Millennials are selfish? Really? And who taught them that?



Millennials more likely to be selfish and cheap, study finds

Members of the older generation who have long suspected young people to be monsters of selfishness might now have research to back their suspicions.

Gen Ys – those aged 18 to 27 – are the least likely to offer you a cup of tea or pay for a round of drinks, and they score lower than their older counterparts in almost every social situation, according to a Great Kiwi Fairness Debatesurvey of 500 people .

There is nothing as old sounding as ‘Dem damn kids these days are so selfish’. This latest research gives the oldies a nice sense of smugness but the two points I’d make about this research is…

1 – Seeing as adolescent brains don’t fully develop until their mid-20s, it is no surprise or shock that they tend to be more self absorbed than fully grown adult brains. Blaming 18-27 year olds for behaviour they are biologically primed for is un-contextualised garbage.

2 – Look at the manner in which every generation older than Millennials (with the exception of Gen X) have reshaped society into one giant orgy of selfishness. Baby boomers who have become property speculators and voted with their wallet, the 65+ voters who get free public transport, the user pays culture, the unbridled consumerism, the free market theology and the mountain of student debt many will never pay off. If Millennials are selfish, there is no one else to blame than the generations older than them who have taught them how to be selfish.

Wagging ones finger at Millennials when they biologically are self focused in a me first culture built by older generations is just eye rolling crap.



  1. Totally agree, Typecasting and blaming people for their age demographic is insidious crap. Its a classic divide and conquer mentality that obscures the real issues.

  2. Is anybody surprised, that after about 3 decades of neoliberal kind of commercialisation, of commoditisation, of constant drumming of brains with consumerist advertising messages, with tertiary study and training institutions having changed much of their teaching to blend in with the demands from the commercial business sector, teaching every young individual, it is all about YOU, and YOUR aspirations, YOUR career, YOUR benefits and advantages, and YOUR getting ahead, that this may actually have had some effect on the minds of the people???

    Propaganda and brain-washing works, so does commercial advertising, otherwise nobody would bother doing it, who is engaged in it.

    The Nazis under Hitler knew it (learned themselves from the US American advertising industry), the wannabe Eastern Block communist regimes knew it, Mao and his merry men and women knew it, the Korean Church under a reverent Moon knew it, many other religious movements with questionable practices know it, and now ISIS also knows it and applies brain washing.

    Could it perhaps be, that the masters of the Chicago Business School, the “Chicago Boys” and the ones that sucked up their ideas, and integrated it into their policies, and the way they radically re-shaped society, have to some degree succeeded?

    Is anybody still surprised that this is also behind the sensation it was in 2008, that New Zealanders, traditionally more “egalitarian” and socially minded, voted in a John Key and his government?

    So we have the result, and younger people, of another generation, who never really knew anything much else, but for older people telling them of the distant past, they are just behaving as they have been taught to.

    The real shame and embarrassment should lie with the majority of that complacent, also increasingly opportunistic, self-serving generation, baby boomers and post baby boomers, who simply let all this happen, and followed the “number one” agenda, looking after themselves, and forgetting what social and collective thinking and acting actually means, and can have as a value for a better society.

    Shame on the cowards, the bending over backwards facilitators and those that adapted rather than take a firm stand for principles. Where did the people go that in 1991 or so still protested against the Employment Contracts Act and so? The unions folded their tents, so did many others, and resigned, pulled in their tails and just walked away.

    Sometimes it takes a generation or two, for wrong decisions at the top, for wrong directions being followed, for mistakes made and much damage done, to be reversed again.

    Therein perhaps lies the only hope, that one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, we can somehow reverse the selfishness fad of today.

  3. Great Kiwi Fairness Debatesurvey of 500 people …..really??!!!!….hardly conclusive on such a small data base

  4. That Stuff article is quite pathetic considering the sensational title suggesting a conclusive finding; even though the body of the article largely states this matter as being a complex and inconclusive one.

    All I know from my experience is; it’s pretty hard being selfish when one has f*ck all.

    Guess this is another example of modern hard-hitting journalism in this country, like that series of articles on Stuff and the Herald recently about a spat on Facebook between a burger joint in Wellington and it’s customers.

  5. I find the 40 something’s are very self indulgent and selfish now.

    Maybe its my 70 yr old background from a state house upbringing mentality, but I was taught to pay it forward and very little exists of that mentality today.

    Worse still is the greed society as so many find their pursuit by chasing the dollar is more fun than sharing some with others.

    Many represent Ebenezer Scrooge.

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