Wealth, inheritance and inter-generational conflict

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The ‘one percenters’ must be enjoying the spectacle of young adults fighting baby boomers for the privileges of a diminishing middle class lifestyle. Unfortunately, the inter-generational conflict frame pervades many conventional analyses of social inequality.

generations-conflict-medium-125366117

Inter-generational tensions arose from a recent, testy exchange involving Martyn Bradbury and Chris Trotter. The former noted the declining life chances of young adults compared to their baby boomer parents. Since the early 1990s, growing unemployment, precarious jobs, student loans, rising property prices and declining living standards had impoverished an entire generation of New Zealanders. Meanwhile, an older generation of New Zealanders reaped the advantages of full employment, tax-funded tertiary study and affordable home ownership. For these people the protections of the welfare state would be nicely complemented by the prospect of weekly superannuation payments from the age of 65. One should also mention the prospect of a raised age limit, introduced just in time to discriminate against younger cohorts as the baby boomers die off. These trenchant observations provoked an even more trenchant response. In a recent blogpost Chris Trotter accused his younger ‘comrade’ of ‘fomenting inter-generational warfare’ and suggested that this would turn ‘children against their parents or grandparents’. At this point, more heat than light was being generated. My purpose here is to lower the temperature and clarify the issue at hand.

Our discussion must first acknowledge growing inequalities of class. Back in 1996, after 12 years of neoliberal policies, a study of household income data revealed the rate and extent of socioeconomic polarization. In 1983-84, New Zealand’s top income decile received 25.62% of the national ‘cake’. In 1995-96, they received 29.61%, a rise of 25%. The top 5% increased their national share from 15.28% to 19.04% over the same period. The lowest decile received 2.05% of national income in 1983-84 and 1.7% in 1995-96. Meanwhile, the bottom eight deciles all suffered a loss of cash benefits. According to the authors of this study, ‘New Zealand’s economic reform programme over the period 1984-96 saw the very rich becoming even richer while the bulk of the rest of the population because poorer in relative terms, with the poorest faring worst’ (Chatterjee & Podder, 1998, p. 13)1.

This was the net result of reducing the progressivity of income tax, privatizing state assets, cutting unemployment and single parent benefits, and commercializing the provision of health and education. For those within the bottom decile, living costs increased, secure jobs disappeared as homelessness and overcrowding became the norm. Just think of food banks, crime, drugs, gangs and the disintegration of working class culture – in Porirua, East Tamaki and former Bay of Plenty forestry towns. No inter-generational differences of opportunity in these places. Everyone is poor – kids, parents and grandparents. For families within the top decile, life is comfortable; freehold home ownership and safe surroundings, mum and dad are on high salaries with sufficient investments to cover their children’s education. Of course, the ‘one percenters’ live on a different planet, the millions invested in shares, property and financial holdings will easily cover the costs of raising a family. Teenagers can look forward to a trust-funded university education, overseas travel and the likelihood of career success. No inter-generational conflict here either. I’m sure that John and Bronagh Key are not at odds, financially, with their children, Max and Stephanie. At the same time, however, the middle classes have been squeezed. Without inherited wealth, it is increasingly difficult for parents on professional incomes to provide a future for their children. Student loans eat into family income and saving for first homes in a desirable suburb becomes an impossibility. Although the resulting inter-generational conflict is real, it must be seen as an effect of socio-economic polarisation. In these surroundings, middle class life chances and social mobility diminishes as inherited wealth becomes essential for a decent life. Thomas Picketty argues that this has become the norm in all Western countries:

… younger people, in particular those born in the 1970s and 1980s, have already experienced (to a certain extent) the important role that inheritance will once again play in their lives and the lives of their relatives and friends. For this group, for example, whether or not a child receives gifts from parents can have a major impact in deciding who will own property and who will not, at what age, and how extensive that property will be – in any case, to a much greater extent than in the previous generation. Inheritance is playing a larger part in their lives, careers, and individual and family choices than it did with the baby boomers (Picketty,2014: 381).

The ‘one percenters’ must be enjoying the spectacle of young adults fighting baby boomers for the privileges of a diminishing middle class lifestyle. Unfortunately, the inter-generational conflict frame pervades many conventional analyses of social inequality. A recent Guardian Weekly investigation entitled ‘The Betrayal of Generation Y’ illustrates the point. Caelinn Barr and Shiv Malik conclude that

A combination of debt, joblessness, globalisation, demographics and rising house prices is depressing the incomes and prospects of millions of young people across the developed world, resulting in unprecedented inequality between generations (Barr & Malik, 2016: 1).

I don’t doubt the statistical evidence here, only the causal analysis. Debt, joblessness and rising house prices resulting from austerity policies are not just ‘depressing the incomes and prospects of millions of young people’. This plight consumes everybody from all age groups without access to inherited wealth. I rest my case.

 

1 Chatterjee, S. & Podder, W. (1998). Sharing the National Cake in Post-reform New Zealand: Income Inequality Trends in Terms of Income Sources, paper delivered to New Zealand Association of Economists, Wellington, September.

2Picketty, T. (2014). Capital in the Twenty First Century. Belknap: Harvard University Press.

3Barr, C. & Malik, S. (2016). The Betrayal of Generation Y. Guardian Weekly, 11-17 March.

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83 Comments

  1. Afewknowthetruth says:

    Most young people are yet to discover the extent to which they have been lied to and betrayed by politicians and ‘community leaders’.

    One reason, probably the most important reason, we do not see young people rioting in the streets is the phenomenon of baseline shift, whereby people growing up in a particular set of living arrangements believe those living conditions to be normal; a child born in yurt in Mongolia and growing up in a yurt society believes yurts are normal; a child born in a war-torn ghetto knows nothing else and believe ghetto life is normal; a child born into a world of digital screen believes digital screens are normal.

    In practice, everything most people take for granted in modern industrial societies -everything from comfortable houses to pension schemes- is a gross aberration in the grand scheme of things, and none of what we see around us is sustainable because it is all dependent on the consumption of fossil fuels and the generation of pollution that will render the Earth largely or completely uninhabitable.

    Young people will live through one of five scenarios:

    1. Use of fossil fuels will decline fairly soon because the cost of extracting them and the Energy Return On Energy Invested continues to fall: starved of fossil fuels, industrial societies will disintegrate.

    https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/tverberg-estimate-of-future-energy-production.png

    2. Use of fossil fuels will continue because governments will prop up any insane scheme imaginable in a futile attempt to maintain status quo, and the overheating of the Earth will continue to accelerate until life become unbearable.

    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/wp-content/plugins/sio-bluemoon/graphs/co2_800k_zoom.png

    3. There will be military conflict amongst nations to secure the last of the fossil fuels and the ‘winners’ will continue to use them whilst the losers will have none and will be plunged immediately into reality.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-10-17/us-warships-en-route-islands-china-asks-what-earth-makes-them-think-we-will-tolerate

    4. Use of fossil fuels will be phased out because the magnitude of the planetary emergence will finally be accepted by governments.

    (Cannot see this happening)

    5. Societies will become increasingly fascistic and those at the top will ‘push the general populace off the cliff’ in order to maintain their privileges in the short term.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-06/slide-toward-%E2%80%9Cvelvet-glove%E2%80%9D-fascism-continues

    • Nick says:

      I can see Afewknowthetruth, (good name, does that include or exclude you?) that your heart really wasn’t in “4”. But one way or another, surely “4” is the only outcome possible. The question is really only whether it will happen in time to have a useful effect on climate change.

      Of course, there is an outside chance that you are right and the planet turns into a smoking cinder wheeling endlessly in space. In that case, please feel free to say “I told you so” and by all means include yourself among the Fewwhoknowthetruth. My bad.

      • Sam Sam says:

        No way. We can’t rely on a bunch of bitching toddlers to solve problems, MP’s just take all the credit

      • Afewknowthetruth says:

        Nick, do you see any indication governments are remotely interested in curtailing emissions? Do you see anything other than empty rhetoric and lies?

        The Key government narrative is:

        1. Extract fossil fuels and waste them as quickly as possible on corporatized sport, entertainment, tourism and consumerism etc.

        2. Ignore all the scientific evidence (and simple logic) that fossil fuels are finite.

        3. Ignore all the scientific evidence that accelerating environmental meltdown is underway, a planetary emergency due to out-of-control emissions:

        https://www.co2.earth/co2-acceleration

        and

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/78164975/carbon-emissions-highest-in-66-million-years-since-dinosaur-age

        4. Promote policies that make everything that matters rapidly worse.

        The Key government is not alone in such insanity and similar polices are established throughout the ‘developed’ world.

        This dismal state of affairs is a natural consequence of a near-global political system that primarily serves the short-term interests of the few and in doing so sacrifices the many….. including the next generation.

        I have been raising the alarm with respect to resource depletion and Abrupt Climate Change for over 15 years, and every year have witnessed everything that matters being made worse by governments, whilst fuckwits have denigrated the very concept of limits and governments have made everything worse.

        Hence, I have no faith in governments (as currently configured) ever doing the right thing when it comes to the next generation.

