Sunday, January 26, 2014

is this the accidental end of marriage, family, religion, and capitalism?


HuffPo | What if the next big thing really isn't a thing at all? What if it's a way? And what if this way doesn't bring neatly folded answers but rather a basket of disheveled questions? Often what moves our world goes unnoticed because we are looking somewhere else for something else.

I am ever amazed at what I accidentally learn on the way to seemingly more important things. I was recently part of a blue-ribbon panel on the future viability of retirement. The primary topic of conversation was the impending specter of a maddening throng of boomers using the political process to tip the scales of economic fortune in their favor to the detriment of all others. Prevailing logic has it that my generation will use its strength in numbers at the voting booth to maintain the status quo. This assumes that the generations that follow us will naturally carry the burden of our age. Yet, what has been lost in the conversation is the possibility that Millennials -- our semi-adult 20-something children -- might just opt out of our plan and more importantly our world view.

Many young people are now taking the opposite track of their parents' and eschewing social and economic convention to challenge what we take to be civil society. On our way to developing innovative solutions to our imminent retirement debacle I learned from some of the most credible researchers on the planet that our children aren't marrying; they have become the refuseniks of our competitive corporate culture and have effectively eschewed organized religion and even a belief in the almighty.

It is indeed difficult to imagine a world absent of marriage, capitalism and religion. For many of us these are the reliable struts that keep us upright and brace us when our world is akilter. But try as we might to hold firm to our ways the turn and churn of it all leaves us spinning. True innovation is born out in the very places where there is no solid ground.

Perhaps we should start with perfunctory look at some facts that suggest such an outrageous teaser: