mfioretti: baby boomer*

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  1. about to experience a dramatic shift

    The demographics of the United States are changing quickly, and there is no simpler way to understand that than to look at the most common age of each race and ethnic group.

    The US Census Bureau recently released its estimates of the US population as of July 2016. Besides an estimate of the total population (325 million), the census also includes estimates of the number of people of every age within each race and ethnicity. For example, the census estimates that, as of July 2016, there were 976,288 Hispanic 15-year-olds in the country.

    Jed Kolko, chief economist of jobs site Indeed, combed through this data and came away with a fascinating insight. He discovered huge variation in the most common age—more technically, the mode—between each major racial group in the US.

    While there are more 57-year-old white people than any other age, the most common age among Asians is 28. For Hispanics, it’s 10. Perhaps most incredibly, the most common age for people in the US identified as mixed race is 0—babies that have not yet reached the age of one.
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  2. Millennials are threatening dozens of industries.

    They don't buy napkins. They won't play golf. They aren't buying homes or cars. And they're not even eating at Buffalo Wild Wings.

    Millennials' financial decisions have been heavily covered by media organizations — something that has infuriated many of the generation, as news that "millennials are killing" another industry has become a common headline.

    "This is just some more millennial-blaming B.S.," one reader wrote in response to a recent Business Insider article with the headline "Millennials are killing chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee's."
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  3. Nel 2030 il sistema pensionistico italiano potrebbe implodere. È uno scenario realistico, secondo le proiezioni che La Stampa ha analizzato assieme a diversi esperti, incrociando previsioni demografiche e studi sulla spesa previdenziale. Il 2030 non è una data a caso: è l’anno in cui andranno in pensione i figli del baby boom, cioè i nati nel meraviglioso biennio 1964-65, quando l’Italia nel pieno miracolo economico partorì oltre un milione di bambini. Quei bambini, al compimento dei 66-67 anni, busseranno alla porta dell’Inps. Un picco di richieste che si tradurrà in uno choc, soprattutto se la crescita economica rimarrà modesta. Il periodo più critico arriva fino al 2035. Poi, se le casse dell’Inps reggeranno, anno dopo anno la situazione dovrebbe migliorare per stabilizzarsi tra il 2048 e il 2060.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2016-04-18)
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  4. Younger Internet users like to joke about how Facebook “is the new TV,” but in the case of political news consumption that appears to be literally true, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center for Media and Journalism. More than 60% of millennials who were surveyed said that during the previous week they got their political news from Facebook, compared with 37% who got it from TV.

    Facebook came under fire recently for a study that it funded, done by a number of in-house scientists, which looked at whether news-feed users were subjected to differing political points of view. Although the study said that the decisions of users themselves determined how much they were exposed to different points of view, a number of experts took issue with that explanation.

    These experts pointed out that Facebook’s own data confirmed that for one test group, the algorithmically filtered news-feed did affect the amount of alternative political commentary and news they were exposed to. But even more important than that, Facebook’s study pretended that a user’s experience on the site could be looked at separately from the functioning of the algorithm, when the two are so closely linked that it’s almost impossible to separate them.

    For older members of the “Baby Boom” generation, meanwhile, those figures were almost exactly reversed:
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  5. And yet, I have made an average of about $10,000 per year over the past decade. Some years, I’ve barely had enough to eat. I didn’t have health insurance until this year. I’ve lived off of odd jobs, welfare, and the support of family and friends. To this day, I work tirelessly, now more busily than ever. I run my own business, and have built all of the infrastructure that such a business requires. Anticipating that more networking, greater exposure, growing public interest in permaculture, and the trending of the economy toward re-localization all would help me attain right livelihood, I have shed the odd jobs and wholly dedicated myself toward my professional goals. But it’s not working.

