The Master Trend: How the Baby Boom Generation Is Remaking America

The Master Trend: How the Baby Boom Generation Is Remaking America

The Master Trend: How the Baby Boom Generation Is Remaking America

The Master Trend: How the Baby Boom Generation Is Remaking America

Synopsis

The Baby Boom generation is leading the nation into the future. Having elected one of its own to the White House, this generation - the largest and best educated in history - is poised to place its imprint on the 21st century. Cheryl Russell - acclaimed author of 100 Predictions for the Baby Boom and former editor-in-chief of American Demographics - meets the challenge of predicting the daunting future of this most singular of generations. Russell perceptively shows why members of the Baby Boom generation, born between 1946 and 1964, have always embraced their independence. This individualism has become the master trend of our time. But the Baby Boom generation is now finding itself in the midst of a midlife crisis as it is pulled in one direction by its sense of individualism and in another by its children. Baby Boomers, known for following the beat of their own drummer, are suddenly awakening to the urgent need to bring society together for the sake of their children's future. The Baby Boom generation prizes individualism so highly that it has become the first generation of what Cheryl Russell calls "free agents." Like Curt Flood - baseball's first free agent - the Baby Boomers play by their own rules. Free agents have become both the creators and the eager customers of a new, fast-paced, hotly competitive "personalized economy" that seizes on cutting-edge technologies to produce the innovative and custom-designed products and services the world so sorely needs. Will this personalized economy bring prosperity to Americans? Can the free agents of the Baby Boom generation make life better for all of us? Will they learn to work together for the good of society? Most important, what kind of society are the Baby Boomers leaving to their children? In a culture that values individualism above all, what will happen to the unprepared millions who are trapped in the margins of society? In a world where the disparity between rich and poor has grown dramatically what kin

Excerpt

Something is terribly wrong in our country. As Americans, we hear this message all the time. There is too much divorce, there is urban violence, and there is drug abuse. Our public schools are failing, our citizens are apathetic, poverty rates are rising, health care costs are soaring. the list of our ills is a long one.

But why? No one is able to explain why things seem to have taken such a turn for the worse. They know when things started to go bad—the social fabric started to fray about thirty years ago. They can recite what is wrong—divorce, crime, drug abuse, materialism, a lack of duty and commitment, and an unwillingness to sacrifice. But no one can explain why American society seems to be unraveling.

As a member of the baby boom generation, and as someone who has studied the generation for many years, I believe I have the answer. My career has been devoted to tracking the trajectory of the baby boom through the American economy and culture. This demographic perspective answers the question of why. the explanation for the upheaval in American society lies in the baby boom generation itself. the attitudes and values of baby boomers are profoundly different from those of older Americans. These different attitudes and values have permanently changed our culture. That is why things started "going downhill" about thirty years ago—when the oldest baby boomers began to come of age. That is why our lives continue to change, as baby boomers replace older generations of Americans. the baby boom is remaking American society because it is the first generation of "free agents. . . ."

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