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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Generations of Twentieth century

Introduction – A generation means all the people born  and living at about the same time. They collectively form a social groups sharing almost similar life experiences, prospects, outlooks, preferences, attributes and value systems etc. Generally different generations or social groups born within a defined time period share similar cultural traits, values, and preferences.

With times, continuous changes happen in thinking, social life style, education system, technology in different spheres (medical, transport, communication etc. Each generation, has its own traits like life-style, habits, pattern of behavior, ideology, communication, motivation, preference, likes, dislikes, work-life balance strategy or financial needs.  Generally different generations or social groups born within a defined time period share similar cultural traits, values, and preferences. And then comes a change depending on the circumstances and the time frame of their birth years.

The average period of one generation is generally considered to be about 20–⁠30 years. Then starts changes causing a difference of opinions between two generations in thinking, outlook, life-style and socio-economic & political atmosphere. Accordingly changes beliefs, likes & dislikes  and values system of different generations as well as their way to communicate,  socialize or behave with each other.

Normally people of two or three generations are exposed to many of the same events share common characteristics. These shared experiences, based on their socio-economic background, parents attitude and many other factors/events (particularly happening during formative teen years, of different generations make the foundation of their beliefs and behaviours. In turn, these beliefs give a generation its defining characteristics.

Generation gap A generation gap means difference of opinions between people belonging to different generations. Usually people belonging to different age groups see the world from different perspectives. Their perceptions, actions, beliefs, interests, and opinions about social and political values and systems automatically change with time. Social scientists have named this difference of opinion as generation gap. Effects of the generation gap include conflict among family members of different generations because of difference of opinion or misunderstandings.

Changes have occurred too fast during the twentieth century. There has been a drastic change between the generations born and brought up before and during 20th century as well as born during and after twentieth century. The pace of life was quite slow before 20th century and in 21st century it has become too fast to mold it in desired direction. Human’s life has become too mechanized and artificial far away from Mother Nature.

Process of modernization and technological advancement – The process of modernization began with the development of technologies in the spheres of science, engineering and warfare. As economist Joseph Schumpeter describes, there have been the following waves of innovation so far –

  1. The first wave – The industrial revolution began in 1705, when water power was harnessed. The focus was on textiles and iron. The first First wave factory emerged was a cotton mill in Britain. The first wave of industrialization and modernization continued for 60 years.
  2. Second wave (1845) – Stem power was used during second wave. Focus was on Rail and steel. As Railways proliferated, their networks strongly influenced urban growth.
  3. Third wave (1900) – After about 55 years, began the use of electricity and chemicals. Internal-combustion engine was invented. Henry Ford model I introduced the assembly line, revolutionizing the automotive industry.
  4. Fourth wave (1950) – Almost after 50 years came the times Petro-chemicals, Electronics and aviation. Aviation gains mass adoption on a global scale, providing a lever to economic integration.
  5. Fifth wave (1990) – It was the time of development of Digital network, software and new media.
  6. Sixth wave (2020) – Intensification of climate challenges demanded the development of , which can reshape business models and consumption patterns. Now is the time AI, IoT, robots and drones. .

First Industrial revolution – First two industrialization revolutions were started and progressed mainly in England and other European countries for performing specific tasks. The first one, revolutionized the textile industry had shortened distances and made mobility faster and easier. It brought prosperity to European nations.

During 16th and 17th centuries, first industrial revolution started in England and European nation in . In 1645, Blaize Pascal and in 1694 developed mechanical computers for solving navigational and scientific problems.

In 1801 Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented first programmed machine called Jacquard Loom. It had automated the weaving of cloth, which reduced the cost of producing their goods through mass production in factories. It had revolutionized the Textile industry, which brought prosperity to England and other European countries.

With their growing prosperity, started the Policy of expansionism or Colonialism. European powers like Dutch, Portuguese, French, or Spanish, which prospered due to first Industrial revolution during 16th and 17th centuries, stated competing with each other to acquire resources, land, and economic influence outside their borders in order to monopolize the trade. They wanted to expand their size, power, and wealth. They exploited other countries for the benefit their own.

Second industrial revolution – The second industrial revolution happened during late 19th and beginning of 20th century, when science was fused with technology. It had shortened distances and made mobility and communication with other parts of the world, faster and easier.

Third industrial revolution – The third one has revolutionized the information technology.

