Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

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Painboy
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Painboy » 22 May 2017, 13:24

Jennifer wrote:
Painboy wrote: Life requires sacrifice. You can't do it all.
Not that I can speak for today's Millennials, but it's possible they'd be happy (or less-unhappy) to at least hear people admit "You can't do it all," rather than cling to the belief "You should be able to do it all, and the fact that you haven't proves you're failing -- why, when your father and I were your age we already owned our first house and supported you and your siblings, yet here you are still single without so much as a girlfriend and you're sharing an apartment with roommates and blah blah blah why aren't you hitting those adult milestones? What's wrong with you?"
I apparently did a poor job of making my point. So to clarify my life is really easy right now. That's the problem.

It's very easy in this time to slip into comfortable things and lose yourself in the moment. Video games, books, shows, sports, drugs, internet, whatever you like to do is there in easy reach. Keeping long term goals in mind and working toward them can be difficult given the distractions. In order to keep me focused I sacrifice many of these things. That should not imply that I'm worse off or the environment is more difficult than our fore bearers. Just the opposite. There is so much to do, and so inexpensively, that the challenge is more what should I spend my time on since I can't possibly do it all within my lifetime.

So when I say "sacrifice" I am talking about the decision between competing enjoyments. With so many short term delights at hand anything that takes a lot of work over a period of time seems like a slog. The reward not worth it. All that time and effort could have gone to lots of immediate short term fun instead. This is what I see with many Millennials and their view of the world. They don't want to make even the smallest sacrifice of their time for a reward too far away to see, and probably not worth it anyway, when they could otherwise indulge themselves with fun stuff.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 22 May 2017, 15:45

Painboy wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
Painboy wrote: Life requires sacrifice. You can't do it all.
Not that I can speak for today's Millennials, but it's possible they'd be happy (or less-unhappy) to at least hear people admit "You can't do it all," rather than cling to the belief "You should be able to do it all, and the fact that you haven't proves you're failing -- why, when your father and I were your age we already owned our first house and supported you and your siblings, yet here you are still single without so much as a girlfriend and you're sharing an apartment with roommates and blah blah blah why aren't you hitting those adult milestones? What's wrong with you?"
I apparently did a poor job of making my point. So to clarify my life is really easy right now. That's the problem.

It's very easy in this time to slip into comfortable things and lose yourself in the moment. Video games, books, shows, sports, drugs, internet, whatever you like to do is there in easy reach. Keeping long term goals in mind and working toward them can be difficult given the distractions. In order to keep me focused I sacrifice many of these things. That should not imply that I'm worse off or the environment is more difficult than our fore bearers. Just the opposite. There is so much to do, and so inexpensively, that the challenge is more what should I spend my time on since I can't possibly do it all within my lifetime.

So when I say "sacrifice" I am talking about the decision between competing enjoyments. With so many short term delights at hand anything that takes a lot of work over a period of time seems like a slog. The reward not worth it. All that time and effort could have gone to lots of immediate short term fun instead. This is what I see with many Millennials and their view of the world. They don't want to make even the smallest sacrifice of their time for a reward too far away to see, and probably not worth it anyway, when they could otherwise indulge themselves with fun stuff.
I've seen versions of that argument before, certainly -- "The reason Millennials overall are not reaching the same milestones as their parents or grandparents did is because today's Millennials have too many fun-n-easy distractions" (as opposed to "Because something has made reaching those milestones more difficult for MIllennials than it was for previous generations") -- but I don't buy it, because similar things could've been said about pre-Millennial generations as well: every generation of young adults for the past century or more has enjoyed more and better fun-n-entertainment options than their parents did at the same age, yet those generations managed to meet or succeed their parents' milestones. Nobody said "Of course the Baby Boomers aren't doing as well as their parents; they've got it too easy. And they have too many entertainment options as well. They grew up with TV, they've got their cheap mass-produced music and all. Why should they work at a career when they can sit home and watch glorious full-color television, listen to high-quality stereo sound on the radio, or buy popular books for far less money than their parents would've paid to amass a home library? Not to mention all the drugs they keep doing. Why save to buy a house when they can buy admission tickets to that super-fun amusement park? Too many short-term distractions to keep one from saving for the long term."

