An article in today’s New York Times offers a powerful and unsettling comment on the video I made several weeks ago in Italy.
The article describes a demographic time bomb in southern Europe, where young people are locked out of the labor market by older generations and victimized by laws intended to increase the flexibility of employment. Highly educated young people in countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal must live with their parents well into middle age since they seldom succeed in finding well paying jobs. In many cases, they simply leave their countries, just as the young Italians in the video I shot discuss doing. For obvious reasons, these young people are also not having children, meaning that there are no future generations to support the generous welfare state that their elders are benefiting from.
Interestingly, the article noted that, in this context, protests against austerity measures imposed on the universities are intimately linked to much broader frustrations over the failure of society to create a viable future for these lost generations.
It seems that wherever one looks there are more and more of what Zygmunt Bauman calls “surplus people.” The problems described in the article are much worse throughout the global South.