Millennials get a lot of stick. They call us overly-sensitive snowflakes and lampoon us for spending money on lavish brunches instead of saving up for house deposits.
Apparently we’re all obsessed with ourselves, take too many selfies and are awful humans for organising hook-ups via dating apps.
But it could in fact be that the baby boomers are a more egotistical generation than millennials.
According to writer and venture capitalist Bruce Gibney, baby boomers are a “generation of sociopaths.”
In his new book, he argues that their “reckless self-indulgence” is in fact what set the example for millennials.
Gibney describes boomers as “acting without empathy, prudence, or respect for facts - acting, in other words, as sociopaths.”
And he’s not the first person to suggest this.
Back in 1976, journalist Tom Wolfe dubbed the young adults then coming of age the “Me Generation” in the New York Times, which is a term now widely used to describe millennials.
But the baby boomers grew up in a very different climate to today’s young adults.
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When the generation born after World War Two were starting to make their way in the world, it was a time of economic prosperity.
“For the first half of the boomers particularly, they came of age in a time of fairly effortless prosperity, and they were conditioned to think that everything gets better each year without any real effort,” Gibney explained to The Huffington Post.
“So they really just assume that things are going to work out, no matter what. That’s unhelpful conditioning.
“You have 25 years where everything just seems to be getting better, so you tend not to try as hard, and you have much greater expectations about what society can do for you, and what it owes you.”
And millennials now are facing far higher levels of debt and unemployment than their parents.
Gibney puts forward the argument that boomers - specifically white, middle-class ones - tend to have genuine sociopathic traits.
He backs up his argument with mental health data which appears to show that this generation have more anti-social characteristics than others - lack of empathy, disregard for others, egotism and impulsivity, for example.
“We have an enormous amount of data about the boomer mainstream, and it matches up surprisingly well with the description of antisocial personality disorder,” Gibney explains.
But even if this is true, it’s worth noting that there isn’t much historical mental health data with which to compare the stats for baby boomers.Reuse content