Yet previous generations, despite having more fun options and more distraction opportunities than their parents did, still managed to meet or surpass their parents' milestones.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Painboy » 22 May 2017, 16:16

Jennifer wrote:
Painboy wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
Painboy wrote: Life requires sacrifice. You can't do it all.
Not that I can speak for today's Millennials, but it's possible they'd be happy (or less-unhappy) to at least hear people admit "You can't do it all," rather than cling to the belief "You should be able to do it all, and the fact that you haven't proves you're failing -- why, when your father and I were your age we already owned our first house and supported you and your siblings, yet here you are still single without so much as a girlfriend and you're sharing an apartment with roommates and blah blah blah why aren't you hitting those adult milestones? What's wrong with you?"
I apparently did a poor job of making my point. So to clarify my life is really easy right now. That's the problem.

It's very easy in this time to slip into comfortable things and lose yourself in the moment. Video games, books, shows, sports, drugs, internet, whatever you like to do is there in easy reach. Keeping long term goals in mind and working toward them can be difficult given the distractions. In order to keep me focused I sacrifice many of these things. That should not imply that I'm worse off or the environment is more difficult than our fore bearers. Just the opposite. There is so much to do, and so inexpensively, that the challenge is more what should I spend my time on since I can't possibly do it all within my lifetime.

So when I say "sacrifice" I am talking about the decision between competing enjoyments. With so many short term delights at hand anything that takes a lot of work over a period of time seems like a slog. The reward not worth it. All that time and effort could have gone to lots of immediate short term fun instead. This is what I see with many Millennials and their view of the world. They don't want to make even the smallest sacrifice of their time for a reward too far away to see, and probably not worth it anyway, when they could otherwise indulge themselves with fun stuff.
I've seen versions of that argument before, certainly -- "The reason Millennials overall are not reaching the same milestones as their parents or grandparents did is because today's Millennials have too many fun-n-easy distractions" (as opposed to "Because something has made reaching those milestones more difficult for MIllennials than it was for previous generations") -- but I don't buy it, because similar things could've been said about pre-Millennial generations as well: every generation of young adults for the past century or more has enjoyed more and better fun-n-entertainment options than their parents did at the same age, yet those generations managed to meet or succeed their parents' milestones. No "Of course the Baby Boomers aren't doing as well as their parents; they've got it too easy. And they have too many entertainment options as well. They grew up with TV, they've got their cheap mass-produced music and all. Why should they work at a career when they can sit home and watch glorious full-color television, listen to high-quality stereo sound on the radio, or buy popular books for far less money than their parents would've paid to amass a home library? Not to mention all the drugs they keep doing. Why save to buy a house when they can buy admission tickets to that super-fun amusement park? Too many short-term distractions to keep one from saving for the long term."

Yet previous generations, despite having more fun options and more distraction opportunities than their parents did, still managed to meet or surpass their parents' milestones.
You are acting as if milestones mean anything to anyone anymore.

One of the more positive aspects of the Millennials is that many seem to possess almost no shame. They freely talk about stuff in public that no one that I grew up with would. Things like Nerd stopped being a bad word when they grew up. So if they don't own a home or have some oddball living arrangement it's not a big deal to them. It's likely their choice they are there.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 22 May 2017, 16:30

You are acting as if milestones mean anything to anyone anymore.
It means something to those people who aren't meeting them and feel bad about it. Remember: the trend stories are not "Millennials aren't buying houses because they plain don't want to," but "they're not buying houses because they can't. So let's figure out why: is it because home-buying has become inherently more difficult, or because today's Millennials are being more wasteful than their forebears?"
One of the more positive aspects of the Millennials is that many seem to possess almost no shame. They freely talk about stuff in public that no one that I grew up with would. Things like Nerd stopped being a bad word when they grew up.
Again, this is a continuation of something that happened before. Gen X (for the most part) grew up in a society that accepted integration and opposed racism more than their forebears -- the early Sesame Street generation, who grew up watching multiracial multiethnic casts on TV shows, compared to the [mostly] lily-white TV of the Baby Boomers -- yes, it is good that society for the most part is abandoning the various bigotries of the previous generation. In the 1950s, married couples on TV wouldn't even sleep in the same bed, whereas by the 70s such an idea was laughably old-fashioned -- Mike and Carol Brady shared a bed, rather than sleep in the twin beds of Lucy and Desi 20 years before. (Though the Brady kids still had to grow up in a house without toilets.)

