Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Phil Ruthven UpdateGen X now to take over the reins in 2007 . . .

. . . Just as the economy turns to deep recession.

You’ve gotta love the hide of a futurologist, really. And playing a flippant game of unfortunate juxtaposition with their predictions is just a bit too easy.

But then again, I’ve always thought that there is something spookily perverse about Phil Ruthven’s predictions – particularly in their inevitable, extra dollop of inter-generational moralising.

For starters, the BIS Shrapnel prediction for a recession in 2007 was already around for a couple of weeks before Phil would have been asked to look into his crystal ball. So why, oh why, is Phil being so relentlessly upbeat about a Gen X golden age being just around the corner? Or is he? Just look at the way he veers from paternalist, clichéd twaddle:

They are technology-proficient children who don’t want a job for life, he says. They are born borderless and believe they can travel anywhere in the world to find work. They want flexibility and freedom.

to playing amateur sociologist eugenicist:

Ruthven says [Gen Xers] still want stability but don’t view work as a natural right.

Yeah right. Gen X values flexibility – aka workforce casualisation and job insecurity – so much so that we not only eat and drink it, we live in it as a home, too. Who needs regular work and, with it, regular wages? And Gen X loves getting sacked and then finding themselves unemployable in their present careers, too – it’s never poverty when it can be brightly called a "change of season". For Phil’s grotesque euphemism of “taking control”; I suggest the more technical term: “queuing at Centrelink”.

The final, and finest-mangled, semantic twist goes to psychologist Colin Beames:

Beames says the "blind loyalty" of the babyboomers has gone forever, as workers watch colleagues being retrenched and young people come and go.

Get it? Baby boomers get “retrenched”, while Gen X (as opposed to “workers”) just “go” – the assumed inference being that this is their natural wont. Phil R interjects: “Isn’t that Paul’s career “season” turning all spring-like and green?” Err, no, Phil – it’s actually the sight of me puking; a very non-seasonal thing too, believe me.

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