by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Whenever I come across polling suggesting that young people mistrust capitalism, I tend to doubt that it means they want to give up their iPhones, their Starbucks, and their Spotify. I think that what they’re actually saying is: I don’t like working.
This astonishing trend piece from the young-adult site Vox, which says a popular new catchphrase is, “I don’t have a dream job because I don’t dream of labor,” looks at amazingly entitled young people on social media who quit jobs (such as at Amazon) whining about the “toxic work environment” and are simply refusing to toil. I did not know that was an option. No previous generation thought that was an option. How do these youngsters intend to pay for their avocado-toast habit? Some highlights from TikTok users and other young folks:
“I don’t have goals. I don’t have ambition. I only want to be attractive.”
“Life is about so much more than working yourself to death. I don’t want to keep working 40 hours a week, coming home only to have four hours a night to spend with my kids and boyfriend, and do it all again the next day.”
“I don’t want to be a girlboss. I don’t want to hustle. I simply want to live my life slowly and lay [sic] down in a bed of moss with my lover and enjoy the rest of my existence reading books, creating art, and loving myself and the people in my life.”
Workforce participation is still at an anemic 62.4 percent. Not counting the early months of the pandemic, that’s the lowest it has been since the late 1970s, when many moms typically did not work outside the home. The only good news in the piece is that a 21-year-old notes, “Most people my age don’t have a clear idea of what a union is and don’t often ask about it when we’re hired.” Hurrah.