The Breaking of the Intergenerational Contract

Recent headlines on Austria’s Presidential elections, the Brexit and the reaffirmed shift from the Socialist Party to the Podemos movement in Spain are actually more about imbalance between the parties to the so called Intergeneration Contract than political ideologies. Maybe such polarization between generations is not even new, but due to the acceleration in multiplication of information things became more present. Unfortunately in many polls more young than elderly skip their participation, having lost their confidence in their influence on societal developments.

Indeed the principles of raising state debts to be paid back by successors can be depressing for the young and judging effectivity of all this deficit spending by the education they get, not giving them job-certainties post qualification achievements makes the discomforts even worse. Looking at what happened to Austria’s strong tradition of dual education for craftsmen and skilled tradesmen or engineers during secondary high school age that had built my own generation’s productive efficiency, makes me really sad. The complete misinterpretation of “equal opportunity” populism undermined the principles of individual carrier choices by vocation or talent in return for a lower average graduation qualification value in the previously higher education.

During my times as a board member of my local county’s advisory council for tertiary education I strongly advocated for applied know how conveying bachelor colleges leaving master courses and onward doctorates open, as well as opening these colleges up for graduates from apparentices’ skilled laborers if they passed an entrance examination within a certain grace period. Now Austria’s education sector even wants to abandon scoring as a measure of learning performance – it is like a soccer game without counting goals, or in Austria may be a better example, downhill skiing without measuring time, etc. Although when my kids went through school it was already absolutely uncool among their classmates to have good scores. Luckily, my kids always had been socially highly competent and top athletes in sports and couldn’t care less about any attempts to get mobbed.

If Europe wants to learn its lessons from Brexit, it must focus on just a very few things -: I.) Educational reforms that entice elites that can model excellent followers pulling high skill performers; II.) renovate its infrastructures towards sustainable practice, most rewarding wherever Carbon is squandered today, as its recycling for reuse can actually pay for the capital expenditures necessary and deliver future welfare dividends to its citizens, rather than continuing socialization of uncovered cost overruns as today; III.) stop the good guy (national government) bad guy (European Parliament) Punch and Judy show and commit to a European Parliament composition led by the idea of full representation of all the European Regions as a much broader common denominator than Nationalities. Common policy agendas by majorities among similarly challenged regions of Europe and the balancing out of priority themes among different regions by parliamentary devolution could restore Europe’s best intentions to a successful upshot.

Embarking on Carbon Efficiency reengineering of Europe’s infrastructure, respectively building in the new member states in need to catch-up with standards in the first place, can create half a million new jobs paid off by itself, reducing Europe’s dependence on oil price volatility, making sustainable use of local resources and reducing disposal of aerial Carbon into atmospheric stock by up to 1bln tonnes per year by 2030.

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