The millennial generation are ever so different, apparently. As they grow up, we’re told, an intergenerational shift is underway.
Those under the age of 35 not only think differently to the rest of us, claimed Matthew d’Ancona recently, they are deeply concerned about climate change. It’s not just that they value identity over individualism. The young are, apparently, much more anti free market capitalism than those that came before.
What’s more, with every passing year this rising generation will ease the oldies aside – and the so called ‘Overton window’ of what is considered mainstream in politics will move inexorably leftward.
Really? Perhaps this sort of analysis tells us more about the preconceptions of middle-aged opinion formers than it does about the attitudes and aspirations of younger people.
If younger people have different attitudes, it’s because they are much more favourable towards choice and competition, the two central tenets of a free market system.
As Matt Singh noted recently on these pages, a Kantor Public survey across Europe has found that competition is extremely popular, with 88 per cent of UK respondents agreeing that competition between businesses is good for the consumer. Young people in particular are more likely to see competition as a good thing.
How do you square the fact that 90 per cent of 15–24 year olds see competition as good for the global market place with the idea that the young are anti free market capitalism? You can’t.