All the technological progress happened during these Industrial Revolutions had changed drastically the life style style and work culture of generations of 20 century, especially of the generations born and brought up in late 20th century after the third great Info-tech Revolution. Again in 2020, the whole world is in for a major change because of Pandemic KOVID 19.

Names and general traits of different generations of 20th centuryGenerational naming has begun in the 20th-century.  The assigned names of different generations born in 20th century are as following –  

  • GI Generation/Interbellum Generation: Generation born worldwide between 1900 to 1915.
  • The Greatest generation/Traditionalists (born between 1910 to 1924),
  • Silent Generation (Birth years 1925-1945)
  • Baby boomers (birth year 1946 and 1964)
  • Generation X (born between 1965 to 1979)
  • Generation Y/Millennials (Birth year 1980 to 1994)
  • Zen Z (Born between 1995 to 2012)
  • Generation Alpha Birth year 2013 to 2025

Various living generations that make up present populations are:

  • The Greatest Generation
  • The Silent Generation
  • Baby Boomers
  • Generation X
  • Generation Y or Millennials
  • Generation Z

Common features of first three generationsVery few people from GI Generation, (Born worldwide between 1900 to 1915), The Greatest Generation/Traditionalists (born between 1910 to 1924) and the Silent Generation (born between 1925 to 1945)} are surviving as of today.

These generations have been born and brought up during the two World Wars and the Great Economic Depression. Some of them fought World War II. They had saved the world from catastrophe and then contributed in building their respective nations. Most of the women were home-makers, stayed at home and took care of kids and elders of the family. Men focused on their career. A period where parents were very strict as children were seen and not heard. This was the generation that saw civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Robert F. Kennedy or  influenced by dialogues of Gone With The Wind. Children liked the stories of Mickey Mouse. They were disciplined, self-sacrificing and cautious. Most of them grew up without electricity, refrigerators, or credit cards. Sometimes called the greatest generation. 

Main characteristic of these three generations All the three generations can be called as the Greatest Generations. Following have been the common basic features of these generations, which distinguish from later generations –

  • Personal Responsibility.
  • Integrity.
  • Humility.
  • A strong work ethics.
  • Financial Prudence.
  • Faithful Commitment.
  • They valued tradition.
  • Valued  respect more than money.
  • Not technologically as advanced as later generations are.
  • Believed in natural, healthy, balanced life style.
  • An appreciation for the “simplicities” in life, Simple living and high thinking was their motto.
  • It upheld values like gratitude,
  • Had a strong sense of determination and possessed strong willpower.
  • They cared more for respect rather than money.
  • Steered away from wastage and
  •  Placed significant value on economic resources.

Baby-boomers, Birth years 1940 and 1964Baby boomers are those people born worldwide between Great Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. Shaping events in the life of baby-boomers have been Post-WWII optimism, the cold war, and the hippie movement. This generation has been casual about relationship.

The generation of “baby boomers” was the result of a strong post World War II economy. A dramatic increase in the number of births happened in United States, Canada, and Australia after World War II. Government began family life, (from 1946 to 1964 in the United States 1947 to 1966 in Canada and 1946 to 1961 in Australia). The governments there had encouraged people to have large families. People wanted the additional tax exemptions offered for having children. With the war over and the economy growing, people were more prepared to raise children. This brought about a significant number of new children into the world. That is why it is called as Baby Boomers.

Population world-over continued had grown throughout 1940s and 1950s, leading to a peak in the late 1950s. Years from 1957 to 1961 were the peak birth years in raw number of births for a nation even though the total national population was 60% of its current population. The population of Baby Boomersgrew as the largest generations in history with 77 million people.

According to Christopher Pappas, January 29, 2016,  characteristics of Baby-boomers have been –

  • They were Optimistic, Team-oriented and Self-centered.
  • Strong work ethic. Baby boomers aren’t afraid to put in a hard day of work.
  • Self-Assured. This generation is independent and self-assured.
  • Competitive. Baby boomers like competition.
  • Goal-centric.
  • Resourceful.
  • Mentally focused.
  • Team oriented.
  • Disciplined.

Baby Boomers’ Motivations are Rooted in Tradition. What they value  in life is “safety in one’s community and nation”, which includes stability of society, national security and social order. For them, life is about a strong state and a stable society.

