"No generation has ever been more prepared." "Today's children have everything they want." "Life has been very simple for them." "They don't really know what things cost." "They were lucky to be born in a welfare state".
These, among others, are the most common phrases that socially define the generation born between the 80s and 90s. A generation that grew up during a decade of prosperity and global economic expansion, a time when the world was globalized: the scene of the Cold War is over and the US and its liberal model spread throughout the world through the already mentioned globalization process.
With this, the companies grew, they grew a lot, the multinational companies, a very common word today, but that raised a great question among the population of that time: Were companies going to have more power than the States? Were the economies of the countries going to depend on their companies? Was the market going to liberalize state-owned companies?
These questions were answered little by little and the economic model changed until it became what we know today as neoliberalism. A market that "regulates itself", a model far from state intervention, a model where companies can manufacturing in an underdeveloped part of the world taking advantage of low wages and working conditions in third world countries and doing business in the most expensive cities in the world while are taxed in any of the many tax havens created just for them.
In addition, then came the real estate bomb and with it speculation. All banks wanted to build, buy and sell houses, mortgages were the order of the day and even a couple could have 2 and 3 mortgages, nothing happened, since "House prices will never go down ..."
Following the path of the great world power of the moment and his example as a means to achieve economic prosperity, the american way of life it spread to the whole world along with its most representative brands and a society in which consumption is at the center of our daily lives, advertising is continually hollowing out our brains and life is getting faster and faster.
This excessive consumerism has caused a excessive overproductionToday we see how many products are thrown away without being purchased or even without entering the sales chain. A neoliberal market in which overproduction lowers costs and in which the industrial relocation in favor of the developing countries has reduced many of the European and American industrial regions and that little by little have been displacing our economies towards the tertiary sector.
With all this and in the middle of a globalized world we cannot stop talking about a concept mentioned above: speculation. The great weapon of the free market. And is that the great real estate boom was the first great crisis of our time (that of the 80s is not in our memory). Our parents and grandparents lost many of their savings, had to sell real estate below the price they paid, and many of them went bankrupt or lost their jobs. All because of speculation, something that an ordinary person was easy to understand, there was a general mantra in our society "The price of houses will always go up"So it was not so difficult to understand that it did not matter how much you would pay for your house if in several years it would cost more, "obviously" it was a good investment. Not to trust, when all the "experts" encouraged us to invest, when institutions such as the Bank of Spain, the IMF or the EU never warned of this.
With all this and in addition to experiencing this economic situation, at the beginning of the century we experienced a tragic attack that will always be marked in our retinas, the attacks of 11/XNUMX also changed the world and they obviously made it worse.
What started with Bin Laden and George Bush Jr., today, almost 20 years later, we continue to suffer the consequences: a world in which no city is free from terrorist attacks and successive wars in the Middle East since 2001. This has also caused several international crises as well as a world scene in which many countries have been involved in savage wars.
The wars (all of them with the USA as the main actor) caused another great crisis of the many that we have had to live, the refugee crisis. Again here, again Europe and again those who "rule" the world have again disappointed. After wars like the one in Libya, Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, millions of people fled the bombings looking for peace, looking for tranquility, looking for a future for their familiesfutures that were truncated in the “Mediterranean cemetery”, In the refugee camps (many of them more similar to concentration camps) and which has also caused - far-right propaganda through - that many countries see, with more xenophobia than ever, a problem in welcoming those fleeing the war, just as if our most recent memory had been erased.
Not only has it been a tragedy in the number of human lives that have been lost, but this situation has caused a political turn towards the worst stage of our time: racism and xenophobia have embedded their theories and prejudices in our society and are taking large shares of votes in our democracies. Unemployment and the precariousness of working conditions that this neoliberal economic model has caused a perfect breeding ground for speeches and far-right parties to return to the European limelight (despite the fact that their economic policies are ultra-liberal).
With all this and as if that were not enough, we also face what many call the Great crisis of our lives, or the biggest challenge that human beings face: the climate change crisis. We have talked a lot on this blog on climate change so I won't dwell too long. The truth is this great climate crisis is also due to consumerism, and ultimately to savage capitalism, an economic model that "has given us" another and perhaps the most important of our already mentioned crises.
Last but not least, we are facing a pandemic crisis, a health crisis, that of the coronavirus COVID-19, a virus that has the entire world in an unimaginable situation just a few months ago.
A crisis that is teaching us what is truly important in a country, its people, its workers, and in this case, its hospitals and how essential some professions are that the market, the system and ultimately society have taken care of.
Hospitals, something that any human being will need at some point in their life, one of the great principles of the Welfare State we have also turned them into a business, a big business, in which efficiency and profitability prevail on the security of having a health system prepared for major catastrophes, wars, pandemics or any event that requires a large deployment of means. We are facing health systems in which beds are lacking, personnel are lacking and means are lacking, or what is the same, budget is lacking.
My generation, the most affluent, the most prepared and probably the one that faces the most important challenges in the history of humanity, has already experienced many crises of different kinds, we have overcome, we have created and used tools for it and we have adapted to the new times.
Companies, organizations, movements, associations, political parties ... We do not give up trying to improve this society that has come to us. A society in which we only looked at the great and great economic and welfare level in which we found ourselves without thinking that everything was part of a bubble, without thinking that our surroundings were burning, that our oceans and seas were poisoned and that our luxuries were part of the slavery of others.
Despite everything, I trust us, I trust our generation and I trust in the human being, we never had as much time to reflect as we do now.
When we return to "normal life" We can choose whether to continue with the same lifestyle, the same model, the same reflections, the same political interests or we are going to try to change what until now has only led us to one crisis after another.
If we have a lesson that can make us learn and improve many aspects of our life and our society, it is: individualism achieves nothing. Thinking only of you is not the solution. Big problems need collective solutions, united we will always be stronger and we are capable of overcoming anything.