Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Criticism: Housing Offers Forced Savings, Renting Doesn't

Column Quick Summary:
  • Renting is not forced savings.
  • Renters should set up a forced savings plan that takes a large portion of their income.
  • If you rent and you don't save any monthly income, you would be better off putting your money into a home.

I recently wrote an article spelling trouble for the housing market and how real estate agents could still walk around these encumbrances and sell real estate to the Millennial generation. Although I defend renting, a comment mentioned that housing offered forced savings (my term), and this is a common argument I hear against my suggestion to rent. While this is true, provided that the value of the house increases or remains the same as when it was purchased, I would like to address this financial concern pertinent to renters.

I predict there will be a rise of renters among the Millennial generation. However, as a renter, how can you avoid the pernicious throwing away money or have a forced savings plan outside of housing? A person defending homeownership makes a valid point about savings: renting is money that you never see again.

Renters should ensure that their rent consumes a small portion of their monthly income (see 4 Heteroclite Ways To Save Money for an example). They should also enroll in a forced savings plan without housing. An example of a non-housing forced savings plan would be 20-30% of every paycheck automatically deposited into a savings, retirement or other checking account that they have little - if any - access to in order to keep the money out of site and out of mind.

Homeowners make valid assertions if they criticize renters for a lack of forced savings if the renter does not have a forced savings in place. A renter should never spend equal or close to their maximum monthly income on various expenditures because otherwise, they would be better putting that money into a home, or some kind of forced savings plan.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Controversies Generation Y Will See

As I drove back to DFW with my brother, we continued listening to the Justice Lecture. This video was especially interesting, concerning reproduction and rights. This video pertains to Generation Y in a different way than many might expect: as technology continues to change society, debates like these - which wouldn't have existed before this technology - will shape the way we think of rights for individuals. The rights of a mother versus the rights of a couple, for instance, pose an interesting conflict with surrogacy that we would't have seen in the past.

Start around the 27 minute mark, if you don't want to watch the full video to get the reference for this post.

The technology that allows for surrogacy is amazing and quite helpful for couples that experience trouble conceiving. However, as Stephanie Coontz stated in our interview, "every time we solve one problem, we do create new challenges." I see one of these new challenges being who has rights to the child in this case? And how will Echo Boomers answer this question based on what we know about them? Will the answer to that question change their plans if they face trouble conceiving? For instance, if you were part of a couple, would you take the risk of nine months with a possibility that the mother would change her mind? Or, if you were a woman asked to be a surrogate mother, would you take the risk of being a surrogate mother if it meant losing a child you developed attachment to?

On a pertinent note, you can see the argument in favor of simulated (computerized) wombs in the above video. The disaster that a couple may face in surrogacy is that the mother will want to keep the child (which, wastes the couple's time plus hurts their emotional expectations - "hopes"). The disaster a potential surrogate mother faces in surrogacy is that she won't want to give the child to the couple (due to emotional attachment). Imagine if the process of surrogacy happened through a computer, devoid of human emotions. The result: no maternal attachment and peace of mind for the couple wanting a child.

For every problem, there is a solution.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Echo Boomers To Congress: Thumbs Down

Column Quick Summary:
  • Similar to the presidential rating, Echo Boomers' approval rating of Congress reaches new lows.
  • Democrat approval ratings: 33%; Republican approval ratings: 24%.
  • Approval ratings can have slight biases against other members outside of one's own district, while indicating the unpopularity of the overall Congress.

If Congress as a whole had a Facebook page and there was a dislike button, Echo Boomers would have a clear message to them:

Views toward Democrats in Congress fell from 45% to 33% while views of Republicans in Congress also slid significantly from 30% to 24% during the same period.
In other words, Obama isn't the only one losing steam among Echo Boomers - Congress is also experiencing trouble.

While polls like these can indicate the overall approval rating of each party, they don't tend to specify how many of the members of each district approve of their own Congress representative or Senator. Therefore, new competitors in the next election won't necessarily have an advantage.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Warning: 70.4% of Statistics Are Bad For Your Health

Column Quick Summary:
  • No evidence supports Generation Y having a higher divorce rate than Generation X.
  • Three problems with a comparison: Generation Y is larger, divorce rate may be calculated in a way that misleads people, and the concern about the divorce rate might be to construct a false framework.

I'm only 8/27ths kidding.