    The Reality of the Situation…

    My classes and educational programming, crafted to serve all ages, is more popular than ever. But attendance is not increasing. I spent the past autumn and winter months building a year-long schedule of classes, and doing all of the organizing and administrative work required to launch them. I rolled them out on social media, on my website, with flyers, and word of mouth. The communications in response began pouring in. But the vast majority of people interested in these classes cannot afford them, despite the fact that I offer some of the cheapest permaculture programs in the country. Support in the way of encouraging words, requests for scholarships and work trades, and thousands of “Likes” on endless Facebook pages have been overwhelming. Financial support comes mostly from a small, dedicated group of mentors and former students, and comes nowhere close to meeting my own financial needs, to sustaining the operations of my business, or to building jobs for peers and students ready to step into them.

    Through waves of frustration and hope, I have reiterated the meme that says: “Anyone can raise a thousand dollars to attend a course if they really want it badly enough.” But I see now that this is the talk of the middle class, a class in which I was raised, but in which I no longer reside. Nor do I buy into the myths and culture of this class any longer. The more I have built connections with communities of color in downtrodden metropolitan neighborhoods, the more obvious it has become that those who most deserve access to the education I can offer, simply do not have the resources to support my efforts. A young black man who lives in a ghetto and wants to take my class cannot raise a thousand dollars through a crowd-funding platform if everyone he knows is destitute. And his other recourse to answering the nonsensical notion of access to funding “if he really wants it badly enough” is crime. I am blessed enough to have indirect access to the monumental and unprecedented treasure trove of resources accumulated by the Baby Boomers through older members of my family whom have, indeed, been generous with me throughout my pursuit of professional permaculture. But such access is not available to many of the racially diverse communities whom permaculturists have so vocally wished to connect with and help. And that American Dream fairy tale that says “If I work hard enough I’ll make it” has never been true for me during my adult life, despite my indirect access to the last generation’s wealth
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  6. I have trained intensively as an activist, a teacher, a group facilitator, an organizer, and an entrepreneur. I have organized regional convergences, spoken to diverse audiences, managed an intensive online presence. I have spoken on podcasts, written articles in periodicals and blogs, run a crowd-funding campaign to fund a book on permaculture and rewilding, networked with religious communities, Native American groups, poor urban neighborhoods, middle America, supported the work of friends and colleagues, attended large conferences and convergences, and maintained valuable dialogues with leading permaculturists. The volume of correspondences I receive via email, Facebook, and telephone is overwhelming and impossible to keep up with…

    And yet, I have made an average of about $10,000 per year over the past decade. Some years, I’ve barely had enough to eat. I didn’t have health insurance until this year. I’ve lived off of odd jobs, welfare, and the support of family and friends. To this day, I work tirelessly, now more busily than ever. I run my own business, and have built all of the infrastructure that such a business requires.
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  7. My goal with this short post is just to introduce the possibility of using the panarchy model to learn something about where we are and what may come in the near future.

    The starting point is to understand that social and ecological systems tend to move through four recurring phases: growth and conservation (resources committed, stable, slow change, predictable), release and reorganization (resources freed up, chaos, fast change, opportunity). At the recent Viennese Talks on Resilience & Networks, the assumption was that the world system is in a late K, meaning approaching the end of the conservation phase and the beginning of the release phase.

    Here I share characteristics of the conservation phase with some corresponding real-world signals:

    -Increased rigidity: The long series of failed WTO talks. The inability of leading governments to respond appropriately to climate change.

    -Increased specialization: this is the age of the long tail and 1,000 true fans. Specialization is escalating in the Internet age.

    -Bound up capital accumulation: Only recently, US and Germany’s budgets are 100% committed to existing programs and debt servicing. No money is available for new programs.

    -Increased efficiency: The rapid increase in computing power described by Moore’s Law. The Toyota Prius is an cultural icon symbolizing efficiency.

    -Slowing growth:


    I share the perspective that we’re in late K because we see unprecedented vulnerability in the global economy and environment that is resulting in dramatic episodes of disruption, and with increasing frequency. It appears that we are pushing against thresholds on many fronts, thresholds that once crossed result in swift, dramatic, and sometimes irreversible change. Release may be near.

