The Ideology of N-Gen
Commonly held views of the current generation are that they are greedy, self centered and concerned only about their personal possessions and financial success. After spending the better part of a year talking to hundreds of N-Geners, our team has come to a different set of conclusions.
Many have observed that the young are still very obsesssed with material values, more than their parents before them. It appears that the more affluent, better educated youth are, the more optimistic they are about the future. While N-Geners today are a savvy, confident generation, they are confronted with very different prospects than their boomer parents. An uncertain future looms ahead, and they cannot pride themselves with the material security which seemed to be the trait of the baby boomer age. Prized possiessions become a material fortress against economic insecurity - material goods are not a vice, they are a refuge.
Young people are navigators. They have set their ship out onto the Net and have returned home safely, carrying riches. They also know that their future cannot be trusted to anyone else, no government or corporation will ensure their future.
Their future is also uncertain. While the N-Geners have a great deal of confidence and high self-esteem, they also have worries about the future. They mistrust the government and the elites. They value highly individual freedoms and rights. The right to be left alone. The right to privacy The right to have and express their own views.
This "self-navigation", however, does not mean a rise in individualism. N-Geners are globally oriented and open minded. They have a great desire to be connected with their family, close friends, in school, in neighborhoods, interest groups, and the online virtual communities described in this book.
N-Geners are also big on equal rights. Social consciousness is therefore a great concern to the youths of today. N-Geners value their culture with a ferocity which should make a boomer proud. They love their music, movies, magazines, some TV shows, video games, computers, software, and the Net.
A Force for Transformation in All Institutions
As N-Gen culture is extended into society, every institution will have to change. The N-Gen will transfrom business. As they stream into the marketplace, power and authority will shift towards the consumer.
Families are becoming more open - not in the sense that they are more permissive, but rather where authority is shared more than in the past - because children are an authority on an important issue. The very concept of education is also changing. Governmentswill also have to become more open as the old hierarchal bureaucracies are irrelevant to the new generation.
None of this means that hierarchies will vanish completely. Society still needs authority and control in areas from child rearing and executive decisions, to law and order.
Listen to the Children.
This characterization comes out of the fact the the N-Geners are taking a very different route than their parents, questioning fundamental tenants of the social order.