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mo

yes and no. Yes she's ridiculous, but no, young 20 somethings do have it harder than their parents(economically at least). The disparity between young and old workers is also getting worse.
I make roughly $30k a year(with degrees in computer science and political science) in Washington, DC. I can either put 2/3 of my salary into a 150 square foot studio, or pile in with 11 of my closest friends into a 4 bedroom house. The previous generation was already onto their second kid by the time they entered their mid-twenties--I'm still struggling to put ramen on the table for myself. Fortunately, my parents took care of my undergrad education, but my friends with loans are farked. I know people that are living with significant others simply because they can't afford to live separately. http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_snapshots_20060524

carlo

but no, young 20 somethings do have it harder than their parents(economically at least).

You're missing an important distinction -- that the choices many people in their 20s make create the appearance their lives are "harder" than previous generations.

Choices like moving to places with high costs of living, or choices about what constitutes an acceptable lifestyle.

Also, using procreation as a measure of economic health is also quite odd.

Dennis Chan

Kamenetz is a total, total whiner. Each generation has its own unique problems. If she thinks her generation has it rough, try telling that to the greatest generation; you know, the generation that lived through a great depression and risked their lives to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Oh, by the way, after they saved the world from tyranny, they built America into the greatest country on earth. Or even my generation, I immigrated to the US in 1979 with no money, couldn't speak a word of English and faced an alien culture. Compare to that, they have it easy. Yes, it is a little bit more difficult than their parents who maybe the most spoiled generation in America. All they have to do is to swallow their prides and move back to live with their parents until they accumulate enough savings to buy their own houses.

jb

this generation is so spoiled and so ridiculous that i worry about this country's future... they grow up playing on their iPods , computers , and GameBox's , and we should feel bad for them that their "entitledments" aren't there after they leave college... they're soft

Patrick

I think she's a genius.

After all, if you invent your own " new oppressed class" then you can't have anything you say or believe disproved by any unfortunate encounters with reality.

Mind you, I seem to remember exactly the same complaints from when I was in my 20s back in the mid 1990s. Probably you could dig up similar reports from the 80s, 70s, 60s...1830s....Aristotle...

wcw

"..and they drive their chariots too fast." (elder carping purportedly found on a clay tablet of Hammurabi's vintage)

That said, AK is so lame, you and the otherwise-sainted Mr. Gross have made the grave error of paying attention. When faced with utter lameness, I learned by weekly encountering the self-centered scribblings of Gina Arnold back in the day, you have to pretend it didn't happen.

If you respond, the lame writer's employers will think, "aha! we are employing someone who arouses a response," and she will not be fired.

The best way to get a writer fired is to ignore her.

FD: I lived like a Bohemian at 26, and I'm paying for it with a checkered career path at 35. I went in with eyes open and regret nothing. I would like a nice sinecure, mind you, but on Monday I fly off for another painful consulting gig. Such is life.

Bary G

I can't tell you how many friends and youth I have seen turn into angry depressed people who feel they are entitled to something other then freedom, and they all quote their newspaper of choice: The New York Times. Its my theory that the Times and similar school of thought are destructive because it makes people think that someone else should make their plan when reality is that we live in a society which not only rewards the individual but requires it. It also explains why so many times readers stay small or poor, because if the times helped them move up, then it would lose it readership, that would explain why the worst economist ever (paul krugman(and they have the balls to charge to read his non-sense online)) still writes for the times.

mike

Hi, I'm new to the Stalwart, and I don't know the first thing about Anya Kamenetz. However, based on the texts you cite, I find your analysis to be rather poor. For example, this paragraph almost entirely misinterprets her text:

"Said assaults on logic come fast and furious. Somehow, in her world, there's a relationship between an internship spot at a labor union and the fact that there aren't many young people who are actually in unionized careers. Please leave a comment if that makes sense to you. Then she makes up some data about the "yearly contribution to the welfare of corporate America", which so far as I can tell is an entirely meaningless phrase. What she's crafted is a crude back-of-the-envelope guess for how much interns make in a year. So we're left wondering what that means. I'll spare you any more, though elsewhere she compares interns to illegal immigrants, which means she's probably been watching too much Lou Dobbs. She also claims that by working for free, workers convince themselves that they love their jobs."

1) She isn't talking about internship in labor unions (??), she merely quotes her source for internship statistics, or rather for the non-existence of those: the Bureau of Labor Statistics. No relation to unions whatsoever.

2) I don't find "yearly contribution to the welfare of corporate America" to be a completely meaningless phrase. Here's how I understand it: companies offer internship positions at no wages, so when qualified people accept working for free, it's as if they were providing welfare to companies. What's so obscure about the phrase?

3) You're left wondering what that means? It sounds to me like you're not thinking very hard then. She says, pretty clearly, that the practice of hiring qualified people for unpaid internships, is not cool.

To quote you, "I'll spare you anymore".

Best,
Mike

ima potato

to mike, above: if as you say immediately you don't know the first thing about anya kamenentz, but are new to the stalwart, than (a) why did you come to the stalwart and (b) why did you come apparenty to defend anya kamenentz?

mike

Dear ima_potato,

(a) I read a piece called Journalism is Broken (over at http://c-lo.net/?p=133) and there was a reference to the Stalwart, I quote, "two untrained writers, but two highly intelligent guys with great thoughts on business and economics". So I thought I'd give it a shot.

