It’s trendy to talk about a growing altruism among the younger generation, one less interested in so called “capitalistic” principles of “profit-maximization.” This is certainly one way to talk about generational changes, but I think it misses out on an interesting phenomena – not the reduction of ‘profit-maximization,’ but who is included in the “we” of the profit. It seems to me, that in the most capitalist societies, “we” rarely = the individual, but the individual’s family. I think that the “we” has been steadily expanding – not just towards national collectives, but global collectives, even non-human collectives (ie the environment as part of “we”). To characterize the current generation as one that is living more for ideals I think is to underestimate the idealism of previous generations – their altruism were directed towards families. (Think of the way a working parent might dream of a better future for their children – that sounds less like the cold individualistic capitalism doesn’t it?). That we are more able to conceive of broader and broader “we-s,” might have much less to do with a growing altruism, and more to do with a greater technological capacity to imagine who “we” are.


~ by moz on August 6, 2015.

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