        I am ‘lucky’ because, at nearly 66 years old, I won’t have to face what younger people will have to face in a few decades.

        • fatty says:

          “made worse by governments”

          Or made worse by voters? It’s all very well blaming governments, but people keep voting for a fossil economy.

          I do agree with your overall points though

          • Afewknowthetruth says:

            I believe the important question is this: would people vote for continued use of fossil fuels (and planetary meltdown and their own demise) if they were not lied to on a continuous basis by the government and the corporate media?

            We know the government is not going to tell the truth about anything (the fraudulent nature of the monetary system, the demographic ‘cliff’, the phony nature of GDP, the real reason for wars, the true state of the energy system, the true state of the environmental and the prospect of collapse etc.) because we have confidence based system, but at some stage in the near future the official narrative will be plainly seen to be a pack of lies. Then what?

      • Nick J says:

        Agree AFKTT that we are due for the chop when fossil fuels run out. Our theft is not merely intergenerational, it is planetary on future generations. We have caused the latest mega extinction event, we have ruined our environment. Man has acted as a global parasitic virus.

        I don’t see any realistic chance of redemption until we go through the stages of alcohol / addiction recovery. We first need to recognise that there is a problem. We need willingly to get rid of the SUV, try that with a petroleum addict!

        Unlike others I do not blame neoliberalism or the one percent, they are us and we are them. Industrial fossil energy man, that’s us. At worst we are their willing slaves.

        And to prove our addiction you and I blog away using a technology that is impossible without petrochemicals and fossil energy. Soon I will catch the diesel bus to air-conditioned work.

    • Quick Thinking says:

      You forgot an option, The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18).
      Lots of different views about the existence of God but the worse things get here the more chance there is that an outside power is what we need.

  2. International Rescue says:

    Hi Wayne. I grew up in a single income, working class family in Auckland. My family couldn’t afford to put me through university, so I worked full time and studied part time. I had no special privileges, I had to work for everything I had. Soon after I bought my first house in 1985 interest rates reached close to 20%, and the economy, and with it my job prospects, suffered immensely as the country adjusted to the economic reforms.

    Today my children have far more opportunities than I did. The job market is more diverse, the education system provides a wider choice of options. In NZ today we have close to full employment, indeed we have many industries/occupations with significant skills shortages. Interest rates are low, inflation close to zero, and we take home more of what we earn.

    If I had a time machine, I would swap with my children in a heartbeat.

    • Sam Sam says:

      Those choices you speak of is just plastic trinkets and junk gmo.

      Nobody acknowledges let alone understands that for every dollar you save at the warehouse, your losing a dollar in wages.

      NZ’s clothing ranges are from two seasons ago, you can jump the cue by paying a bit extra online, but that kind of defeats the purpose of tricking working poor in to thinking they live like kings through junk GMO sold at the warehouse.

      Our fruit an veg is on average two thirds less nutrient rich than its 1970’s equivalent. Disastrous health effects there.

      It’s hard to say when New Zealand was more happier, what with the phenomenon of white supremacy. But judging from my family photos I’d have to say the seventies was the more happier lifestyle. Then of course capitalism peaked in 1980, and we’ve been bitching about muh wage gap ever since.

      • Richard Christie says:

        Our fruit an veg is on average two thirds less nutrient rich than its 1970’s equivalent.

        I call bullshit on this.
        Have you a source?

        • Sam Sam says:

          Here is the raw copy and pasta. I’ll let some one with a bit more manners worry about fixing the structure. Enjoy the light reading 🙂

          ———————/-/-/-/—/—————————————

          Energy use, blue water footprint, and greenhouse gas emissions
          for current food consumption patterns and dietary
          recommendations in the US
          Michelle S. Tom
          1

