When Dustin Hoffman was “the graduate,” he could at least consider a job in plastics. Nowadays the jobs have been sent abroad, communities are being destabilized by budget cuts, and many of the entry-level opportunities for young people, if they exist at all, are pretty soul-deadening. The world that is being bequeathed to the younger generation is in serious decline if not decadence – yet the corporate and political elite who run the show seem incapable of turning things around. Indeed, they don’t really seem to want to. What’s a twenty-something supposed to do?
Shareable Magazine has just released a lively book that provides a few answers. It doesn't offer any grand manifestos so much as a series of highly personal, evocative testimonies filled with rays of hope. Share or Die: Voices of the Get Lost Generation in the Age of Crisis, is an eclectic collection of essays about the ways that young people are trying to build happier, wholesome, workable lives for themselves as the edifice of late-stage capitalism begins to implode. Edited by Malcolm Harris with Neal Gorenflo (New Society Publishers), the book brings to the surface, in authentic, heartfelt ways, the frustrations and triumphs of young people trying to find their footings.
Here are some of those voices:
An anonymous, self-described “nomad” describes why he has chosen of life on the road. It’s not as if he has a script or a deadline for his travels; he’s just wandering. He advises, “You need to be resourceful and confident, reasonably streetwise, but also open to the prospect that most people are basically good. The kindness of people I meet on the road continues to overwhelm me, and I aim to both repay it and pass it on as far as possible.” The nomad itemizes what’s in his backpack (his netbook, ancient mobile phone and waterproof jacket), and why.