Is the covenant of generations broken? The dangers of having a poor young man

“We are heading towards a Peter Pan society in the worst sense.” It is an observation by the political scientist Pablo Simón that summarizes the difficulties faced by young people in Spain to free themselves and realize an independent life project.

The so-called “generational pact” – a concept coined by Simon for years to refer to the social consensus that ensures the sustainability of the welfare state – appears to be on a tightrope. As evidenced by the video report on these lines, many young people believe that the political class does not care about them or propose measures to improve their economic situation. it’s the truth?

Thesis of the economist José Ignacio Conde-Ruiz, author of the book “Stolen Youth”, is that yes. As the population ages, people under 35 are an increasingly less attractive minority electorally, discouraging political parties from legislating with their needs in mind. Conde-Ruiz gives public spending in Spain as an example: more than half is allocated to items for people over 65 years of age.

Former deputies of the Congress and Parliament of Catalonia, Marta Rusek (left) and Dolores Montserrat (right) during the conversation at La Vanguardia.


Another reflection of this disconnect between youth and politics is their lower participation in elections. Polls show that those between the ages of 18 and 30 abstain about 15 to 20 points more often than adults, especially compared to retirees. This means that the older you are, the more likely you are to vote in an election. But this is not new. Political scientists call it the “life-cycle effect”: it is only after a person has fully developed his personality that he begins to understand institutional politics and its effects.

If we look at the young people who go to the polls, they tend to vote for new parties. In Spain, that was translated to Ciudadanos and Podemos at the time and now to Vox. In Europe they also lean toward green or far-right parties. Simon points out a pattern: “What these two types of parties have in common is that they are attuned to pessimism, with the idea that we are heading for disaster, that there is no future.”

So, are we heading towards a generational conflict over which group should allocate more resources? What consequences can the rupture of the generational pact bring?

The video report that heads this article attempts to answer this and other questions of experts, politicians, youth and the elderly with different visions.

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