          Paul S. Fischbeck
          2

          Chris T. Hendrickson
          1
          Ó
          Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015
          Abstract
          This article measures the changes in energy
          use, blue water footprint, and greenhouse gas (GHG)
          emissions associated with shifting from current US food
          consumption patterns to three dietary scenarios, which are
          based, in part, on the 2010 USDA
          Dietary Guidelines
          (US
          Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health
          and Human Services in Dietary Guidelines for Americans,
          2010, 7th edn, US Government Printing Office, Washing-
          ton,
          2010
          ). Amidst the current overweight and obesity
          epidemic in the USA, the
          Dietary Guidelines
          provide food
          and beverage recommendations that are intended to help
          individuals achieve and maintain healthy weight. The three
          dietary scenarios we examine include (1) reducing Caloric
          intake levels to achieve ‘‘normal’’ weight without shifting
          food mix, (2) switching current food mix to USDA rec-
          ommended food patterns, without reducing Caloric intake,
          and (3) reducing Caloric intake levels and shifting current
          food mix to USDA recommended food patterns, which
          support healthy weight. This study finds that shifting from
          the current US diet to dietary Scenario 1 decreases energy
          use, blue water footprint, and GHG emissions by around
          9 %, while shifting to dietary Scenario 2 increases energy
          use by 43 %, blue water footprint by 16 %, and GHG
          emissions by 11 %. Shifting to dietary Scenario 3, which
          accounts for both reduced Caloric intake and a shift to the
          USDA recommended food mix, increases energy use by
          38 %, blue water footprint by 10 %, and GHG emissions
          by 6 %. These perhaps counterintuitive results are pri-
          marily due to USDA recommendations for greater Caloric
          intake of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and fish/seafood, which
          have relatively high resource use and emissions per
          Calorie.
          Keywords
          Energy use
          Blue water footprint
          GHG
          emissions
          Food consumption
          Diet
          1 Introduction
          Most media discourse surrounding overweight and obesity
          tends to focus exclusively on human health and healthcare
          costs (Thompson et al.
          1999
          ,
          2001
          ; Dixon
          2010
          ). However,
          there is a growing recognition that dietary behaviors
          associated with overweight and obesity have environmen-
          tal effects in addition to health implications. As a sign of
          this growing recognition, the US Dietary Guidelines
          Advisory Committee (DGAC) has recommended for the
          first time that sustainability should be an integral part of
          developing the
          Dietary Guidelines for Americans
          (Merri-
          gan et al.
          2015
          ), which are published by the US Depart-
          ment of Agriculture (USDA) and US Department of Health
          and Human Services every 5 years. In light of this devel-
          opment and mounting evidence that diet and sustainability
          are intertwined, our study analyzes the environmental
          implications that food consumption patterns contributing to
          extra body weight and diet-related diseases have on energy
          use, blue water footprint, and greenhouse gas (GHG)
          emissions in the US food supply system. Furthermore,
          while Heller and Keoleian (
          2014
          ) have evaluated the GHG
          emissions impact of adopting the USDA recommended
          diet, our analysis is the first to examine the multiple effects
          that shifting to the USDA dietary recommendations has on
          energy use, blue water footprint, and GHG emissions. The
          blue water footprint refers to the volume of freshwater
          taken from the surface or ground to create a product, and
          which has then evaporated, been incorporated into the
          product, or been returned to a separate catchment from
          which it was originally withdrawn (Hoekstra et al.
          2011
          ).
          Heller and Keoleian (
          2014
          ) determined that shifting
          from our current average diet to the USDA recommended
          diet (for a population engaged in moderate physical
          activity) could reduce GHG emissions within the food
          supply chain by 1 %. However, they also find that shifting
          food mix alone without accounting for decreased Caloric
          intake could increase diet-related GHG emissions by 12 %.
          While our study also examines the impact on emissions of
          shifting to the USDA dietary recommendations, we assume
          different Caloric intake levels and include only adults in
          our analysis. Further explanation is provided in subsequent
          sections. In another study similar to ours, Meier and
          Christen (
          2013
          ) determine that, in Germany, switching
          from current dietary patterns to the German Nutrition
          Society dietary recommendations could reduce energy use
          by 7 %, blue water use by 26 %, GHG emissions by 11 %,
          and land use by 15 %. Meanwhile, Vanham et al. (
          2013a
          )
          find that adopting these same dietary guidelines in the
          entire European Union (EU) and Croatia would reduce
          their diet-related water footprint by 23 %.
          Additionally, a number of studies investigate the
          impacts of various other diets on the environment. Vanham
          et al. (
          2013a
          ), for example, find that the EU and Croatia as
          a whole could reduce their total diet-related water footprint
          by 30 % if they reduced their meat consumption by half or
          by 38 % if they adopted a vegetarian diet. In another
          similar study, Vanham et al. (
          2013b
          ) evaluate the water
          footprint for three diets—current, healthy (based on
          regional Food-Based Dietary Guidelines), and vegetar-
          ian—in four regions of the EU and determine that transi-
          tioning to either the healthy diet or a vegetarian diet
          substantially reduces the total water footprint in all regions.
          Meanwhile, Vanham and Bidoglio (
          2014
          ) examine the
          impact of these same diets on the water footprint of agri-
          cultural products in 365 European river basins and deter-
          mine that shifting to the healthy or vegetarian diet would
          reduce the water footprint in most of the basins. Marlow
          et al. (
          2009
          ) find that in California, a non-vegetarian diet
          requires 2.9 times more water, 2.5 times more primary
          energy, 13 times more fertilizer, and 1.4 times more pes-
          ticides than a vegetarian diet. Meanwhile, Renault and
          Wallender (
          2000
          ) assess several diets, also within the
          context of food production in California, and determine
          that the vegetarian diet yields the greatest results—adopt-
          ing a vegetarian diet cuts diet-related water consumption
          by over half.
          Tilman and Clark (
          2014
          ) find that current global dietary
          shifts toward Calorie-dense foods have not only led to
          enhanced levels of obesity and diet-related non-communi-
          cable diseases around the world, but have also increased
          agricultural land use and clearing and increased global
          GHG emissions. They also estimate that by the year 2050,
          food production emissions will increase 80 % if current
          dietary trends continue. Conversely, large-scale shifts
          toward Mediterranean, pescetarian, and vegetarian diets
          could potentially reduce global agricultural emissions and
          land clearing by 2050. Eshel and Martin (
          2006
          ) determine
          that an omnivorous diet produces approximately 1500 kg
          CO
          2
          -eq more than a vegetarian diet incorporating the same
          number of Calories. Likewise, Weber and Matthews (
          2008
          )
          find that replacing less than 1 day’s worth of red meat and
          dairy Calories per week with chicken, fish, eggs, or veg-
          etables is more effective in reducing GHG emissions than
          buying all food that is locally produced for 1 week.
          Our study contributes to the existing literature by pro-
          viding further insight and analysis to the environmental
          costs that various dietary choices have on the food supply
          system in the USA. While there are many environmental
          impacts associated with food consumption and dietary
          patterns, we chose to focus on energy use, the blue water
          footprint, and GHG emissions in light of their accessibility,
          both in terms of data availability of these impacts for a wide
          range of food products as well as their relative significance
          to researchers, policymakers, and the general public. Fur-
          thermore, to the best of our knowledge, this article is the
          first to measure the changes in energy use, blue water
          footprint, and GHG emissions associated with shifting from
          current consumption patterns to three dietary scenarios,
          which are based, in part, on the 2010 USDA
          Dietary
          Guidelines
          . The three dietary scenarios include (1) reducing
          Caloric intake levels to achieve ‘‘normal’’ weight without
          shifting food mix, (2) shifting food mix to food patterns
          recommended by the USDA
          Dietary Guidelines
          , without
          reducing Caloric intake, and (3) reducing Caloric intake
          levels and shifting food mix to meet USDA
          Dietary
          Guidelines
          in order to achieve and maintain healthy weight.
          Our analysis uses a bottom-up approach based on a
          meta-analysis of the existing academic literature and sci-
          entific reports to quantify the cumulative energy use, blue
          water footprint, and GHG emissions throughout the food
          supply chain associated with the three aforementioned
          dietary scenarios. The next sections present the methods
          and data used followed by a summary of the results and a
          discussion of the results.
          Environ Syst Decis
          123
          average, require the greatest amount of irrigation per
          Calorie. Recommended increases in vegetables and dairy
          products are the second and third greatest contributing
          factors, behind fruits, that drive the increased blue water
          footprint in Scenario 3. Although eggs and nuts are the
          third and fourth most water-intensive foods per Calorie as
          shown in Fig.
          2
          , the recommended shifts in these foods are
          quite small relative to the considerable increases in dairy
          and vegetables, demonstrated in Fig.
          1
          . Furthermore,
          despite significant decreases in Caloric consumption of
          sugars, fats, and oils, these foods have relatively low blue
          water footprints per Calorie.
          Lastly, GHG emissions increase despite reduction in
          Calories and a shift to the USDA recommended food mix,
          which lowers red meat consumption. Although meat
          products have the highest emissions per Calorie, overall
          GHG emissions increase due to increased Caloric intake of
          dairy, seafood, fruits, and vegetables, which collectively
          offset emission reductions resulting from decreased meat
          consumption as well as reduced sugars, fats, and oils,
          which again have relatively low emissions per Calorie.
          Dairy, by far, has the greatest impact on increased GHG
          emissions because it has the third highest emissions
          intensity value, which is then compounded by USDA rec-
          ommendations for substantial increases in dairy. Fish/sea-
          food is the second most driving force behind increased
          GHG emissions. While recommended intake of fish/sea-
          food is low relative to fruits and vegetables, the emission
          intensity of fish/seafood is significantly higher. Nonethe-
          less, fruits and vegetables are still a contributing factor
          Fig. 3
          Average energy use,
          blue water footprint, and GHG
          emissions through the food
          supply chain.
          a
          The average
          annual energy use, blue water
          footprint, and GHG emissions
          required to support the current
          diet of the US adult population
          as well as the three
          recommended dietary scenarios.
          The
          red lines
          represent the food-
          related impacts associated with
          our current diet, while the dots
          correspond to the annual
          impacts associated with the
          three dietary scenarios.
          b
          The
          shifts in energy use, blue water
          footprint, and GHG emissions
          from our current diet to the
          three recommended diets (Color
          figure online)
          Environ Syst Decis
          123
          toward increased GHG emissions, primarily due to greater
          intake of these foods, per USDA recommendations.
          Finally, while the recommended reduction in Calories is
          mainly attributable to lower consumption of sugars, fats,
          and oils, these food products have very low resource use
          and emissions per Calorie and are therefore insufficient in
          reducing overall resource use and emissions associated
          with shifts toward the USDA
          Dietary Guidelines
          .
          It is also important to note that increasing food losses
          from 34 to 42 % increases the overall energy use, blue
          water footprint, and GHG emissions by approximately,
          12 % for both current and recommended food consumption
          scenarios. However, this shift in food loss estimates does
          not alter the percentage change in resource use and emis-
          sions from current to recommended scenarios. This is
          because while we account for differences in overall food
          loss estimates, we maintain the same proportion of food
          loss across each of the food groups.
          4 Discussion
          In light of the obesity epidemic in America, there have
          been recent efforts to promote healthy eating habits
          through reducing Caloric intake and encouraging healthier
          dietary choices. This movement has led to the emergence
          of a body of scholarship investigating the relationships
          between food consumption and environmental sustain-
          ability. The present study advances the debate further by
          utilizing a more nuanced measure of food consumption to
          demonstrate that healthy dietary changes can have negative
          implications for environmental sustainability, thus illus-
          trating an example of tension between public health and
          environmental sustainability. In addition, this study’s
          results demonstrate how the environmental benefits of
          reduced meat consumption may be offset by increased
          consumption of other relatively high impact foods, thereby
          challenging the notion that reducing meat consumption
          automatically reduces the environmental footprints of
          one’s diet. As our results show food consumption behaviors
          are more complex, and the outcomes more nuanced.
          While it is feasible to achieve normal weight by
          reducing Calories without shifting food mix (Freedman
          et al.
          2001
          ), it is beneficial from a human health perspec-
          tive to consider both factors. As shown here, from an
          environmental standpoint, it is also important to consider
          both the source of our Calories and the amount of Calories
          we consume. As our study demonstrates reducing Calories
          alone to achieve normal weight could reduce energy use,
          blue water footprint, and GHG emissions for adults by as
          much as 9 %, assuming that food supply follows reduced
          demand. However, when considering both Caloric reduc-
          tion and a dietary shift to the USDA recommended food
          mix, average energy use increases 38 %, average blue
          024681012
          Actual
          Scenario 1
          Scenario 2
          Scenario 3
          Energy Use (Million TJ)
          Dietary Scenarios
          0 20406080100120
          Actual
          Scenario 1
          Scenario 2
          Scenario 3
          Blue Water Footprint (Billion m
          3
          )
          Dietary Scenarios
          Scenario 1 – Recommended Calories Only
          Scenario 2 – Recommended Food Mix Only
          Scenario 3 – Recommended Food Mix and Calories
          0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
          Actual
          Scenario 1
          Scenario 2
          Scenario 3
          GHG Emissions (MMT CO2e)
          Dietary Scenarios
          (a) (b)
          (c)
          Fig. 4
          Range of annual
          cumulative energy use, blue
          water footprint, and GHG
          emissions through the food
          supply chain.
          a

