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My response to Bill Moyers’ interview with Heather McGhee on Millennial Generation

February 15, 2012

On his new show, Moyers and Company, Bill Moyers interviewed Heather McGhee, of the research and advocacy organization Demos, on the current state of our generation and the country. The interview was posted on February 10th, 2012. Follow this link to watch it:

http://billmoyers.com/segment/heather-mcghee-on-the-millennial-generation/

Here is my response to it that I posted on the comments:

Hey Bill, I appreciated the interview. Nice to see you back in the game. I suppose your plan was to take the interview exactly where it went, which is cool, no doubt, I enjoyed the discussion and I thought Mrs. McGhee was very insightful. However, I feel like most of the people in this country that will actually watch the interview are aware of most of the things you guys just spoke about. These are certainly the defining issues of our time and should be brought up and discussed constantly, no beef there. But my critique is this: after talking at length about the problems we are facing and how we got to this sad state of affairs, it is only at the very end that Mrs. McGhee brought up her truly radical, forward-thinking, and concrete idea for some kind of modern day new deal jobs plan. Take that conversation further! This is exactly what we need to be talking about in the here and now. Myself and just about everyone that I have spoken with at Occupy Minnesota, Occupy Philly, Occupy Wall Street, and Occupy DC are completely aware of how messed up things are and why. We need big ideas and a bold vision for where this country and the world are going, and it is my view that this discussion requires a deeper nuance.

I would have asked her at end: What exactly would this modern new deal look like? Specifically, what kind of jobs are we talking about here? Would this plan try to conform to the dictates of the current globalized economic paradigm? Or might it try to blaze some kind of new, resilient, localized, and truly environmentally sustainable path? We currently devote a huge share of our national resources to maintaining the American Empire and all of its manifestations: with the scope of the plan you have in mind, how does the American Empire fit in?

It is apparent to me that some kind of big visionary plan is needed for the entire world, and now is the time to start discussing these imperative ideas.

Lastly, I caution this whole axiom about “how we are the first generation in American history to not do better than our parents.” Civilization and capitalism are similar in that they each boom and bust. So if our generation were doing better than our parents did, would we be making $100,000 a year and have even bigger houses and cars than they do? The question then becomes not only what defines “better,” but should the notion of ever increasing generational growth even be desirable (or is it even possible)? There is an inverse relationship between what conventional wisdom defines as progress and the health and sustainability of the environment. I will gladly take a cut in the standard of living if it means my decedents will actually be able to inhabit the planet.

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