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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Generation Gap in Twentieth century

Introduction – A generation means all the people born  and living at about the same time, regarded collectively. Generally generations (people born within a defined time period) are also defined as social groups . The average period of one generation is generally considered to be about 20–⁠30 years. Then starts a difference of opinions between one generation and another in thinking, outlook and life-style. Generally different generations or social groups born within a defined time period share similar cultural traits, values, and preferences. 

Generation gap A generation gap means difference of opinions between people belonging to different generations. People of two age groups see the world from different perspectives. Their perceptions, actions, beliefs, interests, and opinions about social and political values and systems automatically change with time. Social scientists have named this difference of opinion as generation gap. Effects of the generation gap include conflict among family members of different generations and misunderstandings.

Names and general traits of different generations of 20th centuryGenerational naming has begun in the 20th-century.  The assigned names of different generations born in 20th century are as following –  

  • GI Generation: Generation born worldwide between 1900 to 1925.
  • Traditionalists or Silent Generation (born between 1925 to 1945),
  • Baby boomers (birth year 1940 and 1964)
  • Generation X (born between 1965 to 1979)
  • Millennials (Birth year 1980 to 1994)
  • Zen Z (Born between 1995 to 2019)
  • Generation Alpha Birth year 2010 to 2024

GI Generation :- The G.I. Generation is now the oldest living generation. It was born worldwide between 1900 to 1925.  This generation has seen in their youth the two World Wars and had passed through the Great Depression. Most grew up without electricity, refrigerators, or credit cards. Sometimes called the greatest generation. 

Basic features of GI generationGI generation is regarded as the Greatest Generation. Following basic features of this generation distinguish it from other generations.

  • Personal Responsibility.
  • Integrity.
  • Humility.
  • Work Ethic.
  • Financial Prudence.
  • Faithful Commitment.

Silent Generation/Traditionalists, (born from 1925 to 1945) –  Silent generation people were raised during a period of war and economic depression. This generation are loyal. They valued  respect more than money. They were not technologically advanced as later generations are. They have brought a strong work ethic into the factories of industrialized society. They valued tradition.

Some common characteristics of this generation have been  

  • Disciplined life style,
  • Upholding of values, gratitude and an appreciation for the “simplicities” in life.
  • A strong sense of determination and willpower
  • They work hard. Raised by turn-of-the-century farmers, this generation brought a strong work ethic into the factories of industrialized society.
  • They are loyal.
  • They cared more for respect rather than money.
  • Not technologically advanced.
  • The silent generation steers away from wastage and
  •  Places significant value on economic resources.

Baby-boomers, Birth years 1940 and 1964Baby boomers are those people born worldwide between Great Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. Shaping events in the life of baby-boomers have been Post-WWII optimism, the cold war, and the hippie movement.

A dramatic increase in the number of births happened in United States, Canada, and Australia after World War II, when soldiers returned home and began family life, (from 1946 to 1964 in the United States 1947 to 1966 in Canada and 1946 to 1961 in Australia). The government encouraged people to have large families. People wanted the additional tax exemptions offered for having children. With the war over and the economy growing, people were more prepared to raise children. This brought about a significant number of new children into the world. That is why it is called as Baby Boomers. This generation of “baby boomers” was the result of a strong post World War II economy.

New births continued to grow throughout the 1940s and 1950s, leading to a peak in the late 1950s. Years from 1957 to 1961 were the peak birth years in raw number of births for a nation even though the total national population was 60% of its current population.

According to Christopher Pappas, January 29, 2016,  characteristics of Baby-boomers –

  • Strong work ethic. Baby boomers aren’t afraid to put in a hard day of work.
  • Self-Assured. This generation is independent and self-assured.
  • Competitive. Baby boomers like competition.
  • Goal-centric.
  • Resourceful.
  • Mentally focused.
  • Team oriented.
  • Disciplined.

Baby Boomers’ Motivations are Rooted in Tradition. What they value  in life is “safety in one’s community and nation”, which includes stability of society, national security and social order. For them, life is about a strong state and a stable society.

