental leave, computers in schools, indeed they didn’t have access to loans either so most had to fund their own tertiary education by whatever means possible.

    It’s the boomers who are still funding a large part of the existing education and family welfare spend so I think a little perspective is in order there. I’m not personally enamoured with paying taxes to educate people who fuck off overseas chasing a bigger pay packet but I don’t complain about it. Ce la vie.

    The systems sucks but it’s the whole system; not just education.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      We’ve hollowed out our economy over the last 30 years.

      We do not need, want or make space for the skills that universities are currently churning out in their undergrads.

      It’s good we’re giving Australia free university graduates though. They appreciate it.

      • bad12 6.1.1

        Yes they are wont to say quietly over the ditch in Oz that the most valuable thing we export to them is our people…

    • KJT 6.2

      There never will be jobs for all those graduates.

      Every Western country will need more builders, technicians and fitters in future.

      We already have so many lawyers and accountants we have to have make work schemes for them.

      Polytech or Uni instead of apprenticeships is an example of provider capture.
      Most jobs are better learn’t on the job.

      I have worked with many graduates where Uni has given them arrogance and a reluctance to learn. They know it all already.

      In fact we are better keeping student loans and spending more money on helping those who are falling behind in the early years.

  7. (A different) Nick K 7

    So true 🙁

  8. higherstandard 8


    The number of tertiary students (including domestic and international students) has nearly doubled, from 252,000 in 1994 to 469,000 in 2009.

    There were 426,000 domestic students in 2009, compared with 245,000 in 1994 and 315,000 in 2000.

    The proportion of people living in New Zealand aged 15 and over who participated in tertiary education in 2009 was 12.4 percent, up from 8.9 percent in 1994.

    • And back in the 80s, when people like me got to go to university for under $300 a year (in ’80s dollars), that proportion was even lower. Back then, it genuinely was ‘education for the elite’, unlike the squawking going on now. I’m picking that if the govt promised it would return to funding almost the entire cost of study but restrict entry to the same proportion of the population as back in the early 80s, Jimmy wouldn’t be any too chuffed about that either.

      Bottom line: we can’t provide what the baby boomers had, because we can’t return to such low student numbers. The real issue is with low wages, not student fees – if the govt wasn’t set on seeing our labour costs become competitive with Thailand and the Philippines, paying back a fraction of your tuition costs wouldn’t be a big deal.

  9. Shane Gallagher 9

    To those who are complaining about the number of students at tertiary level you are forgetting about something – educational inflation. You need to be better educated now to participate in the economy because the economy is now so much more complicated than it was “back then”.

    In the old days a primary education is what most people needed to get on in the world. Then is was secondary O-level (not being a kiwi I don’t know what the equivalent was here). Then it was Bursary/A-level.

    Then it became a degree or other equivalent trade qualification

    Now it is having a Masters that seems to be the way to “guarantee” a job when you leave uni.

    In the very complex and technical world we live in we need a better educated workforce. The median bar before was secondary level education – now it is a degree. And the “elite” are doing Masters and PhDs (even those do not guarantee a job these days).

    You want a modern cutting edge, knowledge based economy? Put your money where you mouth is and pay up.

    If you want Kiwis to be a cheap labour source for Australia – vote National.

    • KJT 9.1

      Better educated workforce?

      Hundreds more Lawyers than we need while the average age in the trades is 58.

      Yes we do. Better educated in practical skills.

      Bring back apprenticeships.

    • Uturn 9.2

      Well now this is an interesting idea, but why exactly do people need a masters in leaf raking, for example? There must be a point where the population becomes “over-educated” or perhaps more correctly labelled, “under-learned”.

      Higher education is a necessity for doctors and other vital services; and the electronic and engineering systems that support infrastructure. But no one needs a Masters or PhD to “get a job”. Perhaps the idea of higher education is now mainly connected to the silly aspirational game of being bettter than your peers; a social climbing rung, for lack of any other convenient prejudice to arrange society around. Because it’s an awful waste of resources to make a candidate for a gardener’s labourer position to get a Masters in raking before an employer will consider his application. The art of practical raking and the art of doing well with theoretical information are miles apart. And then Rich Boy will have no one to rake the leaves from his estate garden and god knows what will happen then, who will he blame?

