Generation Z or ‘Digital Natives’
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
In order to try to decipher the current enigmatic social, political, economic and cultural phenomenon, I have taken as my point of departure the last four generations in the Western world, starting with the second half of the nineteenth century, given that the previous generations have absolutely no effect on the world today. So I will begin the historical analysis with the generation known as the Baby Boomers, that is those born between 1945 and 1964. For the Baby Boomers work was the most important thing; they valued productivity and did not tolerate leisure; they greatly appreciated status symbols and the vertical growth of companies. In addition, women joined the labor market and there was a very profound change in the traditional model of the family.
Generation X, born between 1965 and 1981, was a generation that underwent great changes. During their childhood they lived in an analog world and in their adult years the world became digital. So they experienced the arrival of the ‘internet’ and accepted the new rules of technology and connectivity. Although they did not manage to separate themselves from organizational cultures, they are the real transition generation.
Generation Y, also known as Millennials, is the generation born between 1980 and 1995. They are multitaskers; they cannot conceive of reality without technology; their quality of life is paramount; they are entrepreneurs and use more types of entertainment technologies, such as the Internet, SMS, CD players, MP3, MP4, DVD and more. Those things that were luxuries for Generation X have become basic for Generation Y.
Generation ‘Z’, also known as ‘digital natives,’ are those born after 1995 who are still young. The main characteristics of this generation are that the ‘internet’ has been inexistence since their childhood; the majority of them have not yet begun to work on a permanent basis; they have a high propensity to consume material goods; they have access to the Internet, electronic messages, social networks, iPhones, iPads, etc.; they see technology as a major element and they do not conceive of obtaining information without access to Google. Their main means of communication with the outside world are the social networks. In addition they are characterized by their fascination with visual environments.
Looking at the main geopolitical events of the present or of the recent past and previous data for the last four generations globally, one could formulate some basic hypotheses:
1.- The problem of the population of the planet has not been controlled. While advanced nations have reduced the size of their families for almost 50 years now, poor underdeveloped nations, or nations with radical religious mythologies have increased the size of their families or have simply returned to primitive times where the male sought to reproduce instinctively, which is something found in all animal species. Paradoxically, these primitive ethnic groups have been helped to grow in numbers by the hypocritical healthcare and medical assistance from the richest nations, which makes them believe that they are in solidarity with the poor.
2. As a result of the previous situation, the problem of migration from all over Africa to countries in Europe has become more pronounced and has been aggravated by the conflicts in the Middle East, where Israel is trying to continue its alliance with the United States to be able to maintain global control of the flow of money. The United States has invented the terrorist group Islamic State in the absence of visible enemies to continue in its one hundred-year business of ‘wars planned in distant places,’ while Russia is looking for a way to survive with the energy and arms industries, since its political model has not been able to create an economy that provides food for its people.
3. China is actually the only major world power that continues to grow at a rapid pace, having taken on a significant portion of the external debt of big countries, mainly the US. The Chinese have a totally controlled political, military and legal system, and for the first time they are now seeking to create a new concept of the economy based on new technologies of their own, stop the high rate of pollution in their industrialized areas by using new ‘clean’ forms of energy and increase the income and social benefits of their workers. Right now, many months before the five-year budget plan is presented at its Communist Party headquarters, it has already been approved and there is no risk of violence within the country’s hybrid political system, which combines capitalism, communism, autocracy, advanced diplomacy and a culture that allows the state to operate with very low costs. According to China’s official newspaper Xinhua, in the coming holiday months, about 130 million Chinese will enjoy long tourist visits around the world. This number is higher than all the tourists in the rest of the world.
4.- One of the most important factors in the present serious global geopolitical crisis is the fact that many countries in the West, led by the United States, have not realized that the neoliberal world created by Washington ceased to exist a long time ago as new robotic and digital technologies have completely displaced the manual labor force that had been the main source of labor after the start of the industrial era towards the end of the eighteenth century. Now digital technologies and the new mass media have dramatically reduced employment worldwide, without exception. So that world no longer exists and cannot be brought back, even if this is what is repeated every day by the illiterate comedian who is now the President of the United States.
5.- Other great powers of the West such as Great Britain, Germany and Austria are trying to find excuses to remain at the stage of devastating capitalism where only a dozen families worldwide own the same amount of capital as the world’s 3 billion people in the middle and lower classes. And so far they have not found a solution to the problem. All they are doing is deferring for as long as possible the problem of incorporating into the current economic and financial system the huge amount of money in circulation without any legal or material backing whatsoever.
6. But the most worrying thing of all is that the present world order, led by only seven nations with the right of veto has not been able to agree on a position for global protection of the Planet’s ecological balance because many of the top leaders of those nations have not understood that the thinking of real scientists is not based on political ideas or myths, but on incontrovertible and recurring facts.
Addendum: Despite the crass ignorance of many of the world’s most powerful leaders about the predominance of negative behaviors over positive ones in human beings and the inevitable provocation of pro-fascist and radical nations, I believe that human civilization will last for many more years, although there is no doubt that all its myths, models of the state, the concept of the family, its current paradigms and even its concepts of beauty and art will disappear.