We Are Already On Our Knees

Is having dreams a luxury now?

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Photo by Sofia Bertomeu on Unsplash

In ‘I Just Don’t Think We Have the Luxury to Have Dreams Anymore’ | Katharine Hu looks at the coronavirus as only the most recent and most disruptive catastrophe to slam Gen Z in the head:

This pandemic has laid bare our deepest inequalities. We live in a society where workers work even though they’re ill because the government doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave, where Americans who are already used to forgoing health care because of its costs would be hesitant to get tested for the coronavirus even if tests were available.

Some may argue that this is an unprecedented situation, that “radical” solutions like halting evictions or creating a federal sick-leave program are acceptable only in a crisis. And sure, none of us saw this virus coming. But many Americans are one crisis away from financial ruin — any catastrophic event, virus or not, could have put us in the same situation we’re in now. America has always been a country of haves and have-nots. But increasingly, to have is to survive.

That’s why we should seize this moment to change course — while we can’t avoid a recession, we can prevent it from being a life-or-death situation. A society where people turn to GoFundMe to finance lifesaving treatment and diabetics travel to Mexico to buy insulin needs a “radical” solution like universal health care. A society where encampments for the homeless proliferate in major cities needs a “radical” investment in affordable housing.

A world in which the Australian bush fires are followed by home-destroying floods needs “radical” action to prevent climate disaster. The world of the coronavirus, with its doom and gloom, is the world young people have been trying to tell their elders about, one where a single unexpected medical bill can destroy a family’s finances and climate change leads to empty shelves at your local Target. More than any other generation, we realize that any of us could be next — that tomorrow, we could be the person making a desperate plea on GoFundMe.

Young people are frustrated because we understand that there isn’t a way to “win” this system — it’s simply too broken.

This is a college junior, contemplating the bottom falling out of her plans, but seeing the big picture, not the cul de sac of personal regret. She is calling to pull the system down all the way since we are already on our knees.

Originally published at https://stoweboyd.com.

Written by

Founder, Work Futures. Editor, GigaOm. My obsession is the ecology of work, and the anthropology of the future.

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