Have you heard it said that the Boomer generation will consume three generations of wealth?
- what they inherited from their parents
- what they earned while working
- what they agreed to finance - which others will pay for
Further, the demands for creature comforts and a consumptive lifestyle wear out infrastructure and raise the cost and expectation of the minimum economic baseline for a household. Subsequent generations then inherit the replacement cost and the debt, in addition to the higher cost of entering adulthood, finishing an education, and setting up a home.
It would be difficult to prove anything engineered or conspiratorial here. Rather, it seems a collective punting - a socially-approved unwillingness to take responsibility with the belief that others, somewhere and somehow, will make it right once more, later on. Or, if there us a willingness to assign responsibility, it is someone else's - those Democrats, those Republicans, those who move further right or left of that, those moderate centrists who talk about a middle that no longer exists, those older or younger folks, the cynics, the idealists, the entrenched, the disruptors, the Russians, Mexicans, Koreans, Arabs, or Chinese.
Leon Trotsky, infamous as an engineer of the violent Russian Revolution, noted a similar triple-generation expense paid by the Soviet population. He wrote pensively in 1936, after the tragic deaths of four of his adult children and not long before his own assassination. Trotsky noted the violence lived in Russia during the last gasps of the Tsarist hold on power (generation one). He reflected on the carnage of the 1917 revolution with the World War and civil wars that followed (generation two). He wrote this at the time of Stalinist purges that tortured and executed his revolutionary comrades and their children, including his own (generation three). Even then, Trotzky believed that much of what took place was necessary - and even more might be required.
So much of what leaves the world bloody and bruised, all too often literally, grows from the belief that there is lack and unfairness. The definition of justice becomes twisted into "taking it back" and" getting what is coming to us," rather than a righteous benevolence we contribute to others at our own expense.
Might does not make right. Neither does righting a wrong with a wrong.
We are left, always, with the difficult work of building with future generations in mind, and with the hope of a delayed satisfaction that one of our grandchildren will join with us in building with their grandchildren in mind.