IOW, in addition to "every generation for the past century has more fun and distraction opportunities than the previous one," it's also true that "every generation of the past century has been free of certain hangups their parents had." All well and good, but this doesn't change the fact that certain financial milestones of previous generations are not being reached by today's, which brings us back to "Is it because today's generation is inherently different, or because something about the obstacles today's generation must overcome are different?" And I, of course, continue to say it's most likely the latter. Millennials have lower average wages and higher average housing costs and educational debts than their parents or grandparents did at the same age -- that alone does a pretty good job of explaining why their financial situations are more precarious, without blaming it on Young Adults These Days lacking the self-control or deferred gratification skills presumably enjoyed by young adults of the hippie/Woodstock era or the disco-drenched Me Decade or whatever.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 22 May 2017, 16:40

My local group of avotoasters definitely feels ... something. Some kind of expectation to grow up and start adulting and whatnot. It's more like it's been deferred for 7+ years past what most people in my age cohort would have been comfortable with. Like - there's no way I was moving back home. The moving away from home is not in itself as problematic to defer 7 years as is the set of life decisions that go along with that - for those 7 years I can work at a bar or whatever but in the meantime I'm not building resume. The static state absent the need to fully fund your own situation is kind of cushy.

The local people are all settling in now and there's a spate of moving out and all - but these guys are now 30 and just getting started in real job real life real adulting.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by nicole » 22 May 2017, 16:40

Painboy wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
Painboy wrote: Life requires sacrifice. You can't do it all.
Not that I can speak for today's Millennials, but it's possible they'd be happy (or less-unhappy) to at least hear people admit "You can't do it all," rather than cling to the belief "You should be able to do it all, and the fact that you haven't proves you're failing -- why, when your father and I were your age we already owned our first house and supported you and your siblings, yet here you are still single without so much as a girlfriend and you're sharing an apartment with roommates and blah blah blah why aren't you hitting those adult milestones? What's wrong with you?"
I apparently did a poor job of making my point. So to clarify my life is really easy right now. That's the problem.

It's very easy in this time to slip into comfortable things and lose yourself in the moment. Video games, books, shows, sports, drugs, internet, whatever you like to do is there in easy reach. Keeping long term goals in mind and working toward them can be difficult given the distractions. In order to keep me focused I sacrifice many of these things. That should not imply that I'm worse off or the environment is more difficult than our fore bearers. Just the opposite. There is so much to do, and so inexpensively, that the challenge is more what should I spend my time on since I can't possibly do it all within my lifetime.

So when I say "sacrifice" I am talking about the decision between competing enjoyments. With so many short term delights at hand anything that takes a lot of work over a period of time seems like a slog. The reward not worth it. All that time and effort could have gone to lots of immediate short term fun instead. This is what I see with many Millennials and their view of the world. They don't want to make even the smallest sacrifice of their time for a reward too far away to see, and probably not worth it anyway, when they could otherwise indulge themselves with fun stuff.
I'm just confused about why what you describe is anything other than a good thing. They are having fun instead of suffering. Is it just that you think they will suffer more later? Or that you think they will just fail to live up to their potential or something?
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 22 May 2017, 16:42

For my part it's that you can't have it both ways - you can't say you have unique income and milestone attainment challenges when you have unique preferences for leisure at career formation stages. You can live any life you want, but you start going full Sanders on me we have a problem.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 22 May 2017, 16:49

JasonL wrote:For my part it's that you can't have it both ways - you can't say you have unique income and milestone attainment challenges when you have unique preferences for leisure at career formation stages. You can live any life you want, but you start going full Sanders on me we have a problem.
Again, suggesting that something is inherently different/harder about the financial challenges faced by today's young adults is not synonymous with "going full Sanders." (And admitting to problems and tweaking them as necessary, rather than denying them outright, is likely the best way to avoid going full Sanders.)

The fact that today's 20-somethings like having fun, and have fun-options their parents lacked at the same age, is not unique; it's been the standard for at least a century. Young people like to have fun, often in ways which makes the oldsters shake their heads in disapproval all the way back to the time of Socrates.