It is the longest-living generation in history. With it, grew the population world-over because of age longevity as well. Evidence-based studies indicate that age longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. Significant factors responsible for it have been gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and remarkable advancement in medical science. Both men and women became the bread winners, the world saw the uproar of feminism, having a divorce became less dramatic. It is also this generation that saw invention of  TV. 

They have gone through the entire period of technological developments – the rise and development of the media. Baby boomers are the biggest consumers of traditional media like television, radio, magazines, and newspaper. Despite being so traditional 90% of baby boomers have a Facebook account. This generation has begun to adopt more technology in order to stay in touch with family members and reconnect with old friends.  

They have enjoyed stability in terms of both work and family and being active both physically and mentally. They believe that one should take care of their children enough to set them on the right course and don’t plan on leaving any inheritance. They are less dependent on smartphones than the next generations. Today, all-over the world, it is a big problem as how society should cope with an aging population.

Generation X, Birth Years (1965 to 1979) – Generation X followed the Boomers. Shaping events in Generation X’s life have been end of the cold war, the rise of personal computing, and a big increase in generation gap between Baby-boomers and Generation X.

Generation X grew up in an era of emerging technology and was advancing at a very fast speed. During their childhood computers got introduced in their school curriculum. The youth of this generation have been open to entrepreneurship.

They grew up with minimal adult supervision They were the kids who saw divorced as well carrier-oriented parents. They prefer late marriages, small family unlike the generation of Baby-boomers and are casual at divorce. Birth rate has been considerably dropped after 1964 . They believe in work-life balance.

They are eager to learn, explore and make a contribution. They know what they want, and are mentally prepared to struggle to achieve their dreams. They are self-sufficient, resourceful and individualistic. They value freedom and responsibility and try to overcome challenges on their own.  They also appreciate informality, are technologically adept, digitally savvy, flexible and highly educated.

Individualism, ambition and an addiction to work, or being a workaholic, are the values with which Generation X has been grown up. To work and produce has been their philosophy of life, leaving no room for idealism.

Millennials (Birth years 1980 to 1994) – Millennials are also known as Gen Y. This generation is the most populated and most talked about generation in modern history. Millennials are the youth of the new 21st century. They are more progressive and creative than the previous generations. They are self-conscience, like active lifestyle, eat healthy food and health-conscious. They are the most civic-minded since the generation of the 1930s and 1940s,” claimed USA Today. They are the smartest, richest generation and potentially longest living generation of all time.

Events that shaped Generation Y – Shaping events in their life have been the great recession, technological  explosion,  internet, social media and 9/11. Generation Y is the first generation in history that has been born and brought up totally immersed in a world of digital technology. Digitalization has shaped its identity and influenced deeply its political, social and cultural attitudes.

Nurtured and pampered by parents who didn’t want to make the mistakes of the previous generation, millennials are confident, ambitious, and achievement-oriented. They also have high expectations of their employers, tend to seek new challenges at work, and aren’t afraid to question authority.

Attitudes – This generation is open to relationships, late to marriage and accepts sexuality in many ways. They feel enormous academic pressure. Envision the world as a 24/7 place, believes in fast and immediate processing. They are the Yahoo, mobile phones, Google, Facebook, iPhone generation. With unlimited access to information, they prefer digital literacy, they tend to be assertive, with strong views. (info@aspioneer.comDifferent Generations and their attitudes by Alice Carpenter, July 1, 2018)

  • Values meaningful motivation.
  • Challenges the hierarchy status-quo.
  • Places importance on relationships with superiors.
  • Intuitive knowledge of technology.
  • Open and adaptive to change.
  • Places importance on tasks rather than time.
  • Passion for learning.
  • Openly receptive to feedback and recognition
  • Free-thinking and creative
  • Values social interactions in the workplace

Seven surprising traits that make Millennials excellent employees are as following: –

  1. Curiosity – Eager to learn new skills.
  2. Individuality – Most of the times they think that they are somehow different from everyone else.
  3.  Social service –  Millennials focus on larger societal needs rather than individual needs.  They care about a variety of social causes, such as climate change and social equality.
  4. Financial stability – The Great Recession has made a lasting impact on the millennial generation. Millennials are making financial decisions focused on maintaining stability rather than striking it rich..
  5. Technological innovation – Millennials are are obsessed with technology. They were born when the internet, personal computers and cell-phones went mainstream. They are extremely comfortable with mobile devices like their parents. They typically have multiple social media accounts.
  6. Regular feedback –  Millennial workers welcome  regular feedback to improve their performance professionally, rather than taking it as praise.
  7. Collaboration – They are not self-centered like prior generations and believe to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose.