After my exchange with Stephanie Coontz, she brought to my attention the post, Generation Y Dislikes Marriages, But Likes Divorce, where a columnist states the following:

Whether the description of this generation is warranted or not, statistics reveal that Gen Y'ers are more likely to have shorter marriages that [I'm assuming this word is supposed to be "than"] Gen X'ers and are more likely get divorced than the previous generation.
Here's the trouble: I haven't discovered these statistics (and Stephanie mentioned that she hadn't either). To be fair to the columnist, her credentials are listed in the article:
Silvana D. Raso, partner and head of the family law practice at Schepisi & McLaughlin, P.A. where she counsels clients in all phases of matrimonial law.
Her assertion might be made based on observation, statistics that legal departments have access to, or statistics that may be in databases that are not accessible for the public. However, I couldn't find anything that defends her assertion.

Do Echo Boomers have a higher divorce rate than Generation Xers? A few things to consider any time you see a divorce statistic concerning Generation Y:

  1. Generation Y is three times larger than Generation X. If the same percentage of Generation Y married as Generation X (unlikely to occur), there would be a probability of a higher divorce rate due to size.
  2. I intensely dislike the way that the divorce rate is calculated by most statistics. Calculating the number of divorces divided by the number of marriages creates numerous false implications. For instance, find this stat (good luck): what is the probability that a marriage will last a lifetime? That stat, by definition, would include only first marriages, thus the number of divorces in a year is unhelpful.
  3. Finally, I think people use divorce statistics often as a way of creating false frameworks (this would be the why are we looking at the divorce rate). For instance, educated people are less likely to divorce than uneducated. Then, some people (after reading that statistic) might get degrees with the hope that they'll be less likely to divorce. People who think this way fail to understand the most important aspect of studying human behavior: what you study, you change, meaning that if people alter their behavior, due to statistics, the statistics may change in the future.
For future studies, I'll find an appropriate disclosure. People should always treat studies - including my own - with a healthy degree of skepticism. Even large sample sizes can turn out to be wrong; and predictions of any kind - most of all my own - can easily turn out to be wrong in the long run (except Keynes' prediction: "In the long run, we're all dead").

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Interview: Stephanie Coontz on Contemporary Families

The responses to the interview questions may not represent the views of The Echo Boom Bomb's author. These interviews are provided to inform readers of information from experts and provide these experts with a medium where they can answer questions without any content changes. You can also read other interviews at this link.

I've written extensively on marriage and the Millennial generation. However, I've left out the issue of family from this socioeconomic analysis. I recently interviewed Stephanie Coontz, who is the Director of Research and Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families. A brief bio:

Stephanie Coontz teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, and is Director of Research and Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families. Her books include Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage; The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap; and A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s. Her work has been translated into French, Spanish, Greek, German, Chinese, Norwegian, Swedish, and Japanese.
Her work is not only helpful to us in order to understand family history, but also how families are evolving.

1. How have American families changed in the past century?

People tend to think that change has been linear, but that is not at all the case. 100 years ago, there was a sexual revolution going on every bit as shocking to contemporaries as anything in the past 20 years has been to modern Americans. There were also more immigrant families in America than today, and the divorce rate was rising precipitously, whereas today it has been falling for the past 30 years. And many more children spent some of their childhood in a single parent family, though that was more often a result of death than divorce. Eighty-two years ago, the US fell into the Great Depression. Divorce rates fell, but domestic violence, desertion, and abuse increased. Then came WWII, which led to a marriage and baby boom followed by a surge of divorce after the war. By 1946, 1 in 3 marriages was ending in divorce. The fact that so many marriages broke up so quickly is one of the reasons that divorce rates stayed fairly steady during the 1950s -- a lot of the shaky marriages had already ended in divorce. Most of us think of the 1950s as the era of the traditional family, but in fact the family arrangements of that day were very unusual. There were more male breadwinner families than than ever before or since. And the age of marriage reached an all-time low in 1960, with nearly half of all women married by age 20.

Still, taking all these variations into account, there have been some clear trends. The age of marriage has been rising steadily since the late 1960s and has now surpassed its previous historical high (which occurred in 1890). Premarital sex, cohabitation, and even having children out of wedlock are far more acceptable than in the past. And there have been interesting trade-offs: Men are doing much more childcare and housework in the past -- when they are present. But there are also more absent fathers then in the past. Successful marriages are fairer, more intimate, and more beneficial to all their members than in the past, but the same things that have made them so have also increased the alternatives to marriage and made an unsatisfying marriage seem less bearable to most people. And of course the increase in acceptance of same-sex couples has been stunningly rapid just in the past 20 years.