      The knowledge based economy, while named ambiguously, usually relates to a rather narrow range of knowledge and is of limited use to a nation that wants anything more than wholesale unemployment and masses of over-educated people bewildered at why the streets are so dirty. There is a point where over-educating too many people will lead to a sudden explosion in the need for people who know practical applied skills and a re-balancing of the social arrangement, first on an equal footing and then strongly in favour of those who can “do”. AHah! Socialism wins again!

    • Carol 9.3

      Not only has there been qualification inflation in recent decades, as a boomer who got my first qualifications in the 70s, I have found that the ones I have are often never enough for what I wanted to do (which was far from extremely high paying work). I have found I have had to keep going back to uni (usually part time) to get more qualifications to remain competitive with younger folks more recently qualified.

      And, remember, if a person in their 50s-60s loses their job now, they are competing for jobs with (more desired) younger people with more and/or more recent qualifications).

  10. I blame the education system for the learned stupidity that blames our ills on other generations, foreigners, consumption, greed, identity crisis, mistakes, ego, complacency, bloodymindedness, bastardry, morality and statistics, and the education system.

  11. Carol 11

    I also never voted for the John Key government, and don’t agree with the changes they are now planning for student loans and/or allowance. All students should be getting a reasonable allowance. Their education is an investment for the future.

    But also, the current competitive mania over qualifications needs to be challenged.

    The focus should be on education for participation in a democratic society. Education shouldn’t be just to enter a competition for the (never enough, never fair enough) jobs that are available.

  12. mike 12

    The intergenerational theft argument is overly simplistic. There are a number of factors that go into the gen x and millennial generation’s situation. Similarly not all baby boomers or the generation before them have benefitted from the changes that have taken place from the 90s onwards. However this article is about the fact that the current generation of graduates has just been handed a pay cut.

    This continues the trend started by the introduction of the change in public policy and debate that occurred in the 90s when it was decided that actually education was no longer a public good with some private benefits but was solely a private good and just another commodity.
    The anger that this has generated has been directed at the boomers simply because they and the generation before them (who get lumped in as boomers) have been the generation making the decisions for the last 25 years and were a genration/s who did not have to deal with this.
    Yes I think blaming boomers for everything is simplistic but that anger is there, it is real, it has and will continue to have very real consequences. You ignore it at your peril.
    The greatest feeling we have towards boomers is not actually anger. Its a feeling of being really badly let down. Rather than stand up and fight for us, the previous generations appear to simply spend their time justifying their position and shouting down anyone who says otherwise.

    • DH 12.1

      Try looking up just how much the state forks out for education and then tell us it’s not a public good. Hint… tertiary alone takes nearly $4billion of our hard earned.

      See for yourself, scroll down to the bit on education…..

    • Carol 12.2

      Rather than stand up and fight for us, the previous generations appear to simply spend their time justifying their position and shouting down anyone who says otherwise.

      Plenty of us have, for a long time, and will continue to stand up and fight for a better and fairer education and future…. for me that has included going on many demos, protests, strikes and picket lines aiming for just that….. but the people making the decisions have still gone on making the decisions by and for the benefit of the few.

  13. lefty 13

    It’s nonsense to suggest working class boomers like myself that left school at 15 or 16, still have mortgages, and have to work for five years longer than their parents did before they get the pension have stolen from the next generation.

    Over the same period the rich have been appropriating a bigger and bigger share of the nations wealth and making the rest of us work harder each year. Their children will inherit massive amounts of wealth while ours will struggle paying off student loans, huge mortgages etc if they are lucky enough to have a job.

    I refuse to accept responsibility for the actions of the National and Labour party over the last thirty years because I have been fighting their shit every step of the way as a unionist, on the streets, and by every means possible.

    The intergenerational theft argument is a ploy to enable the international ruling class to keep on accumulating wealth at the expense of the rest of us. People like Jimmy are enablers of the ruling class and a menace to the rest of us.

    We should be focusing on the system that is destroying our society and our planet not falling into the neo liberal trap of blaming the victims for the crimes of the elite and turning generations against each other.

