The Entire Way We Talk About Millennials Is Wrong

The Bloomberg Odd Lots podcast recently talked with Malcom Harris about generational categorization and millennials.

Harris highlights how marketers are the first voices we hear defining new generational cohorts. This is a relatively new trend. Baby Boomers, in contrast, were defined from demographic impact. Now we focus more on consumption patterns. That’s misguided, though, and Harris argues we should look at production patterns (work) instead.

When looked at through the lens of work what we find is a generation that grew up amid a long-term secular shift of diverging compensation and productivity. Starting in the late-1970s productivity rose while compensation stayed relatively flat. Harris points out that there’s no sign this divergence, or rate of exploitation, is closing. And while it’s common to blame millennials for expecting a better lot than their parents, that constant improvement is one of the core promises of capitalism.

Hat tip Daniel.