Jason, I'm not sure what specific argument you're making here, because it seems you've made conflicting arguments at different times -- is modern technology the reason Millennials aren't buying houses and meeting other milestones (e.g. "They could buy a house, if they didn't piss their money away on smartphones and Netflix subscriptions"), or is it merely the reason they shouldn't complain about not meeting these milestones (e.g. "Too bad they can't afford a house, but at least they have Netflix and smartphones, so they shouldn't complain about being worse off than their parents and grandparents?")
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Painboy » 22 May 2017, 16:54

Jennifer wrote: Millennials have lower average wages and higher average housing costs and educational debts than their parents or grandparents did at the same age -- that alone does a pretty good job of explaining why their financial situations are more precarious, without blaming it on Young Adults These Days lacking the self-control or deferred gratification skills presumably enjoyed by young adults of the hippie/Woodstock era or the disco-drenched Me Decade or whatever.
But they have more wealth to deal with all of that and stuff is so cheap. You act as if they are starving in the streets, living in nothing but halfway houses. If they earn lower wages it's likely they made decisions that put them in that position. Many of them just don't care about the financial concerns the way earlier generations did. Not having a house with a mortgage isn't necessarily something that they want or measure themselves by.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 22 May 2017, 17:00

Painboy wrote:
Jennifer wrote: Millennials have lower average wages and higher average housing costs and educational debts than their parents or grandparents did at the same age -- that alone does a pretty good job of explaining why their financial situations are more precarious, without blaming it on Young Adults These Days lacking the self-control or deferred gratification skills presumably enjoyed by young adults of the hippie/Woodstock era or the disco-drenched Me Decade or whatever.
But they have more wealth to deal with all of that and stuff is so cheap. You act as if they are starving in the streets, living in nothing but halfway houses.
No, I act as though they're either living with their parents, or sharing apartments with roommates, long past the age where previous generations were living independently or owning homes. Which is also what the "Millennial trend" stories are saying.
If they earn lower wages it's likely they made decisions that put them in that position.
Again -- the entire generation has lower average wages than previous generations did; you're saying it's because the entire generation made poorer decisions, rather than considering that perhaps average wages in general are lower for this generation? Do you also believe that's why this generation has higher average educational debt -- not because the average cost of education has gone up, but because an entire generation of young adults chose to pursue costlier options than their parents and grandparents did? (FWIW, my Gen X self went to Cheap State U at in-state rates for four consecutive years in the 1990s. I did not choose to have my senior-year tuition be 70 percent higher than freshman year; that's just what the price tag said.)
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Painboy » 22 May 2017, 17:02

nicole wrote:
Painboy wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
Painboy wrote: Life requires sacrifice. You can't do it all.
Not that I can speak for today's Millennials, but it's possible they'd be happy (or less-unhappy) to at least hear people admit "You can't do it all," rather than cling to the belief "You should be able to do it all, and the fact that you haven't proves you're failing -- why, when your father and I were your age we already owned our first house and supported you and your siblings, yet here you are still single without so much as a girlfriend and you're sharing an apartment with roommates and blah blah blah why aren't you hitting those adult milestones? What's wrong with you?"
I apparently did a poor job of making my point. So to clarify my life is really easy right now. That's the problem.

It's very easy in this time to slip into comfortable things and lose yourself in the moment. Video games, books, shows, sports, drugs, internet, whatever you like to do is there in easy reach. Keeping long term goals in mind and working toward them can be difficult given the distractions. In order to keep me focused I sacrifice many of these things. That should not imply that I'm worse off or the environment is more difficult than our fore bearers. Just the opposite. There is so much to do, and so inexpensively, that the challenge is more what should I spend my time on since I can't possibly do it all within my lifetime.

So when I say "sacrifice" I am talking about the decision between competing enjoyments. With so many short term delights at hand anything that takes a lot of work over a period of time seems like a slog. The reward not worth it. All that time and effort could have gone to lots of immediate short term fun instead. This is what I see with many Millennials and their view of the world. They don't want to make even the smallest sacrifice of their time for a reward too far away to see, and probably not worth it anyway, when they could otherwise indulge themselves with fun stuff.
I'm just confused about why what you describe is anything other than a good thing. They are having fun instead of suffering. Is it just that you think they will suffer more later? Or that you think they will just fail to live up to their potential or something?
I think it's mostly good in the sense they are able to do what they want to. Where it can bite them in the ass is when they may be denied opportunities later in life for taking the easy instead of the hard, or at the very least heavily procrastinating the hard. If they are still happy with the way things are at a latter age that's great. But there is a point in life where you wake up one day and realize the majority of life is now behind you instead of in front of you. By that point it might be too late to make changes if they wanted something more with their life.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 22 May 2017, 17:10