  14. Reagan Cline 14

    I finished a degree in 1970, having started 1964. At that time the globalisation thing hadn’t started and most of us shot through for postgrasd to US or London and then came back. I went to a provincial town where they needed someone – I did it because it made me feel good about being part of a good real NZ town where I could conrtibute and be “big fish in small pond” obviously useful and needed.

    Then Lange and his puppet masters fucked it all up.

    You need to realise that the boomers were by and large more altruistic and patriotic than today’s lot.

    The choices were more limited and many of us saw a career at home the best way to go. Now more people in the higher paid workforce are from overseas, having taken jobs that traditionally woulod have gone to NZ boomer generation.

  15. Foreign Waka 15

    I read these comments and there is this red thread of blame going through it. Many seem to forget that NZ was “restructured” in the 80’s and the so called baby boomers were the people paying for it. The ones who are close to retirement or have just turned 65 have the most traumatic experience in terms of loosing all than any University graduate right now. A new structure was introduced and with it a new way of doing politics. Both have had a substantial influence as NZ tried to do a 24h turnaround from a introverted economy dependent on Britain to an International country. And man this was a hurtful time! Note from the webpage:
    New Zealand became part of a global economy. With no restrictions on overseas money coming into the country the focus in the economy shifted from the productive sector to finance.[34] Finance capital outstripped industrial capital[30] and redundancies occurred in manufacturing industry; approximately 76,000 manufacturing jobs were lost between 1987 and 1992.
    Over 15 years, New Zealand’s economy and social capital faced a steady decline: the youth suicide rate grew sharply into one of the highest in the developed world;the proliferation of food banks increased dramatically;marked increases in violent and other crime were observed; the number of New Zealanders estimated to be living in poverty grew by at least 35% between 1989 and 1992;and health care was especially hard-hit, leading to a significant deterioration in health standards among working and middle class people.In addition, many of the promised economic benefits of the experiment never materialised. Between 1985 and 1992, New Zealand’s economy grew by 4.7% during the same period in which the average OECD nation grew by 28.2%.From 1984–1993 inflation averaged 9% per year, New Zealand’s credit rating dropped twice, and foreign debt quadrupled.Between 1986 and 1993, the unemployment rate rose from 3.6% to 11%.

  16. fatty 16

    “You need to realise that the boomers were by and large more altruistic and patriotic than today’s lot.”

    Yes. Gen X and Y are definitely un-altruistic and un-patriotic when compared to the boomers. We have been brought up in a society built upon the concept individual responsibility…NZ does not provide for us the way it did for the boomers.

    “At that time the globalisation thing hadn’t started…”

    This is a very important point. The boomers do not need Gen X & Y, that is why the ladder has been pulled up. Instead of needing the next generation’s skills and knowledge to provide doctors/nurses/lawyers etc immigration can now cover it…so the boomers see no need to pay for the later generations. Changes to our immigration laws have have coincided with cuts in tax, health & education – we now cherry pick immigrants based on their professional status. This is also why Gen X & Y are un-patriotic and un-altruistic.

    Nobody is saying that ALL boomers benefited from the introduction of neoliberalism, but as a generation they certainly did.
    There is a Pakeha privilege, there is a male privilege…and there is a generational privilege. Nobody with a brain believes that all Pakeha have benefited from colonialism, anyone that has studied post-colonialism knows that many victims of colonialism are Pakeha…just as some Maori benefited from colonialism (Maori elites have been around since the Europeans arrived).

    If you have posted here claiming that you are an unprivileged boomer then you are wrong…if you are claiming here that you have not benefited economically from being a boomer then you are probably right. They are not mutually exclusive.
    If you do claim boomers have not been privileged, then do you also claim that Pakeha privilege is a sham? Is male privilege also “crap”?

    I’m in the process of applying for an overseas postgrad university scholarship. The NZ universities are under funded and I can probably study for free overseas…if I stay here I will get a worse education and have a loan that will cripple me for life.
    I will return to NZ to work (probably with a doctorate) when the tax system is back to how it was 40 years ago…so that when I have kids they will not be economically crippled for life.
    I am proudly un-patriotic to NZ…you can all go shaft yourself with your neoliberal stick that you keep beating me with.