          c
          The ranges of
          annual energy use, blue water
          footprint, and GHG emissions
          required to support the current
          diet of the US adult population
          as well as the three
          recommended dietary scenarios.
          The
          vertical black lines
          represent the average estimates,
          which correspond to the impact
          values displayed in Fig.
          3
          a. The
          whiskers
          represent the range of
          values for the lower bound,
          upper bound, and average
          impacts that are attributed to
          variability in food losses
          (34–42 % food losses).
          a
          Range
          of total annual energy use.
          b
          Range of total annual blue
          water footprint.
          c
          Range of total
          annual GHG emissions (Color
          figure online)
          Environ Syst Decis
          123
          water footprint increases 10 %, and average GHG emis-
          sions increase 6 %. These results represent an increase of
          roughly 1 % of the total national annual energy budget,
          7 % of total US blue water footprint, and 0.5 % of total US
          GHG emissions for all sectors. Based on our upper bound
          estimates, these values increase to 3, 12, and 1 %,
          respectively. These findings provide reasons for decision
          makers to consider both the nutritional value and envi-
          ronmental implications of food choices when developing
          dietary recommendations.
          4.1 Comparisons with other studies
          As noted above, there is a robust and ever-growing literature
          on this subject. Heller and Keoleian’s results for GHG
          emissions associated with shifts to dietary recommendations
          differ from the estimates found here. Heller and Keoleian
          (
          2014
          ) find that shifting food mix without reducing Calories
          yields a 12 % increase in diet-related GHG emissions, while
          accounting for both food mix and Calorie reduction leads to a
          1 % decrease in emissions. We, however, determine that on
          average, shifting to the USDA recommended food mix alone
          yields a 11 % increase in food-related GHG emissions for
          American adults, while shifting food mix and reducing
          Calories result in a 6 % increase in GHG emissions. Their
          results differ from our estimates, in part because their find-
          ings are based on Caloric intake estimates, whereas the
          results found in our analysis are based on Caloric con-
          sumption estimates, which include retail- and consumer-
          level food losses. We include food losses in our estimates
          because they contribute to the overall environmental impacts
          associated with food choices. Furthermore, Heller and
          Keoleian assume a reduction in Calories from current
          Caloric intake (based on the LAFA data series) to recom-
          mended Caloric intake (for the average American, including
          children, assuming moderate physical activity) that is more
          than twice our reduction estimates. Despite this significant
          Caloric reduction, the difference between our results and
          those of Heller and Keoleian is relatively small, which fur-
          ther indicates that food mix plays a greater role than overall
          Caloric intake in determining the results of this study.
          Meier and Christen (
          2013
          ) determine that an iso-Caloric
          shift to the German Nutrition Society official food-based
          dietary recommendations could reduce energy use by 7 %,
          blue water use by 26 %, emissions by 11 %, and land use
          by 15 %. These findings differ significantly from our
          increased impact estimates resulting from an iso-Caloric
          shift to the USDA
          Dietary Guidelines
          . Meier and Chris-
          ten’s study accounts for larger reductions in meat, poultry,
          and egg consumption and smaller increases in veg-
          etable and dairy products. Their analysis also accounts for
          reduced fruit consumption, whereas the USDA recom-
          mends that the portion of the US current Caloric intake
          attributable to fruit intake be increased by nearly 85 %.
          Furthermore, contrary to our dietary recommendations, the
          German Nutrition Society suggests a slight increase in fats
          and oils, and a larger increase in grain consumption. These
          foods, however, have relatively low impacts per Calorie
          compared to other foods, such as fruits, vegetables, meat,
          poultry, and eggs. Hence, the interplay between con-
          sumption patterns and dietary recommendations of differ-
          ent nations, as well as regional differences in agricultural
          production explains the differences between our results and
          those of Meier and Christen.
          In comparison, Vanham et al. (
          2013a
          ) determine that
          shifting to these same German dietary guidelines within the
          EU and Croatia while also accounting for a reduction in
          Caloric intake would reduce their diet-related blue water
          footprint by 18 %, which is significantly different from the
          results of our study (increase of 10 %). While their recom-
          mended Caloric intake amount is similar to ours, their actual
          intake estimates are significantly higher, thereby leading to a
          decrease in overall Caloric intake that is more than three
          times greater than our estimated reduction. This is due, in
          part, to their inclusion of alcoholic beverages and spices,
          which are omitted from this analysis. Furthermore, the
          increased blue water footprint results found in our study are
          primarily driven by substantial increases in fruits, vegeta-
          bles, and dairy. While the EU is also encouraged to increase
          their intake of these foods under the dietary guidelines of the
          German Nutrition Society, their recommended increases are
          significantly lower—i.e., 20 versus 96 more fruit Calories
          capita

          1
          day

          1
          , 33 versus 104 more vegetable Calories
          capita

          1
          day

          1
          , and 11 versus 204 more dairy Calories
          capita

          1
          day

          1
          . Also, unlike the USDA guidelines, which
          recommend greater intake of nuts and seeds in the USA, the
          German Nutrition Society gives no recommendation for this
          food group. Thus, Vanham et al. (
          2013a
          ) assume no change
          in the intake of nuts and seeds, which have relatively high
          blue water intensities in the USA.
          Vanham et al. (
          2013b
          ) examine the impact that shifting
          to a healthy diet based on regional Food-Based Dietary
          Guidelines has on the water footprint in four EU zones.
          They find that adopting a healthier diet decreases the blue
          water footprint by 4, 18, and 26 % in three regions and
          increases the blue water footprint by roughly 4 % in the
          fourth region, the NORTH region. These estimates differ
          significantly from one another as well as from estimates
          found here. In the NORTH though, the blue water footprint
          increases from the current to the healthy diet due to higher
          intake of fruits, which require more irrigation. This com-
          ponent of the results is consistent with our findings.
          Meanwhile, Vanham and Bidoglio (
          2014
          ) conduct a similar
          study, evaluating the impact that shifting to a healthy diet
          based on regional Food-Based Dietary Guidelines has on
          365 European water basins. They determine that under the
          Environ Syst Decis
          123
          healthy diet scenario, the blue water footprint decreases for
          the majority of river basins, with the exception of some
          Eastern or Northern European basins, which have higher
          meat intake recommendations. Our findings, which reveal
          an increase in the blue water footprint when shifting to a
          healthier diet, contrast with those of Vanham and Bidoglio.
          However, further research is needed to reconcile these
          differences.
          Additionally, in light of the growing evidence that meat
          production has negative environmental implications, a
          number of studies including the aforementioned analyses
          examine the impacts of reducing meat consumption on
          resource use and emissions through the food supply sys-
          tem. The results of these studies (Heller and Keoleian
          2014
          ; Vanham et al.
          2013a
          ,
          b
          ; Renault and Wallender
          2000
          ; Marlow et al.
          2009
          ) demonstrate that adopting a
          vegetarian diet or even reducing meat consumption by
          50 % is more effective in reducing energy use, the blue
          water footprint, and GHG emissions through the food
          supply system than adopting a healthier diet based on
          regional dietary guidelines.
          4.2 Limitations and future work
          Resource use and emissions data for each food type eval-
          uated in our study were collected from various environ-
          mental life cycle assessment (LCA) studies, many of which
          were conducted in other developed countries. A major
          limitation of our study, thus, stems from this meta-analysis
          approach. For instance, differences in geography, climate,
          and culture may warrant different food production methods
          and resource requirements. Also, system boundaries and
          allocation methods differ among LCAs (Heller and Keo-
          leian
          2014
          ). We therefore report minimum and maximum
          environmental intensities for each food type in the Sup-
          plementary Online Information to demonstrate the poten-
          tial range of resource use and emission factors. A
          preliminary sensitivity analysis was then conducted using
          the minimum environmental intensity parameters of all
          foods to develop lower bound scenarios for the results,
          while maximum intensity values were used to develop
          upper bound scenarios—thus, establishing a range of
          potential outcomes. While this is a first step toward ana-
          lyzing the uncertainty of our results, a more robust analysis
          is needed in future work to evaluate the effects of different
          resource use and emissions intensity mixes on the overall
          range of results. In addition, more extensive analyses of
          US-based LCAs for food products are also needed to better
          substantiate our findings.
          Additionally, the 100 plus food types accounted for in
          our study are based on those listed in the LAFA data series.
          Although these foods represent raw or semi-processed
          agricultural goods (Heller and Keoleian
          2014
          ), we include
          a significant number of final retail products in our analysis
          and categorize them according to the food types listed by
          LAFA. The majority of LCAs for final retail products
          evaluated in this study include all phases of the food supply
          chain, including retail and household. However, due to lack
          of ‘‘farm to fork’’ LCA data for some food types, we also
          incorporate LCAs that have more limited system bound-
          aries (farm to farm gate, etc.). Consequently, energy use,
          blue water footprint, and GHG emissions may be omitted
          from various stages of the food supply system for certain
          food products, which could lead to underestimated results.
          Current literature, however, lacks LCA data for the wide
          array of food products purchased and consumed in the
          USA. We attempt to address this issue by estimating a
          range of resource use and emission outcomes based on
          minimum and maximum intensity factors and food loss
          estimates. Thus, we feel that, given the available data, our
          analysis is the most comprehensive yet in this area.
          The sustainability of food production depends on the
          extent to which production impacts the environmental
          needs of a region. Specifically, for water use, freshwater
          availability varies across countries and regions. With-
          drawing water from a water-scarce area that is populated
          has different implications for the environment and for
          society than withdrawing the same amount of water from a
          location with greater water resources. While we recognize
          this to be an important concept in determining blue water
          footprint impacts, it is beyond the scope of this project to
          account for water resource availability and water scarcity
          index factors across different regions of the country. But
          given that fruits and vegetables are the main contributor to
          the overall increased blue water footprints in our recom-
          mended dietary scenarios, and given that much of our
          produce is grown in drought stricken California, it would
          seem that accounting for regional-level food production
          and applying water scarcity factors across regions would
          produce impacts that not only align with the direction of
          our results, but also signify the importance of the overall
          increased blue water footprint found in this study. Further
          research, however, is needed to validate this assumption.
          This study sheds light on the trade-offs between human
          and environmental health within the context of dietary
          choices. Shifting from current consumption patterns to
          USDA dietary recommendations corresponds to an
          increase in diet-related energy use, blue water footprint,
          and GHG emissions among American adults. This perhaps
          counterintuitive outcome reveals the complex relationship
          between diet and the environment. While our results are
          not intended to dissuade healthy eating, they do draw
          attention to the need for cooperative efforts between poli-
          cymakers, health officials, and consumers to establish
          dietary recommendations that meet both health and envi-
          ronmental objectives.
          Environ Syst Decis
          123
          5 Supplementary online information
          Additional tables and detaile
          d documentation of methods,
          numeric data, and calculations regarding energy use, blue water
          footprint, and GHG emission
          s attributable to current food
          consumption patterns and USDA dietary recommendations.
          Acknowledgments
          This project was supported by a Steinbrenner
          Institute US Environmental Sustainability Ph.D. Fellowship to
          Michelle Tom. The fellowship program is supported by a grant from
          the Colcom Foundation and by the Steinbrenner Institute for Envi-
          ronmental Education and Research at Carnegie Mellon University.
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          • Richard Christie says:

            I’m tempted to give you a slow handclap for the copy paste.