It is the longest-living generation in history. With it, grew the population world-over because of age longevity as well. Evidence-based studies indicate that age longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. Significant factors responsible for it have been gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and remarkable advancement in medical science.

They have gone through the entire period of technological developments – the rise and development of the media. Baby boomers are the biggest consumers of traditional media like television, radio, magazines, and newspaper. Despite being so traditional 90% of baby boomers have a Facebook account. This generation has begun to adopt more technology in order to stay in touch with family members and reconnect with old friends.  

They have enjoyed stability in terms of both work and family and being active both physically and mentally. They believe that one should take care of their children enough to set them on the right course and don’t plan on leaving any inheritance. They are less dependent on smartphones than the next generations. Today, all-over the world, it is a big problem as how society should cope with an aging population.

Generation X, Birth Years (1965 to 1979) – Generation X followed the Boomers. It grew up in an era of emerging technology and political and institutional incompetence. Watergate, Three Mile Island, Bhopal, the Iranian hostage crisis, Iran-Contra and the Clinton-Lewinsky debacles mark the emergence of this generation.

They are self-sufficient, resourceful and individualistic, since they have been accustomed to caring for themselves since before reaching adulthood. They value freedom and responsibility and try to overcome challenges on their own.  Generation X was nowhere near as populous as the generation og Baby-boomers. Birth rate dropped after 1964.

Shaping events in Generation X’s life have been End of the cold war, the rise of personal computing, and feeling lost between the two huge generations.

They grew up with minimal adult supervision and  learned the value of independence and work-life balance. They also appreciate informality, are technologically adept, digitally savvy, flexible and highly educated. But still read newspapers, magazines, listens to radio, watch TV. While purchasing, their preference is in brands with superior product history, like Apple or Google.

They didn’t have a blatant cultural identifier. Individualism, ambition and an addiction to work, or being a workaholic, are the values with which Generation X grew up. Finding a job was a great challenge for them. To work and produce has been their philosophy of life, leaving no room for idealism. From 1990 on, the number of births has remained somewhat constant.

Millennials (Birth years 1980 to 1994) – Millennials are also known as Gen Y. Millennials are likely the most studied and talked about generation to date. They are the first generation in history that have grown up totally immersed in a world of digital technology, which has shaped their identities and created lasting political, social and cultural attitudes. This generation is the most populated in modern history. it is the generation which has been born into the technological world, They are the youth of the new millennium. It is more progressive and creative. Shaping events in their life have been the great recession, technological  explosion,  internet, social media and 9/11. People born between 1980 and 2000 are the most civic-minded since the generation of the 1930s and 1940s,” claimed USA Today. They are the smartest, richest generation and potentially longest living generation of all time. They have less brand loyalty than previous generations. Nurtured and pampered by parents who didn’t want to make the mistakes of the previous generation, millennials are confident, ambitious, and achievement-oriented. They also have high expectations of their employers, tend to seek new challenges at work, and aren’t afraid to question authority.

  • Values meaningful motivation.
  • Challenges the hierarchy status-quo.
  • Places importance on relationships with superiors.
  • Intuitive knowledge of technology.
  • Open and adaptive to change.
  • Places importance on tasks rather than time.
  • Passion for learning.
  • Openly receptive to feedback and recognition
  • Free-thinking and creative
  • Values social interactions in the workplace

Surprising Traits That Make Millennials Excellent Employees – Seven surprising traits that make Millennials excellent employees are as following: –

  1. Curiosity – Eager to learn new skills.
  2. Individuality – Most of the times they think that they are somehow different from everyone else.
  3.  Social service –  Millennials focus on larger societal needs rather than individual needs.  They care about a variety of social causes, such as climate change and social equality.
  4. Financial stability – The Great Recession made a lasting impact on the millennial generation. So much so that millennials are making financial decisions focused on maintaining stability rather than striking it rich..
  5. Technological innovation – Millennials are a digital generation. They were born when the internet, personal computers and cell-phones went mainstream. As a result, millennials are obsessed with technology. They are extremely comfortable with mobile devices like their parents. They typically have multiple social media accounts.
  6. Regular feedback –  Millennial workers welcome  regular feedback to improve their performance professionally, rather than taking it as praise.
  7. Collaboration – They are not self-centered like prior generations and believe to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose.