Generation Z, birth years 1995 to 2019 Generation Z It is the generation that has always seen a world with computers and phones. Their life is interwoven with technology and referred to as ‘technoholics’. With the advent of computers and web-based learning, children leave behind toys at younger and younger age. It has got internet access at a young heavy users of mobile devices. They are tired of hearing about the environment and the many ways we have to save it. They are over saturated with brands. It is the generation that will experiment Google glass, nano-computing, 3-D printing and see driverless cars. It is similar to Gen X in financial attitudes but desires to avoid debt after seeing Millennials struggle. (info@aspioneer.comDifferent Generations and their attitudes by Alice Carpenter, July 1, 2018)Some special features of this generation are as following –

  • It is financially focused. For it, their job is the most important thing in life. They do not mind taking up a job that provides a steady income and necessary benefits even if it isn’t their dream job. Many of them have financial education. They believe in savings more than their prior generations.
  • It is entrepreneurial. It believes  that  money can be made from good ideas and they aren’t afraid to chase those ideas.
  • It is all about technology. Persons of this generation are well connected as Internet and cell phones have been easily accessible to them.
  • Generation Z still likes face to face interaction.
  • It is very focused and highly competitive in most areas of life. It wants best of everything in life. Competition constantly drives them.
  • Change is welcomed by Generation Z.
  • Gen Z has a lot of knowledge and exposure to many different topics. With this breadth of knowledge, they constantly seek new ideas and experiences.
  • This Generation wants to be heard. Having access to so much information, Gen Z has strong opinions and wants them to be heard. This is especially true in the workplace, where they expect to be an equal contributor.
  • Diversity doesn’t even register with Generation Z.
  • Generation Z prefers independence.

Generation Alpha Birth year 2010 to 2024Australian researcher Mark Mc-Crindle named the youngest cohort born from 2010-2024, as  Generation Alpha which other platforms leave out and have failed to update: he called those.

Generation Alpha Characteristics – This generation is yet to join the work-force. It is hoped that

  • It will be the most educated Generation in history.
  • They are expected to be tech-savvy.
  • Artificial Intelligence is supposed to be their reality. Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving etc.
  • Their learning will be highly personalized.
  • Social media could be their dominant mode of interaction.
  • They may not like the sharing economy.
  • They might not play by the rules.

Conclusion – In recent past, times are changing at a very fast speed.            With it, major changes has happened in outlook of the people of different generations. Generation gap has been increasing continuously. It does not take a 25 year age difference to make a generation gap. Today, a nineteen year old will have a hard time to understand the mindset of a seventeen-year-old. Generation gap is a major problem of the society.

Root cause of generation gap – Generation gap. Generation gap results in conflict among family members of different generations i.e. youth, and their parents or grand-parents. It is more between children and parents, the gap becomes even wider in case of grandparents and grandchildren. Various factors cause generation gap. Some of them being age-longevity, changes in society values and systems, inter-racial/interregional/inter-caste marriages, mobility or immigration of social groups, advancement of medical science and rapid technological advancements.

The root cause of the gap is lack of free and frank communication between different age groups, which creates misunderstanding and disharmony between the young and the old. Concept of “right and wrong” has been a major cause of conflict between the elders and the young. The young feel the elders to be old-fashioned, the old think the young to be shallow, narrow-minded and self-centred. Another reason is the advancement of technology at a very fast speed. During 20th century, the difference between the older and young generation was increased because older generations have not been so familiar with new technological advancements. Older generation is not so quick to understand and use new technology. And now with of revolution in Information technology especially happened around 70’s, it does not take a 25 year age difference to make a generation gap. Today, a nineteen year old will have a hard time to understand the mindset of a seventeen-year-old.

How to bridge the gap – It is very difficult to bridge the gap. But attempts can definitely be made to minimise it through –

  1. Focus on similarities. The basic approach is to focus on similarities and not the differences between the various generations.
  2. Keep communication open.
  3. Encourage mentoring.
  4. Give value to seniors.
  5. Set out expectations clearly.

November 20, 2020 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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