In the contemporary world, the media advocates for the generational changes and the effect it has towards the economy; Australia is no exception. Most of the articles in the Australian society analyze the negative implications of generational changes.
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However, these arguments don not stay for long as they are ultimately forgotten. This is unlike 30 years ago when generational change had an impact to the media and society.
Michael Pusey, in his article, argues that the current relations between the young and old generation have been characterized by the mirror-opposite appearance than those, which pre-occupied the social media 30 years back. Indeed, the adversity of the generational gap in the current society is the vital issue that Pusey expresses in his article.
According to Pusey (2007), the generational gap has been ignored in the current Australia economy. After the World War II, Australian government shared the resources equally as they were focused majorly on the gap that existed between the generations.
The author argues that for the national income to be distributed equally in the economy, cultural conflicts should be addressed. Indeed, inequalities do exist between the baby boomers and their children and this has necessitated food insecurity among the residents. Therefore, it is critical that the concerned party needs to address the effect of generation change.
Upon putting into consideration the impeccable effects that will be faced in the economy, the government will ensure economic tranquillity. In regard to the current economy reforms of Australia, the author argues that it does not favour the young generation the way it favoured the older generation. In addition, the author argues that in the near future, the young generation will be subjected to unnecessary responsibilities.
As there are large numbers of retirees, the author claims that they will all be depending on the young generation for income support. With the existence of high unemployment rate in the current economy, the youth will be imposed with burden when footing the retirement bill for the older generation (Norton, 2003). As such, it increased the generational gap in the near future.
In addition, the mirror-opposite appearance in the generational change is evidenced by the income distribution. It is important to note that economic restructuring is long term. This implies that any changes in the income distribution in the economy will not be effected until after a period of 20 years; as illustrated by the Australian economy.
Ideally, the older generation believed that men were the breadwinners in the family and the speculated income distribution for 20 years focused on the Men’s income. In the current economy, the women are also breadwinners in the household and the comparable figures will be misleading leading to generational gap. Consequently, the lifetime income has decreased due to lack of regulation in the labour market by the Australian government.
In the older generation, lifetime income was extremely high unlike in the current society. This has been attributed to the increase in longevity in the current generation (Pusey, 2003). The compressed retirement benefits have been squeezed, and as an individual retires at an age of 55 years, one has 25 years more to budget for this small amount of retirement benefits.
This was not the case in the past as they were able to access a huge amount of retirement benefits. As they had a lifespan of 65 years, they had only 10 years to budget for their retirement benefits. This clearly shows a mirror-opposite appearance in the generational change.
In addition, unlike the past, finance and superannuation have been degenerated. After the government privatised the superannuation industry, there has been an imposition of fees and charges by the financial institutions.
This imposes a burden to families in supporting the new generation in their endeavour. Other factors that have increased the generation gap include deregulation of housing loans, and privatisation of health and education.
The issues leading to the generational gap, as highlighted above, are relevant to the course. The government will impose measures necessary to combat the increase in the generational gap. This will have a positive impact on the international relations, as such, enhancing their economical stability among the new and older generation.
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International relations focus on understanding of the geographical territories regarding the economies, politics, cultural believes among others. In order to meet the international relations’ demands, the government needs to stabilize the internal forces; among them is the generational gap.
In this article, Michael Pusey (2007) argues that, although the reforms put in place in the economic front have produced results, especially by creating wealth to a majority of people on the verge of retirement, the legacy of this wealth could as well be a starting point for what the author call an economic gap.
According to Pusey (2003), Australia has experienced a good boom, which was underpinned by historically low rates of unemployment and a high demand for the countries mineral resources. Indeed, as the author posits that the economic boom hid something bigger. According to Pusey, the talk of economic boom, masked incomes in those real incomes were not increasing.
It would not be possible for the young generation to generate as much income as the one that is retiring at the moment. In economic terms, then this is a big problem as it is the starting point for greater income inequalities among generations.
However on the cultural side it is a very impressive story because people are able to relate with other well in a manner that was not so in the last 30 to 40 years or so. At this time, according to Pusey, there were many prejudices and conservative moral obligations (Pusey, 2007).
However, at the moment about one third of the young generations are staying with their parents whom they see as their most influential people in their lives, even more important to them that their peers. Indeed even the parents claim to enjoy the presence of their children.
In short, the author makes two assumptions. One is that the economic boom was responsible for the widening generation gap. The second assumption was that culture has an important part to play in bringing the generation gap.
According to Pusey (2007), unemployment rates have gone up, that the young people do not get into full employment until the age of 27 or 28. However, his argument does not seem to hold much water and seem to rest on public opinions. The author has not shown explicitly whether the economic conditions, that are responsible for the widening generation gap, did exist.
In addition, he has not shown how these conditions were shaped by the economic reform of the last twenty or so years. In his claim that the economic reforms were responsible for increased unemployment, the author fails to explain why unemployment went up and down during the era of economic reforms as it can be deduced from his own data (Norton, 2003).
Michael Pusey believes that economic reform was a direct result of the cold war and that families are the biggest losers because of economic reforms. This is because they are caught in the middle of economic reforms and cultural norms and values that are inherited from the parents.
However, Pusey seems not to offer a balance approach in his blanket condemnation of economic reforms. There is no mention of factors such as advancements in technology or even shifts in consumer preferences, and natural disasters that occurred in the time the author tends to refers to.
On the cultural side, the author shows how family values and norms bridge the gap brought about by economic reforms. Parents are doing what the author call “intergenerational transfers.” The parents are using their money to help children put up a deposit for their homes, and also they are helping the children pay off HECS.
Therefore, culture plays an important part in compensating the destruction brought about by economic reforms. The issues raised by the author are important in understanding the building blocks of a vibrant society.
Norton, A. (2003). Michael in a Muddle: Michael Pusey’s bungled attack on economic reform. Issue Analysis 34(2): 1-9.
Pusey, M. (2003). The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press
Pusey, M. (2003), ‘An Australian story: The Troubling Experience of Economic Reform’ Australian Senate Occasional Lecture Series, Parliament House, retrieved from web.
Pusey, M. (2007), ‘The Changing Relationship between the Generations … It Could Even be Good News’, Youth Studies Australia 26(1): 9-17.