Belgians in their 20s and 30s aren’t getting cheerful from what they see happening in the world,. This was the result from the research of sociologist Mark Elchardus (Dutch). He wrote the book ‘Voorbij het Narratief van Neergang’ (Beyond the Narrative of Downfall). It is based on 2,000 interviews with Belgians in their 20s and 30s, taken at the end of 2013. The result seems to be that they have a rather negative world view:
- 92.1% fears more disasters caused by global warming
- 84.8% thinks that open borders threatens our own workforce
- 90.9% sees lowering of pensions
- 82.8% poorer people becoming poorer and riches becoming richer
- 68.8% fears more victims of terror
At the end, just in passing, was said that those young adults, while having a pessimistic world view, have it socio-economically at least as good as their parents and they look optimistic towards their own future. To me it sound like they are thinking these negative things will not effect them that much.
At that age, I wasn’t much different. I, and my peers, had it at least as good, maybe even better, than our parents. We also heard plenty of doom stories around us. Mostly known are the stories about an imminent overpopulation, the new ice age, acid rain, the ozone hole, the immigration wave from South Europe/North Africa, consequences of the aging of our population and many more. The topics that the current young adults worry about are rather similar to those that we had when we had at their age. Only the events differ.
It doesn’t seem if they are the last to do so. The children of today are growing up in a world with its own scares like climate scare, climate disruption, the current immigration wave from the middle East,.. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
But that wasn’t actually the thing that caught my initial attention. It was this: the contrast of their pessimistic view of the world and their optimistic view towards their own future could be explained by the news coverage in the media, according to Elchardus.