75% of British youth blame capitalism for climate change and racism
A new poll by the right-wing Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) reveals 75% of young Bits think socialism is a “good idea.” And they point to capitalism as the root of the world’s biggest problems such as climate change and racism.
The IEA unsurprisingly strikes an alarmist tone at the recent study results, as the study points to an emerging and longer-term trend that’s taking hold amongst a younger, more socially conscientious generation.
Jeremy Corbyn’s run as Labour leader revived the British youth and even though he stepped down – the movement he founded is still active amongst grassroots, the young and those in university.
“The rise of mass movements such as Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion, the ‘Greta Thunberg movement’ and Momentum, together with the ‘campus culture wars’, have been significant events over the last few years in politicising the youth in a left-wing direction, the report warns.
It has been long assumed that young people go through a left-wing phase but abandon socialist ideas as they grow older – becoming social democrats of conservatives with a small ‘c’.
The report author Dr Kristian Niemietz says that idea can’t be a guide to the future of how this generation will react.
The report defined the socialist worldview as an “economic system whereby business, trade and industry is mostly run and owned by the government. Prices and wages are determined mainly by the government.”
Millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – are “hyper-politicised” and likely to embrace “woke and anti-capitalist ideas,” according to the report.
The report warns that even those at the higher end of the millennial age group (those who would be almost 40) still held socialist views.
Even those towards the higher end of the millennial age group, who would today be almost 40, still essentially held socialist views, the report warned.
In 2016, a poll showed the British public was more likely to view socialism favourably than capitalism.
The IEA reports warns policymakers they need to wake up to the growing threat posed by these ideas – the IEA is close to Boris Johnson’s government.
For too long, the prevailing idea amongst neo-liberal figures has been that “young people have always gone through a juvenile socialist phase or they will grow out of it,” says Niemietz from the report.
“There are no detectable differences between the economic attitudes of people in their late teens and people in their early 40s. It is no longer true that people ‘grow out of socialist ideas as they get older.”
The IEA, which campaign’s to privatise the NHS, reduce workers rights and relax environmental standards as a way of boosting the economy, is struggling to defend those ideas as younger people become more aware of the climate crisis.
Growing inequality in the UK and a growing sense that capitalism has gone too far and is destroying the environment has resulted in many young people concluding that is what capitalism stands for.
The report says its perhaps this reason that alternatives like socialism are associated with more favourable terms like “equal” and “fair.”
The report found that 75 per cent of younger people blame capitalism for the climate crisis, and 71 per cent believe that capitalism fuels racism. Another 73 per cent agree that capitalism fuels selfishness, greed, and materialism, “while a socialist system would promote solidarity, compassion and cooperation.”
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