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People Don’t Change, But Older People Think They Do

It’s wild to me how frequently an older person’s response to hearing about the hardships of younger generations more or less boils down to “Yup, people sure suck more than they used to.” I recently mentioned to someone in their ‘60s that the majority of households wouldn’t be able to weather a \$400 emergency, and they replied with something along the lines of “maybe people should cut expenses and save more”. Like what has happened in the last 30 years is that people just became more spendthrift-y and less cautious.

People don’t really change. Thirty-somethings aren’t substantially different now than they were 30, 60, or 90 years ago. You know older people know this, because they (reasonably) insist on giving advice to younger people—which would be totally irrational if people were materially different now than they used to be.

But somehow when it comes to evaluating the cause of societal trouble, it basically always comes around to “people just suck more now”.

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