    As to timing, the transition from conservation to release can be sudden. There is no way to predict exactly when the transition will start. I suspect that at the society scale, the timing of transition is influenced by human lifespans. Generational theory has much to about the relationship between cycles and generations. It suggests to me that it’s no accident that we are experiencing late K crises as baby boomers begin to retire.

    Resilience thinking teaches us that change at large geographic scales is slow while there is more flexibility at lower scales. This dynamic argues for concentrating on bottom up strategies for change while staying engaged with higher scales albeit with more patience. This perspective also explains why cities have outstripped nations and international bodies in responding to crises such as climate change.
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  8. The idea that we should have some say over where and how we die is an increasing expectation in western cultures, according to the sociologist, David Clark. But it is one that is unevenly distributed. Alongside a reticence in talking about death that the Dying Matters survey has identified, Clark notes the rise in popularity of new British cultural trends: soul midwives (non-medical death companions) and death cafes and salons, where people can congregate to talk about any aspect of death, or in the case of salons, ruminate upon various intellectual and artistic morbid endeavours. “Will it be the case that in their dying as in their living, the baby boomers get it all?
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  9. A chi interessa realmente il lavoro? La disoccupazione in realtà è un business per tanti: per i sindacati che hanno nel lavoro il principale elemento di riferimento della propria rappresentanza; alla politica che “vende” le opportunità di nuovo lavoro in ottica di nuovo elettorato; alla formazione regionale ed universitaria, autoreferenziale e Stato dipendente, sempre più legata alla politica ed alle sue scelte. Non è, quindi, un caso se, mentre l’Università italiana vive uno dei momenti più difficili con scarsa ricerca e problemi strutturali endemici, nell’esatto momento in cui si consuma una scellerata battaglia tra formazione tradizionale ed apprendimento telematico, con episodi di vera e propria produzione di titoli e riconoscimenti non riconosciuti dal mercato del lavoro, di contro la formazione professionale finanziata viva una “bella epoque” finanziata dagli ultimi residui di POR e finanziamenti europei.

    Per un Paese che vive di welfare di seconda generazione, con i nonni ed il sistema pensionistico che “finanziano” sempre più spesso nipoti ed affini, forse qualche riflessione in più andrebbe fatta sugli over 40, troppo giovani per la pensione e troppo vecchi per un mercato alla ricerca di sgravi contributivi, assunzioni agevolati e forme di collaborazione young oriented. Quale altra strada, se non il lavoro irregolare, per gli esodati? Le necessità di questa fascia debole della popolazione non godono dei favori del Job Act del Governo Renzi. Il loro “peso elettorale” non è quello di milioni di giovani, eppure siamo in presenza della generazione di riferimento dei nostri tempi. Eccoli dunque affollare le cattedrali della riqualificazione delle competenze , alla ricerca affannosa di una nuova collocazione nel mercato. Corsi di informatica, lingua inglese, utilizzo del computer ed una marea di certificati che acclarino l’appartenenza alle nuove generazioni, nonostante la carta d’identità. Risultati? Pessimi, naturalmente. Solo indotto per una formazione truffaldina strutturata secondo un metro che non è market oriented.
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  10. Da fuori una bella famiglia, tranquilla e benestante, i Canning. Genitori e tre figlie di 13, 15 e 18 anni. Nel cuore della classica America suburbana e affluente: casa coloniale di legno con un grande giardino, due cani, le vacanze alla Bahamas. Le ragazze che frequentano ottime scuole private. Ottime e costose. Ma a novembre qualcosa si rompe: appena compiuti i 18 anni Rachel, la più grande, va via da casa. I genitori smettono di pagarle la scuola e lei li denuncia. «Sono egoisti: hanno molti soldi e li spendono in cose inutili. A me, invece, negano il diritto a un’istruzione di qualità, indispensabile per avere successo nel mondo d’oggi». Non è vero, replicano i genitori: è una ragazza ribelle, non rispettava le regole. E’ lei che se n’è andata, mal consigliata dal padre di una sua amica che ora la ospita e la rappresenta in tribunale. Se non torna non paghiamo.
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