    • Carol 16.1

      I understand the concept of boomer privilege, in that there were more jobs easily available when we were young than now, and ones that provided a liveable income. Just surviving has become much harder. And I do think the stresses on young people have become enormous.

      But it has also become harder for many boomers who become unemployed in later life, not having the same level of qualifications as many younger people and not being of an age desired most by employers.

      However, I don’t think uni education was as easily available to the majority of boomers as you seem to think. Ditto for access to the higher paid jobs and promotion.

      But if you agree there’s Pakeha and male privilege (I’d add class privilege to that too), what then of non-Pakeha, female, gay, and working class boomers? Many would have not had the opportunities to do any degree, here or abroad, the way you are planning to do…. certainly not to get a scholarship to do a postgraduate course overseas.

      And what a contradictory way to end you rant against boomers…. with a solution that is all about you, and getting what you can out of it for yourself and your nuclear family. I think you’ve just undermined your whole argument.

      And when some of us boomers have spent decades pursuing ways to improve society for decades and agitating for a fairer world for all in many ways.

      • rosy 16.1.1

        Carol, everything I’ve seen you write on the inter-generational theft debate I fully agree with. Just letting you know so I don’t go around +1ing all over the place 😉

      • mike e 16.1.2

        tax rise for our best and brightest smart move DonKey speed up the numbers heading overseas.
        adding value at our expense to other countries economies.

    • Foreign Waka 16.2

      We hear you, don’t you worry. Just a few facts have gotten in the way. A lot of Baby boomers have lost EVERTHING to that neolib theory of trickle down when the market crashed and now have no time to make up for this before they retire. Hence the need to work until falling into the grave. You don’t really belief that everybody is singing and dancing when having to work til 70? Equally, I do not blame you going overseas to get an education. However, you need to hurry because this trend is taking hold in the even most education supportive countries (i.e. Germany, Scandinavian countries).

  17. fatty 17

    “However, I don’t think uni education was as easily available to the majority of boomers as you seem to think. Ditto for access to the higher paid jobs and promotion.”

    True…but university was not required and due to the trickle down effect via a fair tax system, as a result higher paid jobs and promotions were not needed to survive with dignity.

    “Many would have not had the opportunities to do any degree, here or abroad, the way you are planning to do…. certainly not to get a scholarship to do a postgraduate course overseas.”

    You say opportunity, I say my only option.

    “And what a contradictory way to end you rant against boomers…. with a solution that is all about you, and getting what you can out of it for yourself and your nuclear family. I think you’ve just undermined your whole argument.”

    Sorry, I forgot to add that you’ll also have to find another volunteer to help with the homeless people of Christchurch…and the mentoring I do with high school students. Plus the disadvantaged uni students I work with. Your assumption that I personally am un-altruistic and selfish is wrong. Generation X & Y are generally un-altruistic and selfish, but not all of us.

    “And when some of us boomers have spent decades pursuing ways to improve society for decades and agitating for a fairer world for all in many ways.”

    I’m well aware of that and I thank you for that…shame your generation has done the opposite.

    • Carol 17.1

      OK. I stand corrected on your altruism. I think a large amount of boomers have done what I did. Well, certainly when I was younger in NZ, and in my many years in London working in education, the whole aim of which was to provide better opportunities etc for the young. These were the people I worked with trying to develop better education programmes. And they were the people who I demonstrated with and stood on picket lines with in an attempt to stop the changes Thatcher was bringing in to education, with a government that less than 50% of voters voted for (FPtP – a government could do what they liked with less than 50% of the vote).

      I also left NZ in anger and frustration in the 1970s (as did quite a few of m generation) …. not to get an education, but to find somewhere I could find more liveable – it wasn’t all sweetness and light living here back then.

      I did get an education overseas (inside and outside unis), most of the graduate uni education done part time, subsidised by my employer while I was working fulltime. The aim was to improve my understanding of the world, my work and politics, rather than to earn a lot of money.

      I do think spending sometime overseas is very valuable for anyone able to do that. And it was very good for my political education, too.

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