2. How would you address the claim made by some media that there's been a decline in family values?

If you look at the Pew Research Center polls on family life you will find that although Americans no longer believe that marriage is essential to a successful life, this does not mean they are giving up on marriage and other committed relationships. Most people say their family relationships are closer than those of their parents or grandparents. And millennials are more likely than older Americans to believe that adult children have the obligation to take in an aging parent if the parent needs assistance. Yes, there is more premarital sex than in the past, but sexual victimization rates have declined substantially in the past 20 years. So have domestic violence rates. Intergenerational relations are also closer. Even before the recession, we were seeing an increase in multigenerational households, partly because of economics, but partly because there has been a decline in generational mistrust, as a result of more democratic childrearing and more socializing between unmarried 20-somethings and their parents.

But of course, every time we solve one problem, we do create new challenges. The more freedom people gain to cultivate their own talents and pursue their own passions, the more possibility they have of going down dead-end streets or getting lost on an unmarked trail. The key is for us to try to figure out how to build on our new possibilities while minimizing our new vulnerabilities. One reason I volunteer my time at the Council on Contemporary Families is because this is an organization that does not waste time bemoaning what we have supposedly lost. Instead, CCF researchers and practitioners accept that family diversity is here to stay and try to get out the research and best-practice findings that will allow every family to build on its potential strengths and compensate for its weaknesses.

3. What major concerns do you see - if any - for the future of families in the United States, and how can we address these (if needed)?

One big concern is the widening gap between low-income, poorly educated Americans and highly-educated, more economically secure Americans in their access to stable, satisfying relationships. Research suggests that the answer lies not in promoting marriage per se but in working on two fronts at once: improving the economic prospects of men and women without a college degree and providing relationship support and training for couples, especially couples with children, whether married, cohabiting or apart. See this, for example.

For Americans who do have good jobs, there is quite a different concern. Increasingly, well-paid and challenging jobs require such intense work hours that it is very difficult for men and women to combine their family responsibilities with their professional ones. At all income levels, Americans need stricter limits on the work week, more generous and subsidized leaves such as those found in Europe and the Nordic countries, and affordable, reliable child care. Given the shortage of jobs, this would be a good time to consider the 35-hour work week, and of course we need to reform health care so that families have more flexibility to work part-time or some protections when they are laid off.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Alternate View: Some Echo Boomers Abandon Obama

Column Quick Summary:
  • An All State/National Journal polls indicates that Obama has lost 12% support among Echo Boomers.
  • In many different demographics Obama has lost support.
  • Even with Obama losing Millennial support, Echo Boomers may not be enthusiastic about other candidates opposing him.

My post covering Pew's studying indicating that Obama will win Generation Y is one side of the coin. However, another poll done by All State/National Journal indicates a different story: among the 18-29 category, Obama has lost 12% support (down to only 54%, a majority).

Of course, Obama has also lost support across among a variety of demographics. However, what's missing in polls like these is who is running against Obama. Keep in mind that voters will not change from an existing president to another president if a candidate is vague. For instance, various polls that place Gingrich (the Republican leader) against Obama give Obama a strong edge.

As for Echo Boomers, a Yahoo article warns:

Grayson cautioned that "the fact that [young people are] souring on the president doesn't necessarily translate into good news" for his opponents.
Indeed; Echo Boomers might just not vote if no candidate appeals to them (though, according to some media young voters are enthusiastic about Paul).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Some Media Still Missing It With Generation Y

Jay Leno acknowledges that Ron Paul is popular with young people, though he doesn't seem to know why:

As for that why question (warning!):

How is Ron Paul winning among Echo Boomers? His isolationist policies - a dreaded thought of many Baby Boomers and Generation Xers - appeal to many Echo Boomers. We are witnessing a historic shift against imperialism among young Americans, and this shift will continue to influence elections in the present and future.
Many media and older Americans don't get that last sentence, but, as Brookings points out, close to 58% of young people think that America is too involved with foreign affairs. Recall that Obama held a mostly anti-war policy when he ran for president in 2008, and was heavily criticized by the Republicans. Some media still fail to see how isolationist Generation Y is.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Generation Y Fails In Privacy; 3 Reasons Why

Column Quick Summary:
  • Social trend among the Millennial generation: no concern for the right to privacy.
  • Historically, reticence and privacy have been important, even in the United States.
  • Expect the "right to privacy" to become unimportant in future laws as Echo Boomers age and other Americans pass.