            A simple link would do and would show more respect for readers.

            Presently I’m going to read this paper to see if it even says what you claim it does, but first I make two observations for you.

            Firstly, in this context we are discussing a scientific publication and scientific consensus does not rest upon any single study or result, to be meaningful results must be corroborated and repeatable.

            Secondly, sources matter. In this respect your copypaste starts from behind. From wikipedia, in respect to the journal this was published in:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springer_Science%2BBusiness_Media

            In 2014, it was revealed that Springer had published 16 fake papers in its journals that had been computer-generated using SCIgen. [Yes, Scigen, check that out!] Springer subsequently removed all the papers from these journals. IEEE had also done the same thing by removing more than 100 fake papers from its conference proceedings.[11]
            In 2015, Springer retracted 64 of the papers it had published after it was found that they had gone through a fraudulent peer review process

            • Sam Sam says:

              ok so i am going to explain how things work at restaurants.

              most or at least a lot of restaurants use a POS, point of sale system, setup by the owners or corporate with what items are on the menu and how much they cost. even what options go with them. normally if someone wants something simple but crazy there is a note you can add. now if some customer asks for somethin that is entirely out side your ability as a server to charge for via the system the answer is can’t do it. there was actually a famous business book based on the fact the author couldn’t get a milk shake from room service even though they had ice cream and milk. no way to charge for combining them, plus the bar has the damn blender and kitchen won’t let them use the stove so there is no way those two armed camps are fucking talking.

              now veggie burgers. cost the same because of storage. they keep them on hand and maybe cook 1 for every 35 to 300 regular burgers. so you have this fucking shelf space that is just sitting there not making you money so you got to make your money when you can. on top of that meat freezes better, or i should say has a higher quality when delivered frozen than frozen vegetables. after this there are a number of factors to consider that bumps up the vegetarians cost at a lot of restaurant.
              vegetables go bad at weird rates.
              at restaurants i have personally seen delivered vegtables have 1 in 5 be unusable for presentation, cooking fin but not presentation. every day you loose a veggie for presentation.
              now cost to cook is immaterial because you still have to make all the plates arrive at the same time and you are still occupying the same space in terms of literal seating available. also the cook has to pay extra attention to your snowflake order negating shortened cooking time.

              now about the copy and pasta, I was trolling you

          • Richard Christie says:

            As I suspected, having read the copypaste in its entirety I observe that it does not support your claim. It’s focus is on a completely unrelated topic, that laid out in the abstract:
            “Energy use, blue water footprint, and greenhouse gas emissions for current food consumption patterns and dietary recommendations in the US”.

            Leaves me with several options and conclusions…..

            1) you haven’t even read it yourself yet you expect others to wade through it, demonstrating considerable arrogance on your part.
            2) you do think that it supports your claim, demonstrating on your part both scientific illiteracy and ignorance as to how science works.
            3) you are deliberately bullshitting.

            You made a claim, put up or it’s bullshit.

            • Sam Sam says:

              No, and no, the sites where taken down for lawsuit reasons and all the infomation you after is in there. You just have to find it, then copy and past the appropriate names and links into google or web address. It’s been nice chatting with you. This concludes any further participation by myself in this section of comments. By now

              • Richard Christie says:

                It’s your claim, you’ve nothing to back it up.

                You lose, and based on your restaurant rant and your appeal to hidden/suppressed information I’m beginning to wonder if you might be a few fly-buys short of a holiday.

                • Sam Sam says:

                  I mean first of all. The numbers are so big they don’t need any explaining. Two thirds of all fruit and veg produced every year are thrown into rubbish dumps, even my 5 year old niece knows this (so must you) that’s a good place two start.

                  I just want to say I am more shocked that the debate has stayed in the pre amble. I don’t want to argue with you any more.

                  Now calm down

                  • Richard Christie says:

                    You’ve been caught out bullshitting.
                    Any reasonable person would apologise for it and admit to their mistake.
                    Instead, you continue to take your clothes off in public by refusing responsibility for your own actions.

          • Jack Ramaka says:

            Couldn’t be bothered reading the above can someone give me a summary?

            • Sam Sam says:

              It all has to be looked at in the overall context of how our diet has changed. In 2003, a study of 43 vegetables and fruits published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found significant declines for six nutrients (protein, calcium, phosphorous, iron, riboflavin and ascorbic acid) between 1950 and 1999. Comparing old and new figures from the US Department of Agriculture, Donald Davis, author of the University of Texas study, concluded that changes in cultivated varieties, rather than horticulture practices, accounted for the depletion. ‘In those 50 years,’ he said, ‘there have been intensive efforts to breed new varieties that have greater yield, or resistance to pests, or adaptability to different climates – but the dominant effort is for higher yields. Evidence suggests that, if you select for yield, crops grow bigger and faster but they don’t have the ability to make or uptake nutrients at the same rate.

              Link:http://saveoursoils.com/userfiles/downloads/1351255687-Changes%20in%20USDA%20food%20composition%20data%20for%2043%20garden%20crops,%201950-1999.pdf

              The same criticism levelled at me by dick is the same criticism levelled at Donald Davis. The traditional methods used by physical chemists are still the most accurate on the planet for measuring weights and components. What has changed is not the accuracy of the methodology but the peripheral stuff – like linking it to a computer and being able to do 300 measurements in an hour.

              Over all vitamin C and sugar levels in fruit and vegetables has remained stable or increased since 1950 with six nutrients declining by around 20%. In a similar study published in the British journal of nutrition (2002) that looked at oranges it said that to make up the 20% decline in six nutrients today’s children have eat 8 oranges to there grand parents 1. There is a bit of floored logic there, not the least because children today eat way more than 8 oranges. But it is the reduction in phytonutrients that is most concerning, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer[1], cardiovascular disease, diabetes[2] and dementi[3]

              As a side note the biggest decline occurred in carrots losing 42% of its iron content, but carrots are not a good source of iron in our diet anyway it just reinforces the context in which our diet changes.

              Links:

              [1] http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/cancer/overview.html

              [2] http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/diabetes/overview.html

              [3] http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/dementia/overview.html

      • International Rescue says:

        Congratulations, you’ve successfully avoided addressing any of the substantive points I made. And ‘white supremacy’? Get a life.

    • fatty says:

      How much was your university fees?
      What was your rent costs while you were studying?
      How much was your first home?

      When you say ‘first house’, does that mean you own more than one now? How many?

      I’d like to pass on your statistics to 20 year old students in Auckland. Just so they know how sweet they have it.

      • Trey says:

        Well said Fatty. Also back then part time jobs were easy to come by and you could earn time and a half and double time for overtime and weekend work. You also got paid to study and left University debt free and walked straight into a fulltime job. Things are easier now? YEAH RIGHT

        • Crikey says:

          I would like my children to have the same opportunities I had, unfortunately, this government is making sure they don’t. All I can do is spend spare time promoting Labour Party who also would like the ladder to be put back where it belongs.
          The inter generational dividing and ruling is working well for the 1 %, we don’t have to make it so easy for them do we?

          • International Rescue says:

            The Labour Party have been in power for 15 of the 32 years since 1984, virtually half of the period of quasi free market economics in NZ.

        • Also back then part time jobs were easy to come by and you could earn time and a half and double time for overtime and weekend work.

          Indeed. I recall walking out on my first job (I was 17, inexperienced, and being harassed by an older worker), and into another job by the following Monday.

          Try doing that now.

          As for penal rates, by coincidence I was chatting with a young cafe worker in Hataitai, Wellington, and he was saying that his cafe would be closing over Easter. He was aware that my generation was well recompensed for working weekends – something that has been stolen from current workers by successive legislation.

          It felt awkward, discussing how well my generation had it compared to workers today; plenty of jobs; able to raise a family on a single income; affordable housing; penal rates; good Union protection – all now consigned to history.

