A few thoughts on ageism

Is ageism a thing? I guess people experience discrimination and exclusion based on their age. The term was coined originally to talk about discrimination against older people, but I don’t see why it can’t also apply to discrimination against young people too.

(You’ll have to forgive me if I rank it below sexism and racism, for starters, in a hierarchy of discriminations.)

Older people can generally be excluded from aspects of society due to their technological knowledge (or lack thereof) and the state of their mental and physical health.

Younger people are excluded typically from positions of power and responsibility. Their voices can often go unheard by those who think they lack the skills and experience

I don’t buy the argument that at a societal level we need to keep people in the workplace for longer. Unemployment rates for younger people are traditionally higher, and getting a foothold in workplaces is a lot harder than it used to be.

In any case, neither of these issues is caused by the other group – i.e. youth unemployment isn’t because older people keep sticking around in their jobs per se. The issues are structural.

People wouldn’t have to keep working so much into their old age if we had universal income or a decent pension scheme. That same basic income for younger people, along with free education, would alleviate housing affordability and other issues.

Of course if people want to keep working, they should be able to. It’s just that they shouldn’t NEED to.

Interestingly, the two groups generally vote at opposite ends of the spectrum (older: conservative – younger: progressive) and I would hazard to say that they respond generally to different types of emotional trigger (older: fear – younger: hope).

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