Critics of Generation Y level statements that tend to be true about young people in general; for instance, young people tend to be entitled, and Echo Boomers certainly are. One criticism of Generation Y that I would offer, though seldom mentioned by critics, is disrespecting privacy. An article on IT rules briefly mentions this from a study:

Even worse, one out of three college students revealed that they do not think about privacy nor do they mind sharing personal data online. These respondents also said that they believe that privacy boundaries are loosening.

Yet, one in four experience identity theft before the age of 30, while at least two out of five college students know of friends or family members who have experienced identity theft.

"To us, there is a disconnect here that people are sharing so much but they're seeing grave consequences," Olechowski said.

Based on observations (my own and others), I would adduce that some Echo Boomers either take their privacy for granted, or fail to understand the importance of privacy. This social trend is new as privacy has historically been a right that Americans value. On top of that, philosophers throughout history (Solomon, Plato, Nietzsche, Tzu) advise reticence.

So why do Echo Boomers share so much personal information and fail to respect their own and others' privacy? 3 possible reasons:

  1. Information is being used as a way to obtain mass attention (ie: "attention-whoring"), not necessarily to inform people of something valuable (ie: "Facebook IPO set at $[x] billion").
  2. Assuming the previous reason, this would mean that private information would receive more attention than common information. For instance, seeing something unusual at the mall is less amazing than engaging in borderline illegal behavior. The latter, in the past, might remain unmentioned, but in a world where everyone is shouting at the top of their lungs for attention, the latter stands out.
  3. Assuming the previous two reasons, value is perceived as a concept determined solely by others. For instance, if most of your friends think your experience was awesome, it's awesome, even if you didn't necessarily think your experience was awesome. In other words, you don't determine value; others determine value for you (based on popularity). Technology changes the dimension of social relationships, and privacy (like empathy) is one of those factors.

What this means going forward is that Echo Boomers are going to think that others' business is their business which may affect what laws are passed in the future (for instance, the Patriot Act - which the ACLU has fought - is predicated on the assumption that government should be able to violate privacy). If others over share information, they tend to assume (as you'll learn quickly) that everyone else does too, which is incorrect. For instance, some Echo Boomers won't join social networks, like Facebook, at all for the reason of privacy (read some of the comments from young people who haven't joined or left).

Update: In a later post, I point out that Echo Boomers, in time, may value privacy and thus fight back against these big data companies. Though I'm skeptical to believe it will be Generation Y, subsequent generations, like Generation Z, may be the ones who push back on privacy (America tends to be a pendulum country that swings to extremes).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Businesses: "Say YES To Social Media"

Column Quick Summary:
  • Social media offers data miners huge pools of information.
  • Insurance companies profile Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites for information about users in order to gauge risk.
  • Social media will bring more data mining jobs.

I wrote about it - Selling To Generation Y: Social Media - and I expect this to become the new powerhouse of business. Data miners possess huge amounts of information about people that they willingly post on their social media sites.

Why I Won't Cry For You:

If you're angered that businesses would use your social media page as a way to measure you, recognize that it's your choice to sign up for a social media site. For instance, I know that by using Gmail, I'll receive advertisements based on emails I get (and I do), but that doesn't bother me because Google is awesome. If you choose to use social media, businesses will use it, even if some aren't using it now. Think about it: do you want businesses to know this much about you? If the answer is no, then stop. It's that simple.

Guess what businesses will love these data? Insurance companies!
Such technology would allow insurers and other companies to more easily mine data from Facebook, Twitter and other sites, explains Michelle Megna, managing editor of ... "And they'll use that to decide how much to charge or whether or not to sell insurance to an individual based on that."
Simply put (though you're welcome to read the full article): your pictures, your likes and what others have written about you don't lie. Insurers can ascertain whether you're a high risk or low risk to what they offer you and charge you on that basis. For now, this is only insurers. But think of other companies that can also use this information - banks, government and the health care industry. For instance, if a bank saw pictures of what you do on Friday and Saturday nights, do you think that they would lend you money? What about a health care company checking to see your interests - whether fitness and nutrition are listed on your profile? These are simple examples of how data miners can design algorithms that predict your story and then charge you accordingly.

