I Got Ratio'd On Twitter Big Time & Learned A Ton

rogernusbaum

@louisathelast put out a thread looking at some of the big picture issues confronting younger people (millennial age) trying to hit their career/life stride. As one person eloquently put it, the cultural benchmarks for adulthood have become much harder to attain. Not sure how I saw the thread but I replied, asking what solutions there might be and putting forward the idea of people solving their own problems. That is where the ratio started, I got torched with comments about not understanding what they are going through, not having basic reading comprehension and on and on, I also got quite a few ok boomers (for the record, I am in Generation X).

A few people did respond to me in an educational manner. One person said that "individual self-sufficiency has been made increasingly difficult" and they believe the solution is systemic. Another person said "This isn't an individual problem. Jobs are paying less and expecting more. Housing costs more for less stability. Our cultural markers for adulthood have changed and priced adults out of the market. That's not the fault of the people adapting to a changed environment." I responded to that one that I wasn't blaming anyone but that same person said that my use of the word "problems" as in solve your own, does assign blame.

One comment to me created the impression that they thought self-sufficiency was a negative trait. Someone chided me that we are not in a Hobbsian dystopia and while I do not know that reference, based on the comments, we are in some kind of dystopia.

I was asked twice what solutions I had and I offered "Make health (diet/exercise) top priority Invest time trying to renegotiate student debt Actively volunteer (can lead to great jobs) The internet offers infinite potential for income Learn an unrelated skill (I'm an EMT) to improve optionality Don't buy stuff" noting that these things don't cost money. I got ratio'd on that as well; the internet costs money, transportation costs money, classes cost money. Obviously nothing I could say would be taken constructively but those were my thoughts and interestingly, the person who started the thread did say she took a class to gain a new skill that she has monetized somehow.

Coincidentally in his weekly email, James Clear said "It’s never been a better time for self-motivated people. Anyone connected to the internet has the education power of a university and the distribution power of a media company at their fingertips." I am not comparing myself to Clear but the infinite opportunity of the internet is an obvious observation and the person heckling me about the internet costing money was...doing so on the internet. There is also free internet at the library.

Here's what I know for sure. I do not understand how people in this cohort approach these issues. The thought process of eschewing self-sufficiency (this is impression I got and I sought to clarify) in favor of preferring systemic changes is totally foreign to me. I conceded every top down problem in any reply in an attempt to get that out of the way in hopes of understanding why there isn't more of a focus on solving their own problems (not assigning blame) but that understanding didn't come. The phrase "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" which I never used on this thread is very offensive to this group, in part because there seems to be a belief that it is not possible to do or that it is far harder to do now than it used to be.

Josh Brown Tweeted out the following picture saying that these are the same people;

The punchline was that this will happen to all of us, getting older. And that is exactly my point. No matter when we date their problems to, we are all that many years older. If the blame is on the Great Financial Crisis, then we are all 12 years older. If blame for these problems dates to when Bernie Sanders didn't win (some portion of these group support Bernie Sanders), then we are all four years older.

If millennials (and the rest of us potentially) have these problems today then we can conclude that neither of the major political parties have solved them. In talking about systemic changes at the expense of bottom solutions (again, my perception and no one dissuaded me otherwise) is to grow old, like in the picture, without making it better. It seems like this cohort, and it is a large cohort, seems intent on waiting for a political solution. I would argue they are betting their futures on political solutions which is a monumental bet, a multi-layered bet. First, the person they want has to win, then that person has to stick to their promises and then execute on those promises politically. And while they are waiting they are getting older.

Whatever age we individually think of as being "old" will come quickly, that is our life and the idea of not getting the most out of it, or otherwise trying to get the most out of it is, to their point, is something I will never understand.

Being part of a societal solution is great but not at the expense of bottom up problem solving. Student debt is more than onerous, there are problems with housing affordability and the issue of coming into the job market during a recession having permanent effects is well researched and real and maybe all of that is a cocktail of bad news that makes it worse than it's ever been but the opportunity of the internet is the equalizer for people who view it that way.

I certainly want things to improve for anyone who is hurting but arguments in my ratio notwithstanding, no one will care more about your outcomes than you.