Monday, November 17, 2003


Intergenerational conflict – brought to you by AMP

The last week has seen a blizzard of news stories involving intergenerational conflict, thanks to the release of two separate NATSEM reports, and some comments that RBA Governor Ian Macfarlane made at a speech.

As regular readers here will know, this topic is a perennial favourite at these parts. Hence, so as to preserve my truly contrarian independence, I don’t have much to add at the moment.

One curiosity which I can’t resist, however, is today’s media gloss on the latest NATSEM report, to the effect that HECS debts reduce fertility. Much as I oppose the privatisation of higher education in any form (and HECS is one of many privatisation moves initiated by and for baby boomers since 1987) for its social regressiveness, I don’t think that the (admittedly alarming) drop off in fertility among educated GenX women has that much to do with HECS debts. A much stronger cause would be the paucity of educated and affluent GenX men – as these employment stats show, there is now almost a perfectly inverse correlation between the two attributes. In other words, if an educated GenX women wants to marry a bloke her age with money, it’s a choice between the bricklayer and his sidekick.

The other curiosity is to do with the NATSEM report released today being sponsored by AMP. Maybe it’s to do with AMP’s share price having so severely tanked in recent years, that being associated with gloom’n’doom news is now a fresh and savvy marketing angle for the beleaguered corporate. If so, I don’t think that the AMP’s journeymen copywriters have quite gotten the concept; with this phrase rounding-off the bottom of today’s media release:

Find out how an AMP Financial Planner can help you build wealth

Unless AMP financial planners are now in the business of (i) actively sending the housing market crashing, or (ii) telling smart Year 12 finishers not to go to uni, but to become highly-paid bricklayers instead, then I can’t see how the fuck putting a few bucks a week into life insurance or whatever is going to change a thing for GenX.

Oh, and AMP might like to know that NATSEM, being a good little fee-raiser for a public uni (Canberra), has well-mastered the art of obtaining maximum mileage and traction from the private sponsorship dollars it does manage to wrangle. The overview* of today’s gloom’n’doom NATSEM report makes it sound like it was based on much the same figures and research as a NATSEM report released last year, this time commissioned by the Financial Planning Association of Australia.

Intergenerational conflict – now made from 100% recycled news!

* My computer’s PDF reader is stuffed (I think because Adobe’s latest versions don’t support Win 98).

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