Boom Generation

The Boom Generation (Prophet, born 1943–1960) basked as children in Dr. Spock permissiveness, suburban conformism, Beaver Cleaver friendliness, and Father Knows Best complacency. From the Summer of Love to the Days of Rage, they came of age rebelling against the worldly blueprints of their parents. Even as they proclaimed themselves “flowerpower” arbiters of public morals, youth pathologies worsened—and SAT scores began a 17-yearslide. In the early 1980s, many young adults became self-absorbed “yuppies” with mainstream careers and perfectionist lifestyles. In the early 1990s, they entered midlife and national power, trumpeting values and visions, touting a “politics of meaning,” and waging scorched-earthCulture Wars. Today, their net worth blighted by the Great Recession, most Boomers are postponing “retirement”—and preparing for an elderhood in which wisdom and meaning will have to substitute for creature comforts. (AMERICAN: Bill & Hillary Clinton, George & Laura Bush, Steve Jobs, Cornel West, Robin Williams; FOREIGN: Tony Blair, Binyamin Netanyahu)

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