Millennial Burnout


I think the difference is three fold:

Up until recently, because the increases in productivity caused both increase in profit for capital and also increase in earnings for workers, the push for productivity benefited most of the population. In recent decades, almost all of the profit from increased productivity has gone to the top few percent, so people now are producing more but not reaping the benefit. This is the underlying economic change/instability/pressure.

Second, in recent decades, the increases in GDP etc. have also been accompanied by increases in volatility / decreases in stability: more volatile housing and stock markets, more corporate mergers and layoffs, less dependable pensions, etc.

So productivity goes up, workers don’t see much reward, and they see more insecurity.

And then lastly, wages for most workers have been “flat” for 4 decades but that’s only if you look at inflation in the aggregate. If you look at the cost of housing, higher education and health care, those have all gone up much more swiftly than wages for most Americans. And those areas are the core to long term prosperity, long term opportunity and long term stability. So wages are “flat” if you factor in being able to buy a bigger TV, but in terms of the foundations of long term quality of life, wages are actually relatively down for most Americans.

So, more productive, less quality of life, more insecurity. No wonder the millenials feel like they have it rough. They do in fact have it rough.

I’m a first wave Gen-X type and I put myself through the UC system undergrad by working and law school with borrowing that I could handle, but a person in my similar circumstances now could not do that. Relative to what I paid, and what I could earn, it requires more hours worked and more borrowing now, to what I consider a prohibitive extent. I was lucky in that I entered UC after CA was starting to cut back but before it got really horrendous, and before the relative value of low wage student jobs dropped through the floor.

It’s just not the same.


I’m sympathetic, but maybe don’t moan about “prime earning years” unless you are a 46 yo laid off from a technology job who is now working as a lifeguard at the YMCA to try to make mortgage and kids’ tuition payments.


I don’t think you’re a Millenial!

Seriously though, am sympathetic too.

There are people that are worse off than you and there are people better off than you. The data says, as mentioned above, the return for the worker, is typically not there.


I suppose but those kids tuition payments come of of a savings that you didn’t have cash to build up in your mid 20’s. Shouldn’t that 46 year old have a safety net built up by then? Isn’t that what I was told I needed to do?


Should, but
" 35 percent of all adults in the U.S. have only several hundred dollars in their savings accounts and 34 percent have zero. Only 15 percent have over $10,000 stashed away."



I’ve heard these numbers several times before. And I’m shocked every time. I wouldn’t be able to sleep.


The great irony is that having employees constantly on low to mid level burn is actually counter productive.

Anecdotal, but some companies have experimented with 4 day work weeks, and reported that more gets done.

Ditto 6 hr working days, no breaks, variable shifts (i.e. this week you are in 0800-1400 Mr Rowe, Mon to Thur, but you will be working hard.)


Here’s a secret:
This is just how the world works.

Take capitalism out of the equation… and it’s still how the world works.
Even when you go to the other extreme, you’re still competing with others and ultimately enriching someone else. It’s just that instead of some corporate industrialist, it’s some party official.

Capitalism isn’t the problem.


The problem is when people too amass power and wealth, whether it’s through capitalism or some other method.

What is too much is debatable, but I currently see too many business and wealthy individuals with more money and value than it is possible to amass in a fair system.

The greatest generation knew that you had to tax the very wealthiest, not only to fund the government but also to stop or slow down the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few.


Well yes, but my “Eat humans” party hasn’t gained any traction, whereas Democratic Socialism is the new meme all the kids love to retweet


When most folks talk about Democratic Socialism, they’re still talking about capitalism, right?
I get the feeling like sometimes folks talk about it as though it was something other than a capitalist system.


The concentration of wealth is a little more concentrated these days. This is how it always was and will always be isn’t necessarily the truth when you look at that.


Civilization is.

or better yet

One of the most interesting books I read for a college course. It was for an environmental stewardship honors elective. Stating that there wasn’t really any good reason we came up with the society we currently have other than it out-competed other archaic systems eons before we were born, and survived due to a lack of alternatives.

This was, by far one of the most hippy dippy classes I took in my liberal arts college, but it was really thought provoking.


I would argue for stronger Unions, stronger regulations, strong incentives to stop the accumulation of so much wealth.

If people are going to be taxed, they might elect to spend more of it on employees instead.

Also, set over time at 30 hours and make the salary for exempt employees something like 80,000. That should push up a few wages


That might work as a platform. 30 hour work week and 80,000 exemptions would help people in the middle class.


Welcome to Jokes man


Eh… I’m not getting the requirement for a 30 hour work week.

I mean… 40 hours ain’t that long. That’s not some kind of crazy grueling schedule.


My main beef with it is that the school week is typically 30 hours (or less) and parents have to figure out those extra 10 hours somehow.

Also, increases in per-hour worker productivity over the last 100 years (of 3 or 4 x) should have led to less hours worked. And they did. But not commensurate with the increases in productivity. So what we’ve done is increased consumption of goods. Which will have deleterious environmental effects, not because we’re evil or capitalism is evil or whatever, but simply because there are so goddamn many of us.


You state that with such certainty, as if it were a law of nature, but I don’t see how you got there. If that statement were true, we would have seen people drop to 10 hours worked during the industrial revolution, when we had even greater productivity gains.

Your assumptions are bucking human nature—we are social, yet competitive, creatures. Short of all-out legal constraints, a certain percentage of the population will always push to get ahead. If not in the leading industrial nations, then in the rest of the world.

Your primary reason for it, the school week, seems completely arbitrary. Parenting comes with its challenges, as I well know. Dragging the whole economy around based on that premise seems nonsensical. There are ways to address that short of dropping the work week.