[Marxism] Fwd: The New Adulthood - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Apr 8 07:45:12 MDT 2015
Anything but linear, the transition to adulthood is now also determined
more and more by economics — and marked by social class. Gone are many
of the middle-wage blue-collar jobs that had allowed an earlier
generation of young men to achieve financial independence by their early
or mid-20s. The shift to a knowledge economy requires a prolonged
investment in education, but working-class Americans are far more likely
than their middle-class counterparts to enroll in a two-year college or
a for-profit institution, and never receive a degree.
Parents who can provide substantial financial support realize that in
this new world — in which the average adult will experience 11 job
changes and three different careers — young people need time to mature,
build their résumés, and develop the character traits necessary for
success: resilience, flexibility, and a willingness to take risks. The
parents best able to provide that support are, of course, already affluent.
Yet even as it has become harder for young men without a college degree
to get a job that could support a family, young adults without family
obligations have new forms of entertainment and recreation that are
relatively cheap. Casual jobs, temporary relationships, cohabiting, and
partying offer an attractive alternative to those without much hope of a
professional future or a temporary detour for those who do.
For some young people, the 20s, then, have become a decade of
self-discovery and unprecedented opportunities to travel and to explore
relationships and occupations. Or they are the decade in which young
lives go awry, replacing adolescence as the most risk-filled decade in a
person’s life, with high rates of binge drinking, unplanned pregnancies,
and involvement in crime. By the mid-20s, a significant number of young
people are seriously off-track. They haven’t graduated from high school
or received a GED, or are entangled in the criminal-justice system, or
disconnected from either jobs and education.
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