Generation Z, birth years 1995 to 2019 Generation Z has got internet access at a young heavy users of mobile devices. It is similar to Gen X in financial attitudes but desires to avoid debt after seeing Millennials struggle. Some special features of this generation are as following –

  • It is financially focused. For it, their job is the most important thing in life. They do not mind taking up a job that provides a steady income and necessary benefits even if it isn’t their dream job. Many of them have financial education. They believe in savings more than their prior generations.
  • It is entrepreneurial. It believes  that  money can be made from good ideas and they aren’t afraid to chase those ideas.
  • It is all about technology. Persons of this generation are well connected as Internet and cell phones have been easily accessible to them.
  • Generation Z still likes face to face interaction.
  • It is very focused and highly competitive in most areas of life. It wants best of everything in life. Competition constantly drives them.
  • Change is welcomed by Generation Z.
  • Gen Z has a lot of knowledge and exposure to many different topics. With this breadth of knowledge, they constantly seek new ideas and experiences.
  • This Generation wants to be heard. Having access to so much information, Gen Z has strong opinions and wants them to be heard. This is especially true in the workplace, where they expect to be an equal contributor.
  • Diversity doesn’t even register with Generation Z.
  • Generation Z prefers independence.

Generation Alpha Birth year 2010 to 2024Australian researcher Mark McCrindle named the youngest cohort born from 2010-2024, as  Generation Alpha which other platforms leave out and have failed to update: he called those.

Generation Alpha Characteristics – This generation is yet to join the work-force. It is hoped that

  • It will be the most educated Generation in history.
  • They are expected to be tech-savvy.
  • Artificial Intelligence is supposed to be their reality. Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving etc.
  • Their learning will be highly personalized.
  • Social media could be their dominant mode of interaction.
  • They may not like the sharing economy.
  • They might not play by the rules.

Conclusion – In recent past, times are changing at a very fast speed.            With it, major changes has happened in outlook of the people of different generations. Generation gap has been increasing continuously. It does not take a 25 year age difference to make a generation gap. Today, a nineteen year old will have a hard time to understand the mindset of a seventeen-year-old. Generation gap is a major problem of the society.

Root cause of generation gap – Generation gap. Generation gap results in conflict among family members of different generations i.e. youth, and their parents or grand-parents. It is more between children and parents, the gap becomes even wider in case of grandparents and grandchildren. Various factors cause generation gap. Some of them being age-longevity, changes in society values and systems, inter-racial/interregional/inter-caste marriages, mobility or immigration of social groups, advancement of medical science and rapid technological advancements.

The root cause of the gap is lack of free and frank communication between different age groups, which creates misunderstanding and disharmony between the young and the old. Concept of “right and wrong” has been a major cause of conflict between the elders and the young. The young feel the elders to be old-fashioned, the old think the young to be shallow, narrow-minded and self-centred. Another reason is the advancement of technology at a very fast speed. During 20th century, the difference between the older and young generation was increased because older generations have not been so familiar with new technological advancements. Older generation is not so quick to understand and use new technology. And now with of revolution in Information technology especially happened around 70’s, it does not take a 25 year age difference to make a generation gap. Today, a nineteen year old will have a hard time to understand the mindset of a seventeen-year-old.

How to bridge the gap – It is very difficult to bridge the gap. But attempts can definitely be made to minimise it through –

  1. Focus on similarities. The basic approach is to focus on similarities and not the differences between the various generations.
  2. Keep communication open.
  3. Encourage mentoring.
  4. Give value to seniors.
  5. Set out expectations clearly.

November 20, 2020 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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