Jason, I'm not sure what specific argument you're making here, because it seems you've made conflicting arguments at different times -- is modern technology the reason Millennials aren't buying houses and meeting other milestones (e.g. "They could buy a house, if they didn't piss their money away on smartphones and Netflix subscriptions"), or is it merely the reason they shouldn't complain about not meeting these milestones (e.g. "Too bad they can't afford a house, but at least they have Netflix and smartphones, so they shouldn't complain about being worse off than their parents and grandparents?")
You've never heard me say anything about Netflix and smartphones. What i've said is they can afford homes in some zip codes but not others, that they are less willing to take risks and take on the general suck of building a resume in a job that is not their dream job, and that they deferred both career building and household formation for nearly a decade where I'd have expected more like 5 years. I've also said that they are prone to marching in the streets for tax dollar transfers.

Speaking for educated people not the unskilled: On the income side you have to go to the places and careers where there is market demand and I don't care what you thought you'd be doing. The earlier you start that process the more accumulated skills and earnings power you will have when you hit a milestone like 30. If you don't hit those milestones but are only just a bit off okay thats probably the financial crisis keep plugging. If you are way off but you also haven't taken any material steps to get to a career that pays money, kind of STFU.

On the consumption side, they are way better off than their parents in terms of stuff they have access to at low price points, but you don't think that matters at all so there's no reason to talk about it.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Painboy » 22 May 2017, 17:14

Jennifer wrote: No, I act as though they're either living with their parents, or sharing apartments with roommates, long past the age where previous generations were living independently or owning homes. Which is also what the "Millennial trend" stories are saying.
And I'm telling you the ones I know I consciously make those decisions because they aren't driven by that motivation. They don't care they live in their parents house or with other people. If they did they would be trying to get better jobs to pay for it. Since they don't care about that stuff very much they're content enough where they are. Why mess with a good thing? Sure it would be nice have more but that would get in the way of fun time. Which is certainly a valid if unchallenging life choice.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 22 May 2017, 17:27

JasonL wrote:
Jason, I'm not sure what specific argument you're making here, because it seems you've made conflicting arguments at different times -- is modern technology the reason Millennials aren't buying houses and meeting other milestones (e.g. "They could buy a house, if they didn't piss their money away on smartphones and Netflix subscriptions"), or is it merely the reason they shouldn't complain about not meeting these milestones (e.g. "Too bad they can't afford a house, but at least they have Netflix and smartphones, so they shouldn't complain about being worse off than their parents and grandparents?")
You've never heard me say anything about Netflix and smartphones.
You haven't specifically mentioned Netflix, no, but in the past you have been very quick to claim that "Access to modern technology" trumps any complaints about previous generations having it better -- don't say you're worse off than our parents, when you have the Internet and they did not.
What i've said is they can afford homes in some zip codes but not others, that they are less willing to take risks and take on the general suck of building a resume in a job that is not their dream job,
Yes, the mythical (or possibly hyperbolic) "steak and blow jobs" gigs you claim they all demand. But you seem unwilling to consider that perhaps they're "less willing" to take risks because the risks are greater -- the risk of working a shitty job and thus living in a shitty apartment isn't as great as the risk of not being able to afford an apartment at all, even if you land a not-shitty job. Again, you're refusing to consider that maybe, just maybe, something about today's landscape genuinely is more difficult to navigate than the landscapes of days past, and I don't know why you're so extremely reluctant to consider this. Remember: saying "something about our system might need tweaking" is not synonymous with "Fuck capitalism; let's go full Sanders if not full Commie and turn into Venezuela."
I've also said that they are prone to marching in the streets for tax dollar transfers.
On this I will agree with you, though I disagree about the root cause: you seem to think it's because "Everything's fine but these folks are spoiled and want free goodies without having to pay for them," whereas I think it's because "Things are not fine compared to previous generations, and while I agree with their idea of the problem I do not agree with their proposed solution." (For example, I'll agree with them that housing costs are too damned high, but I prefer the solution "Build more housing, via ending the snob zoning and NIMBY laws which prevent this," as opposed to "Well, let's just increase housing subsidies or whatever." I agree with them that higher education is too damned expensive, but I'd say the way to fix this is to dismantle certain legal and regulatory things which MAKE education so expensive, rather than keep the legal/reg framework as is, and have the government shell out more tax dollars to cover inflated costs. Etc.)
Speaking for educated people not the unskilled: On the income side you have to go to the places and careers where there is market demand and I don't care what you thought you'd be doing.
Except that the places where the jobs are also tend to be the places where the housing costs are even higher. It's not enough to simply "have a job," you also need a job with a wage high enough to cover your living costs. (Not to mention, higher average educational debt makes one's cost of living even higher than it would be if one were at least debt-free.)
On the consumption side, they are way better off than their parents in terms of stuff they have access to at low price points, but you don't think that matters at all so there's no reason to talk about it.
I'm not saying "This stuff doesn't matter," merely "This doesn't matter as much as you think/pretend it does." It genuinely is great that TVs and microwave ovens can be had so cheaply compared to what past generations had to pay for such things (assuming they could have them at all), and it's awesome that the internet exists as it did not when I was a kid, but that alone isn't enough to compensate for other losses -- "Sucks that I can't afford a house, and sucks that my student debt is so high, but at least I have the Internet!"
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 22 May 2017, 17:29

