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Youth Is Overrated

I just read this article:

Millennials won’t rescue Indonesia

One of the thought-provoking point regarding the role of youth in change is that the youth is not that important at all. Youth, and young people, are overrated.

The notion that the youth are special because they are the only one that can change the world has been largely propagated by our founding fathers. Soekarno and the ten young people quotes. Tan Malaka and the idealism and youth quotes. The question is: are these statements actually data-driven? Or it’s just a myth? Maybe it because quotes from dead person are cool and therefore we have no need to validate those statements. Which is a mistake.

Even if young people actually change the world, which young people would most likely do it? The political orientation, worldview, and incentives of young people from lower class is different from their counterparts in the middle class and the upper class.

Maybe the lower class youth just need a job and a living to drive them away from criminal activities. Who cares about changing the world if you have your young families to feed? No time for that.

Maybe the middle class youth already living comfortably in their career and enjoy their increased purchasing power. Who cares about changing the world? You have a career ladder to climb and need significant time and energy investment for that. And you are entitled to reward your hard work by buying things and vacation to enjoy.

Maybe the upper class youth are studying overseas with their parents money, and when they graduate, they can be on upper management level when they come back to Indonesia, if they will come back at all. Some may choose to live overseas and build their career there.

Of course it is not that simple. The youth of each socioeconomic class can contribute to the nation in their own way. That is why we have to identify their tendencies and behaviour to better map their potential in the national landscape.

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