Finally, guess who love social media? Echo Boomers. With a generation of 80 million and most of them on social media, the best career field to be entering right now is data mining.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Peter Thiel: The Education Bubble

I've mentioned Peter Thiel in the article, When Will the Higher Education Bubble Explode, and the below videos are interviews with Thiel, covering Facebook, entrepreneurship and the education bubble.

Pay attention to the economic references in the first interview. Thiel attacks the myth of the zero sum game (a prevalent fallacy in economics), and points out that the movie may lead to some unintended consequences of more people entering the Tech industry (where everything is at). He also discusses the value of money, freedom to leave corrupt political systems, and what technology is.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Morality and Echo Boomers

When understanding how Echo Boomers think, especially regarding morality, reflect over the answers from Echo Boomers in this video.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Selling To Generation Y: Social Media

Column Quick Summary:
  • Approximately, three quarters of teens and young adults use social media.
  • Best media source for advertising: Facebook.

If you use social media to advertise to Echo Boomers, how effective will it be? According to Pew, quite effective:

Nearly three quarters (73%) of online teens and an equal number (72%) of young adults use social network sites [age range represents both Generation Y and Generation Z].
However, the immediate concern for businesses is which social media site?

The winner? Facebook.

New survey results also show that among adults 18 and older, Facebook has taken over as the social network of choice; 73% of adult profile owners use Facebook, 48% have a profile on MySpace and 14% use LinkedIn.
Note that if one uses data mining (through updated wall posts, pictures and friends), a company could capture significant business by capturing the when with Facebook (post on this topic in the future).

The losers? Blogging and Twitter. Marketing through those platforms, at least as far as social media are concerned, is ineffective. On the flip side, if you want to appeal to specific demographics (think of who reads Calculated Risk, for instance), blogs and Twitter might be the preferred methods.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Generation Y's "Support" of OWS and the Tea Party

Column Quick Summary:
  • Tea Party: 27%; Occupy Wall Street: 41%.
  • Prediction: these movements will either create new political parties or radically shift existing political parties.

What percentage of Echo Boomers support the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street? An article mentions that 27% of Echo Boomers support the Tea Party and 41% support Occupy Wall Street. Older Americans also support these movements, as they've spread across the country with different aims (though debate exists whether Occupy Wall Street has intentions other than protest).

These movements indicate that political views are changing in the United States. Americans seem to be dissatisfied with the Republican and Democrat parties, so some of them have created their own movements. A few things may come from this: new political parties, or pressure will build to alter the existing political parties in order to attract voters.

That being written, these movements are still too young to shift this next election, though some of the views will alter the strategies that the two parties can play. For this next election, I still expect Obama to win the Millennial generation, but he won't be able to play the same strategy he did in the previous election (for instance, using words like "change" and "hope" will take him nowhere - he must actually present something believable). Republicans, meanwhile, will experience major difficulty appealing to the Millennial generation - the Occupy Wall Street Crowd, which is on the opposite side of many Republican views, has strong support from Echo Boomers. That, and Echo Boomers dislike imperialism, which - except Ron Paul - seems to be supported by many front-running Republicans.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Updated: What Industries Will Be Winners or Losers With Generation Y?

What They Want Now and What They Will Want

Echo Boomers are changing our society in a multitude of ways. The Millennial generation doesn't want what its parents wanted, and if you want your business to succeed or if you want to lower the probability that you'll be in the unemployment line, take note of the winners and losers with this generation now and in the future.

Winner: The Rise of the Renters.

I could write pages on why Echo Boomers won't own homes like former generations, but I think numbers and graphs tell a better story. Only a third of Echo Boomers express interest in ever owning a home. And the current data?

Things may change over the next ten years, but for now, real estate agents will struggle with this generation in selling homes. Of course, if real estate agents focus their energy on landlords they might succeed. Otherwise, if you rent out decent homes or apartments, prepare for a large customer base among Echo Boomers, but be aware that they can move out quickly if they don't like it.

Winner: Education Is the New Homeownership.

Yes, I think that education is in a serious bubble (see When Will the Higher Education Bubble Pop?). But I doubt that the Millennial generation will recognize this. The reason for my doubt: over half of Echo Boomers state interest in pursuing a degree, and a third of Echo Boomers with degrees already want to go to graduate school or further their education in some way.