Painboy wrote:
Jennifer wrote: No, I act as though they're either living with their parents, or sharing apartments with roommates, long past the age where previous generations were living independently or owning homes. Which is also what the "Millennial trend" stories are saying.
And I'm telling you the ones I know I consciously make those decisions because they aren't driven by that motivation. They don't care they live in their parents house or with other people. If they did they would be trying to get better jobs to pay for it. Since they don't care about that stuff very much they're content enough where they are. Why mess with a good thing? Sure it would be nice have more but that would get in the way of fun time. Which is certainly a valid if unchallenging life choice.
So those Millennial trend stories a la "We cant afford houses and we're annoyed by this" are false? When that Aussie millionaire last week sneered that "avocado toast" (as opposed to higher costs and lower wages) is the reason Millennials in his country aren't buying houses, you're saying the overwhelming Millennial response was "Damned straight! We're gladly spending our house money on avocados" rather than "You're nuts; look at the cost of an avocado compared to the cost of a house, and also look at the cost of a house compared to what we're actually making -- that's why we're not buying houses?"
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 22 May 2017, 17:43

You are wrong about there being a lack of places with low cost of living but high demand for skilled labor. Just wrong.

The more risk of moving out thing is incoherent. It's the same risks.

I've been very quick to point out that nearly all aspects of the consumption side are monstrously better and cheaper now and that's the most important part about your actual standard of living - what are the things you can consume and experience. Income helps but so do hedonic improvements and price reductions.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 22 May 2017, 17:51

JasonL wrote:The more risk of moving out thing is incoherent. It's the same risks.
No, it's not. (And I suspect that you're using "incoherent" as the new "hyperbole" -- a catch-all term meaning "I, Jason, disagree with Jennifer, but do not want to say why, so lemme just toss out this one word instead.") When average wages are lower and average housing costs are higher -- which is indeed the case for Millennials compared to previous generations -- that alone makes moving out harder and riskier. Add to that the higher average debt these people have (all else being equal, "starting out with nothing" is much easier than "starting out in the hole"), and that makes it even more difficult. This is a real phenomenon, no matter how determined you are to handwave it away.
I've been very quick to point out that nearly all aspects of the consumption side are monstrously better and cheaper now and that's the most important part about your actual standard of living - what are the things you can consume and experience. Income helps but so do hedonic improvements and price reductions.
And I've always been quick to agree with you that consumer goods are cheaper and better than they used to be. Those are an important aspect of standard of living, but not "the most important" part. Consumer goods to put in your house are cheaper, yes -- but if the house itself is a lot more expensive, then gains in one area are erased by losses in another. The complaint "I can't afford to buy a house" is very different from "I can't afford appliances to put in it."
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

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JasonL
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 22 May 2017, 17:54

It seems to be all about housing. I can point you to zip codes with large hiring employers where median home cost is almost half national average. Half. Move to Texas or near me or to cheaper zips in large metros.

