I was just listening to a discussion with millennials on the Tom Ashbrook On Point show, and this was the repeated theme. I had to roll my eyes, though I also tried to keep in mind the myopia of youth. I totally bought into this meme when it was expressed by Douglas Coupland as a major theme of his seminal work Generation X. But then came the boom of the middle and later '90s, and that idea was forgotten.
More recently, I read a Roger Ebert movie review (wish I could recall which one) written in the early '80s in which he stated something close to “we are now entering into an era of economic austerity in which we’ll all have to get used to getting by with less”. That obviously wasn’t true either for us “all”, although there were some who got left behind by the '80s boom and rise in inequality.
I have not read an example of this from the 1970s, but it would shock me if there weren’t people writing, when the oil shocks and stagflation hit, and the stock market stalled out, the same thing then by comparison with the Sixties boom years.
I know that it has been shown that people who graduate college in the wake of a recession have their lifetime earnings negatively impacted. But that’s just a cyclical thing with certain microgenerations being unlucky to have landed in the trough. Is there any real evidence that this time is different? I am sceptical, and suspect that in five years all this talk will be forgotten again until the next time.