          Ironically, delusional right-wingers like “Internationalrescue” (above, @ 12.19) actually believe their own claptrap that things are better now, than 30, 40, plus, years ago.

          But then, rightwingers have to believe those fantasies or else face the truth that the world we have now is less fairer than it once was.

          • International Rescue says:

            They aren’t fantasies, they are reality outside the whinging beltway. My son walked out of school into a job and within 6 months was offered an apprenticeship. That was 15 months ago. There are huge skills shortages in NZ, and no lack of work for those who are prepared to get up in the morning.

            • “Skills shortages”? And yet this government is allowing more immigrants into New Zealand rather than upskilling our own unemployed?

              As for your statement, that there is “no lack of work for those who are prepared to get up in the morning” – now you’re blaming the unemployed for lack of jobs?

              I would expect no less from you.

              As for your “son walked out of school into a job and within 6 months was offered an apprenticeship” – you can thank previous Labour governments for those apprenticeships.

              • Otto Mann says:

                As always, Frank, you present a cogent argument.

                Nothing posted by International Rescue (aaargggh!!!) convinces me of his points raised. In fact, I’ve picked up so many opinions masquerading as “facts”, that anything he says is of dubious value.

      • International Rescue says:

        My first house cost $87k in 1985. I was 24, and that was around 6x my annual gross income. Interest rates hitting 20%, and we had to save a deposit. Do the math. When I said ‘first house’ I meant ‘the first house I ever owned’. We did it up with our own labour, sold it for a tidy profit and moved on to number 2. There is nothing stopping young people today doing exactly the same thing. Unless they are too fussy where the live.

        • fatty says:

          “We did it up with our own labour, sold it for a tidy profit and moved on to number 2”

          Oh, you’re one of those who think they earned their capital gains. Nice one.

          “we had to save a deposit”

          So you could rent and save for a deposit? You had cheap rental options.

          “There is nothing stopping young people today doing exactly the same thing.”

          Sure there is. We can’t rent and save for a deposit. We end our education owing a house deposit because we wanted to get an education that we need.

          “Unless they are too fussy where the live.”

          So the youth are making bad choices eh? Nice one.

          Since you ignored two of my key questions, I’ll assume them on your behalf:

          “How much was your university fees?
          What was your rent costs while you were studying?”

          Basically nothing and not much.

          • International Rescue says:

            “Oh, you’re one of those who think they earned their capital gains. ”

            ‘Think’? No, we know. Exactly the same way people can today.

            “So you could rent and save for a deposit? You had cheap rental options.”

            No.

            “We can’t rent and save for a deposit. We end our education owing a house deposit because we wanted to get an education that we need.”

            Of course you can. I know many young people who have.

            “So the youth are making bad choices eh? Nice one.”

            Yep, some are. Just as some did in my day!

            “How much was your university fees? What was your rent costs while you were studying?”

            Uni fees were significant, as were the costs of books etc. You’re being told tertiary education was free…it wasn’t. And even today the state picks up most of the bill.

            My rent while studying…board with mum and dad. Ever thought abut it?

            • fatty says:

              “My rent while studying…board with mum and dad. Ever thought abut it?”

              Go read ‘Generation Rent’ by Shamubeel Eaqub, Selena Eaqub. They explain how today’s ‘landed gentry’ are able to ensure their children get on the property ladder.

              I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s something to be ashamed about. Are you happy that our socio-economic system is structured so that only those with economically stable parents can become economically secure? You need to rethink your values and ethics. Boasting about economic security via bloodlines suggests you’re a bit selfish and inward looking.

              Your local library will have the book if you want to understand.

              • International Rescue says:

                “Are you happy that our socio-economic system is structured so that only those with economically stable parents can become economically secure?”

                I wouldn’t be if that were true. But it isn’t. And you missed the point. I lived with my parents for all but a short period flatting until I married. Tell that to those pleading poverty today in their flats and apartments.

                • I wouldn’t be if that were true. But it isn’t. And you missed the point. I lived with my parents for all but a short period flatting until I married. Tell that to those pleading poverty today in their flats and apartments

                  Again, not true. You’re making up any old shit to suit yourself. More young people are living at home than ever before.

                  From May 2014:

                  More adults are returning to their parents’ homes — or never leaving. The 2013 Census showed that just under 150,000 20 to 34-year-olds are living as a child in a family nucleus, up from 131,289 in 2006 and 116,067 in 2001.

                  […]

                  An OECD report this week found New Zealand’s house price inflation, at 8.2 per cent, was the highest in the Western world last year.

                  ref: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11261171

                  As usual, IR, easily discoverable facts show your comments to asinine.

        • There is nothing stopping young people today doing exactly the same thing. Unless they are too fussy where the live.

          Really?! Are you that willfully ignorant that that aren’t aware of a housing shortage in various areas? Or that tax free gains push up prices? Or that students saddled with huge student debt are afford rent, re-payment of debt, etc, and save for a house?!

          You really do have a warped view of the current world we live in.

          By the way, IR, are you aware that home ownership has been steady falling since the 1980s? http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11221811

          Why do you think that is?

          Oh, let me guess, it’s the fault of thousands of New Zealanders who have deliberately decided to waste their money on sports cars rather than saving fort their first home, right?

        • Theodore says:

          “My first house cost $87k in 1985. I was 24, and that was around 6x my annual gross income. Interest rates hitting 20%, and we had to save a deposit.”

          Well bully for you big boy.

          You still had it sweet, because home ownership rates have steadily declined since Roger Douglas screwed this country over. Quite simply, young people can’t afford to buy hom,es like they once did, even during Muldoon’s reign of incompetence (another National Party financial “expert”).

          • International Rescue says:

            “Quite simply, young people can’t afford to buy hom,es like they once did,”

            So you seem to think. I’m saying that isn’t true. We made choices, so do young folk today. Too many want a lifestyle they cannot afford.

            • So you seem to think. I’m saying that isn’t true. We made choices, so do young folk today. Too many want a lifestyle they cannot afford.

              That is garbage. You have zero evidence for that assertion.

              Saying that “Too many want a lifestyle they cannot afford” is the kind of victim-bashing used by right-wingers like you, when you want to shift blame. The Nats do it regularly. You and other righties employ that tactic when you have no rational answer.

              Theodore is correct; home ownership levels and home affordability have both worsened. Only a troll or fool would suggest otherwise.

    • IR;

      . I grew up in a single income, working class family in Auckland. My family couldn’t afford to put me through university, so I worked full time and studied part time. I had no special privileges, I had to work for everything I had.

      What? You don’t consider free tertiary education and gaining a University degree sans debt, a “special privilege”?!

      Take your blinkers of, IR. You’re makjing an ass of yourself.

      Today my children have far more opportunities than I did. The job market is more diverse, the education system provides a wider choice of options.

      The nonsensical enormity of your statement defies comprehension, IR. The job market is not “more diverse” – it is more precarious.

      Your reference to “the education system provides a wider choice of options” is a red herring. $15 billion in student debt puts a hefty millstone around that “choice”.

      As for growing up in a single income family – so did I.

      However, try living on a single, average income now, my delusional friend, and see how far you get.

      If I had a time machine, I would swap with my children in a heartbeat.

      And I’m sure there would be thousands of young people queuing to take advantage of your offer.

      • International Rescue says:

        “What? You don’t consider free tertiary education and gaining a University degree sans debt, a “special privilege”?! ”

        What ‘free’ tertiary education? I paid for my courses and my books.

        “The job market is not “more diverse” – it is more precarious.”

        Do you know the meaning of the word ‘diverse’? Look it up.

        “$15 billion in student debt puts a hefty millstone around that “choice”.”

        There is no student debt associated with education below a tertiary level. And most peoples student debt is comfortably repayable if the recipient has chosen wisely.

        You put up a lot of red herrings, and fail to address the key points. My children have a bright future in NZ, as do yours.

        • “The job market is not “more diverse” – it is more precarious.”

          Do you know the meaning of the word ‘diverse’? Look it up.

          And you seem to be unaware of the precarious nature of work these days – hence the newly coined phrase, “precariat”.

          Any so-called “diversity” has been lost to contracting out to low-wage economies; loss of job security; lack of job conditions; and falling wages.

          A few might be doing very well. But the majority are not.

          Something you should take time to consider if you can take your neo-lib blinkers off.

          “What? You don’t consider free tertiary education and gaining a University degree sans debt, a “special privilege”?! ”

          What ‘free’ tertiary education? I paid for my courses and my books.

          When did you attend University?

          “$15 billion in student debt puts a hefty millstone around that “choice”.”

          There is no student debt associated with education below a tertiary level. And most peoples student debt is comfortably repayable if the recipient has chosen wisely.

          Ah. So if no one attends tertiary education, then the problem of student debt “goes away”? Is that what you’re trying to say? Really?

          • International Rescue says:

            Let me help you. Diversity means the range of different things. My children have a much wider range of career choices than I did.

            And this ‘low wage economy’ you speak of is in your imagination. There have always been low paid jobs, probably always will be.

