To the extent that millennials really are self-absorbed and narcissistic, it may be because they learned from the masters: their parents. Baby boomers ― the unusually large generation born during a wave after World War II ― grew up in a time of historic prosperity. In many ways, the world they’ll leave for their children couldn’t be more different from the one they knew as children.
Boomers blew through resources, racked up debt, and brought an end to economic growth, using their enormous voting power to elect politicians who enacted policies that typically benefitted boomers’ interests, rather than future generations. Now, millennials face more debt, fewer resources and higher levels of unemployment than their parents, and are likely to see the fallout of runaway environmental destruction within their lifetimes.
In his new book, A Generation of Sociopaths, , writer and venture capitalist Bruce Gibney puts forth the controversial hypothesis that baby boomers ― specifically the large subset of white, middle-class boomers ― are, both individually and as a group, unusually sociopathic. Gibney cites mental health data showing boomers have significantly higher levels of antisocial traits and behaviors ― including lack of empathy, disregard for others, egotism and impulsivity ― than other generations.