As a Millennial

This was an opinion piece I sent to the Dorset Eye in 2015.

I am probably a millennial, I became old enough to understand news papers and be interested in the world around me just in time to find out I was probably ruining it. According to the stats one sixth of me is out of work, I’m lazy, spoiled and parasitic to the economy. Congratulations Generation X, you did too good a job, you provided, protected and now we are all ambitionless sprogs.

In hind sight I probably am. When I’m not being a student (which by definition involves more taking in than giving out) I’m a waitress, or a cashier, or some other job that I’m only doing because I’m cheaper than getting a machine to do it, all to earn money I don’t strictly need. I won’t starve, I won’t die of plague, I won’t freeze holding my burnt out matches, which no one will buy because no one smokes any more.

But when I look up the stats (on a computer I didn’t pay for, I know I’m a horrible person), that seems to be the trend. We throw away half the food we produce because it isn’t pretty enough, productivity is at an all time high thanks to automation and I serve a more valuable function in the world economy consuming the products made in LDC’s, strengthening the global market and decreasing poverty, than I do by pretending my steamed milk is better than the steamed milk the machine makes (if anything it’s probably worse).

That’s why in 2013 the Pentagon asked the US Congress to stop sending them tanks. There hasn’t been an armed conflict between two sovereign nations since the cold war, even the conflicts we do have don’t involve tanks. The fact is the world is dangerously close to world peace but if we stopped making tanks, what would the tank builders do? The same goes for Trident, it is a cold war remnant (a sentence I hear more about James Bond than nuclear weapons) a nine way shoot out where no one wants to be the last to drop their guns but the guns have long since started gathering dust, no one intends to shoot, and the only thing keeping them up is that the gunmen are paid to be there. Yes it creates jobs, yes it reassures the old folks, that’s also the only reason you can still by coffee from me and not C3PO.

We live in a world of the future, of peace and plenty. It isn’t utopia, there is a long way to go and I’m not qualified to suggest a solution. What I will suggest is to stop blaming us for it. We don’t get up at five in the morning and go work at the cigarette factory because there are machines that do that, (and no one smokes anymore). We have more food than there are those starving, we have more houses than the homeless, the key is linking those things together. There is probably an App for that, and it was probably developed by a millennial. Inside my screen obsessed, headphone blinkered little mind I could be, using to lend the money I don’t deserve to people who can’t get low interest loans, up loading video of myself throwing ice water over my head, or making the world a better place.So the next time you read something about how ambitionless and spoiled I am, please remember you did an excellent job, welcome to Tralfamador. Put your feet up.

Heather Livings