(b) The Anya Kamenetz text happened to be the article on display that day. I read it, and found the analysis to be lacking. Obviously the author did not get the meaning of her text, so I thought I'd help him out.

carlo

Mike,

"Although it's not being offered this year, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s Union Summer internship program, which provides a small stipend, has shaped thousands of college-educated career organizers."

Last time I checked, the AFL-CIO was a labor union. And a pretty big one at that.

"She says, pretty clearly, that the practice of hiring qualified people for unpaid internships, is not cool."

And you say The Stalwart's "analysis is lacking"?

mike

*cough*

yup. guess i was tired. my apologies

Geoff Wickersham

Putting AK's comments/whining into a little more perspective, hadn't the Baby Boomers whined about being misunderstood and hassled when they were younger? Weren't the wealthier college kids the ones who avoided the Vietnam War draft and led the anti-war protests on the college campuses? These children of privilege were fighting against a war they would never die in, and when it was all over, most went on with their lives and made money in the system they so bitterly fought against.

I've got AK's book from the library and have started to read it. I think she would have done a better job if she could have linked some of the bad economic factors, like McJobs, to a nationwide trend - outsourcing millions of manufacturing and white collar jobs to Asia being one of those nationwide trends. That way, the book wouldn't have such a narrow focus. Or, to get a broader picture of this generation, she shouldn't have limited her scope to the upper-middle class. It wouldn't have hurt to talk the middle and lower-middle class folks who also have issues w/ credit cards, student loans, and what not.

Here on Stalwart.com, you make a good point about choices. People in Gen X (born 1961-1981) and the Millenials (born after 1981) have made terrible choices with credit cards that put them deeper in debt. Also, people have made the poor choice to live in trendy neighborhoods and then lament the fact that they can't afford to live there w/o sharing an apartment with five friends splitting a $1,200 rent payment.

Hell, that sounded like college for me back in 1989-90 - paying $200 to share a room and live on mac and cheese and Crunchberries. Plus, I applied for credit cards up the wazoo. I was $7,000 in debt before I got married. Thank God for my wife! She helped me get rid off all that stuff, including $3,000 worth of loans. Plus, I finally got a decent paying job once the recession finally wore off in Michigan.

Daniel Gross in Slate also does a fine job of putting her comments into perspective. When you're in your 20s, life is tough. When you get to your 30s, things will turn around. Your dream job might be ten years away. I didn't get my dream job until I was 29. All within 5 months of turning 29, I became a father, got my Masters, and got a job teaching social studies in a great public school. So, it does get better, but it hard to be patient, especially for a generation raised on instant gratification.

I'll bet that the internship editorial is probably one that she wishes she could take back.

Peace,
Geoff

George

You totally miss the boat. She's not trying to guesstimate how much interns make - there's no need to do that. UNPAID INTERNS MAKE $0. What she's trying to estimate is how much labor corporate America gets for free by using the false promise of a paid position waiting at the end of an internship.

As a 20-something who worked 2 unpaid internships, I'll speak up in her support. Companies are circumventing minimum wage laws and we need to teach students that their work has value. It's degrading to anyone to work an unpaid internship, and it hurts the job prospects of everyone.

And, no, I don't have a philosophy/art/music or other nebulous degree. I'm a copywriter and I worked hard nosed advertising internships.

Financial Spread Betting

That debt has now come back to haunt us. All my friends have debt and struggle from one pay check to the next. I am glad I haven't got any.

jtgwdtt

Dear Stalwart: Regarding the original post, Ms. Kamanets may or may not have been entirely right, but it now appears you were mostly wrong, and that you compounded your errors by embedding them in a class-based ad hominem attack.

I am reading Ms. Kamanets's new book ("DIY-U" etc.), and finding it to be thoughtful, thought-provoking, and well-documented. -jtgwdtt

Anya kamenetz

Hey, now that we're friends and all, maybe you could go back and amend this blog post? it's still reeely high in my Google results.
kthxbai
Anya

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Since graduating from Yale University in 2002, Anya has lived in Manhattan and freelanced as a fact-checker, copy editor, research assistant, and writer.

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Anya has lived in Manhattan and freelanced as a fact-checker, copy editor, research assistant, and writer.

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Life finds its wealth by the claims of the world, and its worth by the claims of love.

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Hi! I know how you feel when using the term gemeration debt I want to say that in a way I also come from the same generation! It is a period of our lives that we must enjoy in spite of everything.

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Time is my property, my Tian Mu is time. ____ Goethe Abandoned people today, not tomorrow; and, yesterday, but to go to water. - John Locke

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  • The Stalwart is a blog written by Joseph Weisenthal, covering such topics as stocks, business, economics, politics, technology, gambling, chess, poker, economics, current events, music, math, Chinese food, science, randomness, kurtosis, sports, evolutionary fitness, and anything else of the author's choosing. The words contained herein are the author's own, not affiliated with any other firm or employer.

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