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Simon Rosenberg speaks to 2010 DC Academy Class

Friday, July 2, 2010

A discussion with Simon Rosenberg

Simon Rosenberg of NDN spoke to Roosevelt’s 2010 DC Summer Academy Class today on what he views as critical facts for Millennials. One fact was what Fareed Zakaria termed in The Post-American WorldThe Rise of the Rest,” meaning the upward growth of developing countries to a point where there is no single world power, but multiple powers. According to Simon Rosenberg, although great increases in world peace have come with this trend, the U.S. labor force is hurting due to globalization’s severing of the link between productivity growth and wage growth.

Yet despite the problems that this poses for the Millennial Generation, a recent Pew report called “How the Great Recession Has Changed Life in America” found Millennials (or at least those that are old enough to be in this survey) are the most optimistic age group about an economic recovery. I found it really interesting that the generation who saw their parents’ salaries remain stagnant despite longer hours in the office, and who now is facing one of the worst job markets in recent U.S. history, would have the most optimistic view of their financial futures. When I posed this to Mr. Rosenberg, he replied with what I thought was a very true and very encouraging response: Our generation has seen human potential at work in the unprecedented strives toward world peace accomplished in the 20th century, and from that we as a generation have an inherent degree of optimism.  

This rang very true for me and I’m sure for the other fellows in the room; after all, our generation is a generation of change-makers. We identify problems and we fix them, as evidenced by the millions of young Americans that have done everything from developing policy solutions to launching social enterprises. It was very refreshing and encouraging to know that Simon Rosenberg and other Baby Boomers that support the Roosevelt Institute recognize this. As Mr. Rosenberg also said, Millennials have a special gift of innovation and ingenuity – and this all Roosevelters know can be put to crafting solutions, financial and otherwise, for tomorrow. If you are a Millennial and are ready to contribute your innovation and ingenuity, you should check out Roosevelt’s Think 2040 Initiative.