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Jennifer
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 22 May 2017, 18:08

Personal anecdote: I moved out of my parents' house when I was arguably too immature and unprepared -- definitely, if my 19-year-old self had the same attitudes toward spending v. saving as I have now, combined with the same knowledge of how to cook, I'd be much better off today. But I did have one really big advantage back then: remember when I said I worked in strip clubs? Which actually were bikini bars -- I never could've danced nude. (I never did, for that matter; topless was as bare as I ever went.)

But here's the thing: when I started working in those southeastern Virginia bikini bars, the base pay they offered was almost five times the minimum wage at the time, in addition to whatever tips I could make. Minimum wage was three-something an hour, I was making four bucks an hour in a pizza place, and the help-wanted ad said something to the effect of "Dancers wanted; no nudity; no experience necessary; $15 an hour plus tips." It was very very difficult for me to gather up the courage to go there (I remember paying a couple of older-than-21 college-student male friends of mine to do reconnaissance in the club -- I paid their cover charge so they could go in, look around, tell me what it was like and if they thought I was pretty enough to compete with the dancers therein. They assured me I was, and that the dance "routines" were not practiced Vegas-style showgirl acts, but basically wriggling around while looking cute.)

Since then, I gather, the strip club market has become oversaturated -- instead of offering a high base pay, many of those clubs not only offer no pay at all, but expect the dancers to pay a fee in order to work there. If I were 19 today and living with my parents in southeastern Virginia, I don't know if I could do the same thing. Pay 50 bucks to try dancing in a club for one night? When I'm only making four dollars an hour at my shitty job?! From what I've seen, the inflation-adjusted cost of living is about the same in that area -- but college tuition even for a cheap state school is much higher, minimum wage in real dollars is much lower, and bikini-bar pay is not merely "lower" but "nonexistent."

I did indeed take a risk in moving out of my parents' house back in the day -- but, I say, the risk of "inexperienced teen trying to support myself and go to college while working for 5x minimum wage plus tips" is much lower than the risk of "trying to support myself while working for tips only and having to shell out money for the privilege." Would you, Jason, agree with me on this -- that the risk of a 19-year-old college student in SeVa trying to support herself in bikini bars today is greater than the risk I took at that age? Even though I know full well today's 19-year-olds have internet-connected smartphones and other technological things I lacked at that age. I lacked certain techno-things today's 19-year-old Virginia bikini-bar dancers take for granted, but I at least was guaranteed to make a much higher amount of money than they are now, even on "dead" nights where the tips were shitty.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by nicole » 22 May 2017, 18:08

Jennifer wrote:
Painboy wrote:
Jennifer wrote: No, I act as though they're either living with their parents, or sharing apartments with roommates, long past the age where previous generations were living independently or owning homes. Which is also what the "Millennial trend" stories are saying.
And I'm telling you the ones I know I consciously make those decisions because they aren't driven by that motivation. They don't care they live in their parents house or with other people. If they did they would be trying to get better jobs to pay for it. Since they don't care about that stuff very much they're content enough where they are. Why mess with a good thing? Sure it would be nice have more but that would get in the way of fun time. Which is certainly a valid if unchallenging life choice.
So those Millennial trend stories a la "We cant afford houses and we're annoyed by this" are false? When that Aussie millionaire last week sneered that "avocado toast" (as opposed to higher costs and lower wages) is the reason Millennials in his country aren't buying houses, you're saying the overwhelming Millennial response was "Damned straight! We're gladly spending our house money on avocados" rather than "You're nuts; look at the cost of an avocado compared to the cost of a house, and also look at the cost of a house compared to what we're actually making -- that's why we're not buying houses?"
I mean...most trend stories are of course false. But yes, I am skeptical of those in particular. I have no idea what the "facts" might be, but here are some from Nerdwallet:
FACTS ON MILLENNIALS AND HOMEBUYING