            “So if no one attends tertiary education, then the problem of student debt “goes away”?”

            No, I was simply pointing out to you that choices aren’t limited to tertiary education. The state picks up the vast majority of tertiary costs, and each student is expected to pay a small portion of their own…from which they derive an income. That is entirely fair, and hopefully focuses the mind a little on study choices.

            • Sam Sam says:

              Diversity with in a curriculum is not diversity

              • Theodore says:

                Actually, I’m interested in the question being answered as well, Mr IR. When did you get your tertiary education and how much did you pay for you.

                So far, you’ve been dodging the question like Key at a press conference.

                The rest of your postings is nonsensical, and a piss-poor attempt to paint post-Rogernomics NZ is a better light than it currently is.

                In fact,

                * wages are stagnating (or down)

                * home affordability has fallen

                * home ownership has dropped

                * student debt has exploded

                * poverty is increasing

                You can deny it all you like, Mr IR, but you’re just making an arse of yourself.

              • International Rescue says:

                Yes, it is, if the curriculum is more diverse. Which it is. My children have and have had an immensely wider subject choice at school and afterwards. They also have a much wider range of career options.

                • Sam Sam says:

                  By wider career choice do you mean fund your own education?

                  If what you say is true then the policy implemented by the John Key Lead National Government to sell up to 49% in state energy companies to fund iragation systems would not have blown private debt out by billions and caused many farmers into suicide.

                  Face it. John Keys policies have failed to deliver on every level.

                  One more point. How in the fuck can we have the lowest crime stats in the past 30 years when state houses are testing positive in the majority of tests and drug crimes is all the establishment media and it’s right wing bloggers can go on about. You and the media are hopeless. You don’t know anything. At all.

                  Your right wing policies are a complete failure. And every one knows it.

                • By the way, IR, you are still avoiding the question: when did you attend university and how much is your student debt?

                  I suspect the answer (if you tell us the truth) will show you up to be a self-serving hypocrite.

                • Otto Mann says:

                  International Rescue (bit of a misnomer, that), can you please back up your claim that “the curriculum is more diverse”. (Computer sciences aside, I mean.)

                  I’d like to see some evidence of that assertion please.

                  • International Rescue says:

                    Are you seriously suggesting there is NOT more choice within the curriculum than when I went to school in the 1970’s? Do you have children at high school?

                    • Sam Sam says:

                      Creating more job titles with in a given industry isn’t the same as starting up new industries (computer science aside I mean)

                      It’s a bit like diversifying with in a curriculum.

            • And this ‘low wage economy’ you speak of is in your imagination. There have always been low paid jobs, probably always will be.

              No, IR, it is not imagined. Recent figures reveal that wages are stagnating here in New Zealand;

              In 2011:

              “New Zealand’s wage rises have fallen far behind productivity growth. In the private sector, where labour productivity can be reliably measured, it rose 52 per cent between 1989 and 2010. But, average hourly wages rose just 16 per cent after inflation. From 2000, the gap was less, but still large: labour productivity rose 13 per cent but wages rose only 9 per cent after inflation. “

              ref:http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/5824465/New-Zealanders-get-low-wages

              In fact, both Bill English and John Key have commented oin New Zealand’s low wage economy;

              ” Prime Minister John Key says Finance Minister Bill English was simply stating facts when he made remarks about New Zealand’s low wages.

              Mr English on Friday told the Australia – New Zealand leadership forum that one of the current advantages New Zealand has over Australia is its lower wage rates.

              Mr Key says Mr English was simply saying that lower wages present an opportunity to attract some investment in New Zealand.

              He says the Government remains totally committed to closing the wage gap with Australia, but some companies are coming to New Zealand because it represents good value with high quality people. “

              ref; http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/72722/low-wage-economy-a-fact-pm

              The state picks up the vast majority of tertiary costs, and each student is expected to pay a small portion of their own…from which they derive an income.

              Rubbish. Students owe $15 billion in debt (http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/77520823/fifteen-billion-in-student-debt-too-high-says-union). That is hardly the “small portion” that you are dishonestly portraying.

              As usual, facts do not support your nonsensical rhetoric.

              • Sam Sam says:

                I hope I’m not the only one that says Frank, but the rest of the daily blog team do a really good job at combating miss infomation with the facts and evidence, with manners, and structured.

                Some one came up to me yesterday at the parking machine, giving me shit for parking inthe disabled, I wasn’t actually the White line had been smudged in blue a bit and the white line on the other side of my car was clearly visible if he had of walked around and checked properly. So I grabbed my hammer an waved it around my head widely with the Joker eyes. So I’m not particularly liking humans right now.

                Just glad some people is putting some structure in the debate

        • Trey says:

          I also paid for my courses and my books in the early 80’s and I paid sweet FA. I also recieved an allownace the same as the unemployment benefit to attend and worked part time in bars where I recieved time and a half and double time for weekend work. My rent was only $40 a week in walking distance to Auckland University. I left University debt free into full time work and bought my first home at 24. Things were infinitely easier for me than for todays youth and to claim otherwise is just bullshit.

    • Otto Mann says:

      International Rescue (piss poor pseudonym, if you ask me), when you say “I grew up in a single income, working class family in Auckland. My family couldn’t afford to put me through university, so I worked full time and studied part time”, when did that actually happen?

      If you had free (or near free) university tuition with no student debt at the end of it, no wonder you came out of it smiling.

      As for “Today my children have far more opportunities than I did”, I think that depends. I’m no expert, but even I know that home affordability has gotten worse in the last few years and home ownership is falling as well.

      “If I had a time machine, I would swap with my children in a heartbeat” – would you take their student debt as well?

  3. AB says:

    Compelling analysis Wayne.
    For the poor there is no inter-generational conflict as everyone is poor.
    For the wealthy there is no inter-generational conflict as inheritance will cover it.
    The inter-generational conflict is in the middle where many children will not do as well as their parents without substantial inheritance.

    So seeing it totally in generational terms is therefore a mis-reading.
    But I don’t think we can avoid noting that many of those middle class parents have been enthusiastic supporters of the economic ideology that is actively disadvantaging their children. And it is this selfish blindness that angers Martyn and others. I don’t think we can dismiss that anger as illegitimate

    • Olwyn says:

      I agree that this is an excellent analysis by Wayne. Moreover, there is a case for complaining about middle-aged people who enthusiastically support the current ideology, although they are not always easy to identify. However, couching the problem solely in inter-generational terms, and forgetting that its interface lies within the middle class, and that it is a symptom rather than a cause, helps to perpetuate it. After all, one way of getting middle class kids onto the “property ladder” is to grant them their first rung by clearing an area of poor people, whether owners or renters, and making it just affordable to the better off among them. Thus the inter-generational problem gets addressed, not between generations of the same class, but by cutting across classes, with old poor people, giving way to younger, somewhat better off people, whose precariousness of income leaves them just a little less vulnerable than the people they have displaced. So yes, there is inter-generational economic tension within the middle class but trying to take hold of the problem at that point will not touch the forces that drive it.

    • Brigid says:

      How do you know that “many of those middle class parents have been enthusiastic supporters of the economic ideology that is actively disadvantaging their children”? I have yet to see the analysis that supports this.

        • Sam Sam says:

          A link with no commentary means you don’t know what you are talking about and just posted the first hit the came up on your google search

          • the pigman says:

            Get a thrill from thinking up insults?

            My point was that voting habits for the last 30 odd years clearly display middle class parents have enthusiastic ally supported the economic ideology that is actively disadvantaging their children.

            But never miss a chance to try and put the jackboot in, Sam.

  4. fatty says:

    Your’re comparing Gen Y when they are 18-34 years old with Boomers when they are 50-70 years old.

    The point of generational comparisons is to compare their respective situations at the same life stage. What are their capabilities when they enter the job market at 18 years old? What are their chances of buying a home on minimum wage in their early 20s? What are their debt levels at when they are 30?

    Do you think the challenges faced by Gen Y at the age of 20-30 are equal to what the Boomers faced at the same age?

    Of course many Boomer’s are getting fucked over by neoliberalism – that’s what it does. But Gen Y have had neoliberalism when they’re trying to build a platform, whereas Boomers had a nice platform built for them (well, the white men did).

    God, I’m sick of old white dudes giving us the “we’re all in this together” speech.

    • cagey says:

      I think that it is important to look past the battle of the generations and see it for what it is being used for : a smoke screen to hide the capture of money from ALL classes by the top percentile. Many of the baby boomers are able to be in denial as they are passed the most expensive part of their lives (education, kids, homes) but this has to be seen – as Wayne Hope has said – a small part of a very much bigger problem.
      While the generations battle they deny themselves the ability to fight against the real enemy of equality. Being a Gen Xer with kids I do understand being angry with ‘sleeping baby boomers’ however.

      • Richard Christie says:

        I think that it is important to look past the battle of the generations and see it for what it is being used for

        It’s being used as a dog whistle.

      • fatty says:

        “I think that it is important to look past the battle of the generations and see it for what it is being used for : a smoke screen to hide the capture of money from ALL classes by the top percentile.”

