Smart, Optimistic Millennials

Browsing /pol/, you’re get a mini history lesson (about the Eastern Roman Empire and Catholicism), an economics lesson (about why Argentina is stagnant despite abundant natural resources, and about sovereign debt yields), a pharmacology lesson (about psychedelics), and even a grammar lesson.

If you went back in time 40-60 years ago and showed this screenshot to anyone who was not an economist, they would be dumbfounded (as if you speaking Mandarin), but such posts make sense to many millennials, who seek a higher level of discourse than earlier generations and are familiar with advanced economics concepts. Millennials who frequent smart sites like 4chan, Reddit, and Hacker News, are rejecting ‘low information’ discourse, gravitating towards ideologies that fall outside of the left-right schism (alt-right, NRx, anarcho-capitalism, libertarianism, etc.); debating social theory, economics (the post-2008 great economics debate), and HBD (maybe IQ is important, and some people are born smarter than others); learning coding (how does functional programming work anyway?), physics, and mathematics (string theory, quantum physics, game theory, ordinal numbers and sets, etc.); engaging in philosophical inquiry (positive vs normative ethics, categorical imperatives, ‘trolley problem’, utilitarianism, deontology, introspection and existentialism); and discussing investment strategies, finance (are markets efficient, and if so, how much?), self-sufficiency, and personal development.

As mentioned before, finance and wealth creation are also very important to millennials…A recent ‘Ask Reddit’ thread What are some cons of being rich? got hundreds of replies, indicating both a lot of rich people and a sort of newfound ‘solidarity’ with the rich, in contrast to 2009-2013 during OWS and the Obama administration in which there was a lot more antipathy towards capitalism, finance, bankers, and ‘the 1%’. You go on Quora and you see hundreds of questions about how to be richer, how to be smarter, about being smart, having a high IQ, etc.–not questions about how to be better at social justice and stuff like that. In the past, young people aspired to be rock stars, athletes, and actors, but now they want to be financiers, philosophers, computer scientists, and physicists, like these people:

They don’t want to be a poor loser who whines about ‘white male privilege’. They want to be like Elon Musk, who builds rockets and makes childhood dreams a reality.

Jack Bogle, the legendary inventor of the ‘index fund’, agrees that millennials are both smart and optimistic:

…another really great part of my life has been working with young people. I’ve had about 150 students on my scholarships at Blair Academy and another 150 on my scholarships at Princeton. This present generation, they’re bright. I mean, they’re unbelievable.

MR Is there a difference between them and past generations, or is it just that optimism of youth?

JB Well, certainly they’re smarter. Certainly they’re more internationally minded. Certainly they’re less personal wealth-oriented. They’re happy to have their wealth measure by what they’ve accomplished. These are generalizations. They’re just great young men and women.

Based on my own empirical evidence, I disagree with the part about being less ‘less personal wealth-oriented’.

As explained in ‘Millennial Mindset’ 1 & 2, wealth for millennials is measured in terms of breadth of knowledge (intellectualism) – but also wealth as measured by a bank or brokerage account statement, and millennials are also very individualistic (individualism). Having both wealth and intellectualism is ideal, but intellectualism is necessary. It’s like the ‘Ayn Rand generation’ but with more socially liberal politics.

Also, there is evidence that the generation that follows millennials – ‘Generation Z‘ ( (the demographic cohort between the ages of 14 and 23) – may be more socially conservative than millennials and possibly smarter too. This could provide a huge economic tailwind once these smart millennials and Gen Z begin to enter upper-management of major corporations, replacing retiring boomer and Gen X seniority. Or there is the possibility SJW-millennials will destroy everything that the generations before them built, although I am more optimistic. The Greatest Generation grew up during the Great Depression, and if that wasn’t hard enough, went off to fight in WW2 shortly thereafter. Perhaps Gen Z, shaped by the 2008 financial crisis, will turn out better than we hope.