U.S. millennials total 66 million individuals and 24 million independent households [1].
The median age for first-time homebuyers has remained virtually unchanged for the past 40 years: In 2015 it was 31 years old, compared with 30.6 in 1970-74 [2].
Two-thirds of millennials haven’t reached that homebuying age of 31, and 22% are under 25 years old [3].
Millennials are renting for a median of six years before buying, compared with a median of five years for renters in 1980 [4].
Millennials are expected to form 20 million new households by 2025 [5].
The median income for a millennial older than 25 is $38,220 [6].
NEW HOMEOWNERSHIP IS DOWN AMONG ALL AGE GROUPS

As a percentage of all homebuyers, the number of first-time owners has fallen significantly since the Great Recession. The National Association of Realtors report Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, from March 2016, shows that first-time homeowners make up 32% of all buyers — compared with a historical average of 40%. That’s the lowest percentage since 1987 [7]. Meanwhile, the number of millennials living with their parents has increased nearly 15% from 2006 to 2013 [8].

Homeownership in general has declined across all age groups, as well. The U.S. homeownership rate was down for the 11th consecutive year in 2015 — from a peak of 69% in 2004 to 63.7% in 2015, the lowest level since 1994 [9].
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/mortgag ... omebuying/

Doesn't really support the idea millennials are outliers with respect to homeownership.
"Fucking qualia." -Hugh Akston

"This is why I carry a shoehorn.” -jadagul

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JasonL
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 22 May 2017, 18:22

That's actually good to me. My generation was disastrously in some cases overhoused. In terms of milestones it's overrated. The jerb/career angle is the one that has concerned me.

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Dangerman
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Dangerman » 22 May 2017, 18:39

I mean, can we revisit whatever positive assertion was made that millennials have it worse off somehow? I feel like everyone is swinging in the dark at each other.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 22 May 2017, 18:44

Jason, may I ask your opinion of my own personal risk assessment scenario -- specifically, given various changes in the bikini-bar industry [and pay structure] today compared to what it was in my super-cute years, I said a 19-year-old in southeastern Virginia today who wants to try supporting herself and paying for college by working in the local bikini bars is taking a bigger risk than I did when I tried doing the same thing 20+ years ago. Would you call this a reasonable assessment, or say that I'm being "incoherent" or whatever?

Bear in mind: I did note that today's 19-year-old has certain techno-things I lacked -- I had no Internet since it was still a pay-by-the-minute luxury back then, and my computer/word processor was more primitive and far more expensive (in inflation-adjusted and absolute dollars) than a computer is today. My freshman year of college, I still used a typewriter to create my term papers.

However, I maintain that the basic essentials of paying for housing, food, and especially tuition and related school costs were easier -- not only was school itself inherently cheaper when adjusted for inflation, but my guaranteed pay was much higher, whether in absolute or inflation-adjusted dollars -- $15 an hour base pay, especially when minimum wage was still only three-something an hour -- is muy better than "No base pay, and the dancer has to shell out money just to walk in the door." (Not to mention, "a dollar bill" is still the base tip most customers hand out, even though a dollar today is worth much less than a dollar back then.)

Also, assume this hypothetical modern 19-year old in southeastern Virginia also has the advantage I did, of being a military dependent who still enjoyed free military health insurance throughout her undergrad years. Am I correct in saying that such a young woman leaving her parents' home to try making it on her own is taking a bigger risk than I did? (Also assume she, like me, was told that if this fails, moving back home is not an option, no matter what; once she's on her own, she's on her own, and her parents will NOT help her at all.)
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by nicole » 22 May 2017, 18:54

JasonL wrote:That's actually good to me. My generation was disastrously in some cases overhoused. In terms of milestones it's overrated. The jerb/career angle is the one that has concerned me.
Well it certainly aligns with my own lived experience more. I definitely know people who feel frustrated in their careers. I don't think I know anyone who's really demoralized about housing, or anyone who wishes they could buy.

And I mean let's remember the first post in this thread. Developers here are betting they can charge $1,000/month for a single room and bathroom, because millennials would rather overpay to live in a new building in a gentrifying neighborhood "without a roommate." You can rent a perfectly nice, respectable if not stylish 1br in the building next door to me for $800/month, in a less hip neighborhood but literally one block away from Lake Michigan, no roommates required. I'm sure the Logan Square building will fill up too.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 22 May 2017, 18:55

There are too many variables in there. I'm not at all addressing the undegreed experience. What college, why are bikinis the only possible job, don't know Virginia, is there a roommate etc. the risk is the same - bankruptcy at worst.

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