The next generation (Generation Z) may see the error in their older siblings ways: too much faith in education. But for now, there's no indication among the Echo Boomers I speak to that they're changing their view on education.

The winners here are the trade schools and community colleges - not only do you save Echo Boomers money, Echo Boomers tend to recommend these places to their friends. In fact, when other Echo Boomers go back to school during an education bubble a community college or trade school will hold the highest appeal. Large universities still attract top students, so for now, they're winning too.

Loser and Winner: Marriage Is Dead, But Other Opportunities Exist

If you're in school, and you're considering becoming a divorce attorney or marital counselor, beware: only 21% of Echo Boomers are married! Those may have been the hot professions at one time (especially divorce attorneys), but the future seems dim for them now. Unless those 21% of Echo Boomers line up in divorce court or try to "work things out," the need for divorce law or marital counseling may be history.

Keep in mind that while Echo Boomers are ditching marriage, they seem to favor serial monogamy, which might become its own profitable industry. For instance, Susan Walsh asserted about the hook up culture in our interview:
I see hookup culture sticking around for a long while, but there is some backlash already occurring.
HPV is causing cancers in both sexes, and there is a strain of gonorrhea in the UK, which is now considered untreatable. Of course, there’s the very real possibility of a new, opportunistic virus, much as we saw with AIDS in the early 80s. A worsening of the outlook in this area could create behavioral changes.
Behavioral changes may create more marriages, but if we see increased STDs or increased protective methods against these diseases, some businesses will need to create these products - whether prescription drugs or advanced protective measures.

And with marriage rates declining, Echo Boomers seem to be putting their money into other places: the fitness industry, the outdoor industry, and the fashion industry. In other words, you still have many other opportunities to have a wide customer base. Keep an eye out for the single Echo Boomers and watch where they spend their money (see Products and Services for Single Female Echo Boomers and Products and Services for Single Male Echo Boomers).

Other winners:

1. Technology - if you're in the engineering profession, prepare to work. I have never spoken with an unemployed engineer (unless it was by choice). Since I've been speaking with engineers at DeVry, robotics seems to come up the most. Apparently, there is a growing demand for electrical engineers to perfect the robotics industry.
2. Medical - Echo Boomers will need more medical care as they age. Keep in mind, the obesity rate the in the United States is growing, and this offers medical opportunities for doctors, nurses and those in the research field.
3. Innovative Science - the world faces major hurdles in the twenty-first century, and this industry will boom if science continues to overcome these hurdles. Innovative Science includes, but is not limited to, stem cell research, fuel cell technology, electric transportation technology, robotics, and 3D printing.
4. Green Energy Industry - Echo Boomers like environmentally friendly companies, and green energy not only saves money, but builds a sustainable world.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Are Echo Boomers Lazy?

Column Quick Summary:
  • Due to the changes in society, it's difficult to compare the work ethics of older Americans to younger Americans.

One story that's been popular in the news recently is that Americans perceive that Echo Boomers do not share the same work values as older Americans. Instead of joining the debate, consider some of the following points with regards to the modern world of work:

  1. We now have technology that allows us to do work which we were never capable of doing before this. For instance, in the past, a worker might have been responsible for calculating the standard deviation of a set of numbers, whereas a computer can do it in seconds. This means that we can get more work done, thanks to technology, but it leaves us more time. This may create a perception that people who use technology are lazy, when in reality they have outsourced some of their work to technology for effectiveness.
  2. Because of the rise of technology, we've seen the rise of specialization. While this is considered more efficient in economics, one disadvantage to specialization is that it can provide an existential crisis to specialized individuals. If the system breaks down, or if a specialized individual is waiting on another specialized individual (think of an assembly line), the potential for a lack of work always exists. This can be manifested in a person surfing the internet, texting on their phone, or socializing in general. What is perceived as "lazy" may really be a person waiting on another individual.
  3. People now have more ways to access other people - cell phones, Facebook, email, et cetera. While these technologies allow us to get in touch with people we care about, they also carry a downside: the temptation to multi-task. Older generations, which didn't have access to this technology, may see this constant access as a sign that Echo Boomers lack a work ethic, when to Echo Boomers, multi-tasking their social lives is something they've always done.
My point is that technology has changed our world and thus the conflict between the older and younger generations may be a conflict of how things have changed.