        Is it really being used for that? I doubt it. Claiming it’s a smokescreen suggests Gen Y’s critiques are sustaining neoliberalism, which is bullshit and offensive.

        I am more than aware of class disparities. I’m a proud Marxist and communist, but I’m also happy to look at generational differences.

        If we wanna talk about unity, then when will the Boomers support the voices of Gen Y? Take a look at what has happened in the USA with the democratic race. Clinton’s firewall has been the Boomers and Gen Y has driven Sanders’ campaign. Sanders’ key message has been that Gen Y has been ripped off. The Boomers need to up their game. Until they stop voting for neoliberals I won’t denigrate Gen Y’s who say ‘fuck the Boomers’.

        If I was a Boomer I’d be speaking out about the individualised capitalism we’ve voted for during our earning prime. I’d also question why my generation’s version of Left is Blairite’s third-way. I’d say it’s fair for Gen Y to be angry and disengaged.

        Wayne’s article exemplifies the problem with the Boomers – no listening and all talking. Claiming that “My purpose here is to lower the temperature and clarify the issue at hand” before then putting up a false argument – that’s dismissive and demeaning. …and they wonder why Gen Y disengage from formal politics and sling expletives?

        Neoliberalism is now ingrained in our culture, but it is beginning to lose its grip. A few Gen Y’s abusing the Boomers ain’t the problem and it’s no smokescreen. I love class based politics – it has to be the focus – but let’s not be clunky Marxists who bleat on about class and dismiss other instances of power inequality.

        Finally, lets listen to young people who are being political – even if we don’t agree with their language.

  5. muribaba says:

    Simple solutions; No More-
    land sales to foreigners,
    Asset sales,
    Ownership of multiple properties, Land lords..!!
    Govt borrowing IMF or Zionist world bank monies,
    and no more Keys, Bennits or Dunes etc…
    Must Do- voluntarily direct voting on policy issues that matter to each individual, real participatory democracy.!!
    not this totallitirian dictatorship debt driven slave society.
    capitalism is fucked up..

  6. Helena says:

    Why do any of us have to struggle – there’s more than enough wealth being generated internally to keep everyone and I mean everyone happy. Iceland led the way, Hungary followed :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTZQezj304U
    With a decent and honest leader New Zealand could follow.

  7. Sam Sam says:

    (“In reply to AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH above comment dated March 23, at 9:34 PM.” Quick link: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/03/23/wealth-inheritance-and-inter-generational-conflict/#comment-330251)

    I’m feeling charitable today so I decided to save you people a lot of money and wasted time, effort and energy in your lifetime(s) by publishing this post.

    I would have thought the problem would be pretty dam obvious by now. The average person in the western world simply can not retire! They cant afford too and they all know it. This leads to other problems. Desperation for quick solutions and marketers looking to take advantage of the sleepy middle classes and working population who don’t have the time and knowledge to research the backgrounds of individuals claiming to be experts in any given field.

    What I have found to help solve these issues is that people investing in there own education is (in the vast majority of cases) sold to people as a panacea by charlatans i.e. people pretending to be a minister of economic development or people who have had a professional background in investing. The manipulation of hearts and minds especially online in their marketing message is outrageously comprehensive. Internet marketers in the education space will go to any lengths to convince you of their background, so called expertise and the quality of their education. Entire backgrounds of these individuals are completely manufactured and fictional. So much so that it is a daily battle for them to continuously convince you that in their previous life they were a professional economic developer (as in the case of zoologist and radio host Steven Joyce) that they made millions of dollars in there past lives and decided to share the “secret sauce” that made them so successful.  Manipulation of their fictional previous and current life comes mostly via social media and the promotion of their own fantasy media (disguised as third party media) dominating their Google page 1,2 and 3 searches. 

    If you dig deep enough and you know what you are doing, their fraud is always easy to spot in a matter of minutes.

    Oh really? you were a professional? mmmm, Really? you were a manager? OK! All you have to do is look for their regulatory history in the geography they claim to have been a professional/manager. If a person has been regulated in the past to perform a controlled function/ has been able to give educational advice or invest other people’s money it means by definition they have ACTUALLY been a professional/manager. If they haven’t then they have never been a professional/manager. It really is that simple!

    The important thing to note with any regulator globally is an individuals “HISTORY” and what functions they were allowed to perform are available online. You can order records of achievement from NZQA for $15, police clearance can be requested from any precinct. Here’s an example of John Key (retired).

    Link: https://register.fca.org.uk/ShPo_IndividualDetailsPage?id=003b000000LVHD5AAP

    You can see its pretty easy to find out very quickly if someone has been or is a Professional anything.

    So what if you draw a blank when you go to regulators website and type in the individuals name in question? It means that if they are claiming to have been a professional/manager, then they have lied about it, or at least massively exaggerated. Ask yourself then the obvious question. Why would they do that? .., its because they are trying to convince you of their expertise to heighten the perception that they have an authority on a subject and because they have an agenda. What if their defense is that they teach everyday, which means they are a professional? Well, I could play rugby everyday. It doesn’t mean I’m a Professional Rugby player!

    Teachers / Mentors should be hired based on 3 criteria;-

    1. They must have made enough money solely from there given field (not administration or hiring staff) to be retired. They have to prove this before interviews commence. 
    2. They must have been a professional/manager and have a minimum 7 years experience in a given field and implementing professional strategies in there chosen profession.
    3. They must be available and commit to a minimum of 12 hours per week to be able to Teach and Mentor responsibly in order to show students how to become consistently profitable over the long term in order to change their entire outlook on life, change their lives and help people afford their retirement.

    We only have a handful of educators in New Zealand that actually do what they claim by producing profitable workers and educate students so they can benefit from there chosen industry properly.

    For the first time in New Zealand’s history there is a conference with speakers flown in that will be presenting in order to help New Zealand achieve becoming consistently profitable.

    The Labour Parties future of work conference is shaping up to be a decent event. They have all realized that this is an extremely unique opportunity to access knowledge from rebel economists. This is a conference you would be crazy to miss.

    Link to Robert Reichs presentation at the future of work conference: http://youtu.be/vLKC-p1tTKA

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      The vast majority of ‘decision-makers’ in NZ are scientifically and financially illiterate. They have no idea how the money system works, have no idea what energy is or why it is important, have no idea about ecology, and many of them are psychotic sociopaths. I know, I have questioned many of them. Their responses have been totally inane and highly defensive.

      However, they DO have access to public money they can use for self-promotion, and the DO have access to public money they can use for promotion of cronyism.

      Until the general populace wakes up to the fact that nothing official is authentic everything will continue to be made rapidly worse by those in power.

      • Sam Sam says:

        Yeah, for sure.

        We are at an inflection point now that what ever policy direction we take: we have to understand that it will necessarily be an investment that solves all our problems including climate change, Imagration, health, crime, you name it, in the next ten years we have to solve them. Or we risk a very bloody revolution. And in the case of Donald Trump, his threats of riots if the Republican Party interferes in his campaign is a ligitimate concern

      • Richard Christie says:

        The vast majority of ‘decision-makers’ in NZ are scientifically and financially illiterate.

        Arghh, the truth.
        It burns.

      • Jack Ramaka says:

        Are you referring to our current PM?

  8. Nick J says:

    Just to get a picture of the diminution of work possibilities for youth let’s see if anyone under 25 has worked as a;
    * cleaner
    * truck driver
    * freezing worker
    * foundry labourer
    * kitchen hand
    * waiter / barman
    * tannery forman
    * glass factory labourer
    * fish splitter
    I did all of these roles before 25 back in the years before 84 when the neoliberalism kicked in. All industries I worked in now are majorly automated or offshored to cheap labor countries. We have centralised administration to head offices and shut down branches. Tellers are replaced by ATMS, posties by emails, the typing pool by word processors. Now some idiots want robot piza delivery.

    You might say we don’t want or need this type of work. We can’t all be computer code writers or banksters. As they say “idle hands”.

    • mpledger says:

      Robot delivery is never going to work. People will take the robots and leave the pizza.

      • Sam Sam says:

        Deliveries by drones may not work for that reason. But it will not work if it dosnt have its own internet.

        In the way that ants communicate movement by sent, or birds communicate movement by seasons. Drones will need there own internet to function properly in a 3D environment.

        There are still some infrastructure investment to be ironed out before drone life appears

        • Nick J says:

          And at what point do we stop offloading everything to robots and drone? Do they even take a crap for us? At some point techno narcissism runs into the psycho physical world of our reality.

          • Sam Sam says:

            If you look at any predictions of a future economy, wheat her it be movies like Star Trek or predictions from economists like Robert Reich (He’s in town now but there are many others who try and predict the future of work) there is one economic function that drives all future economic predictions. Which is the idea of cheap or free energy.

            Just as an example. If a town had an all drone work force. You’ve solved one cost but raised the cost of your power bill while at the same time reducing the over all revenue of your town. So the next cost savings exercise after reducing your labour costs is your power bill.

            We are talking about a resource economy losley based on the series Star Trek. Where energy is free that drives star fleet replicators where you can produce anything. It’s actually a worth while and exciting endeavour