A Letter To My Parents’ Generation No. 2 - How The Baby Boomers Are Responsible For Martin Shkreli
The arrest of Martin Shkreli (a.k.a “Pharma Bro”), back in December, for securities fraud was cause for many to rejoice (myself included). Mr. Shkreli became the most hated CEO in America overnight when his company – Turing Pharmaceuticals – purchased the exclusive rights to a life-saving AIDS drug then jacked up the price from $15 a pill to over $750, resulting in a much-deserved wave of social media outrage. He has since resigned as CEO of Turing but the point is as morally deplorable as his price hike was, it’s perfectly legal and it wasn’t until he ripped off his investors that the law finally intervened. If that isn’t proof that in America you can get away with stealing from ordinary people but not rich people, then I don’t know what is. However, Mr. Shkreli is the just the result of an even bigger problem – a trend of glorifying greed and selfishness that has been the hallmark of the failed leadership of our parents’ generation.
When the baby boomers came of age in the mid to late seventies, it marked the beginning of a big shift in American politics, business, and culture. In their early youth, the boomers were full of idealism. The first test of this idealism came when the boomers began to achieve political and economic influence as a generation. Unfortunately, they failed this first test when they made a complete about-face, abandoning their youthful ideals and embracing corporate culture and crass consumerism as if it were a religion. More than three decades later, the boomer generation has failed many other tests of character and we are now seeing the collective results of those failures.
The decline of American economic power, the outsourcing of our manufacturing infrastructure, the rise of the unholy alliance between Wall St. and big government, exploding national debt, rising college tuition prices, and more than a decade of unfruitful wars in the Middle East are now the major hallmarks of the boomers’ legacy. But despite their resume of epic fails, the boomers are patting themselves on the back for what they believe to be a job well done. At the same time, they’re quick to criticize young people for “spending too much time on their phones” or “not working hard enough,” but whenever someone points out their flaws, they immediately become defensive. Such knee-jerk reaction to any kind of criticism leads me to believe that most (not all but most) of the boomer generation is suffering from some kind of mass epidemic of narcissism.
So getting back to my original topic, what does this have to do with Martin Shkreli? The baby boomers are now retiring and leaving the job market. By the end of this decade, millennials are predicted to account for the majority of the world’s workforce. While many of them are much more socially-minded than their boomer parents, there is still the very real possibility that many of us will make the same mistakes because, after all, we were raised and influenced by the boomers. Martin Shkreli is the perfect example of this potential. He is a millennial who has not only embraced all the worst elements of his boomer predecessors; he took them to new heights. The degree to which he abused his position of power would shock even the most narcissistic boomers. Even Donald Trump referred to Mr. Shkreli as a disgusting spoiled brat (and if Trump thinks you’re a terrible person then you definitely screwed up somewhere). I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the only thing I fear for my generation more than us ending up less fortunate than our parents is if we turn out to be exactly like them.
But Mr. Shkreli is far from being the only millennial of his kind and that’s what I’m afraid of. Today, our generation stands on the same threshold that the boomers did when they were young. We are youthful idealists poised to change the world in profound ways. The question is when we eventually take the wheel and we’re the ones in charge, will we learn from the mistakes of the past or is history doomed to repeat itself? Will we maintain our ideals or will we sell them out for money and power? It is not our fault that we inherited a dysfunctional world from our parents. However, if we choose to continue on our current course and not turn the ship around, then that WILL be our fault.
– The Young Overviewer
Original Source: Empower The Young - A Letter To My Parents’ Generation No.2 - How The Baby Boomers Are Responsible For Martin Shkreli