Dressed in red velvet, she trampled under her reckless feet the stray flowers fallen from other heads, and held out a salver to the two friends, with careless hands. The white arms stood out in bold relief against the velvet. Proud of her beauty; proud (who knows?) of her corruption, she stood like a queen of pleasure, like an incarnation of enjoyment; the enjoyment that comes of squandering the accumulations of three generations; that scoffs at its progenitors, and makes merry over a corpse; that will dissolve pearls and wreck thrones, turn old men into boys, and make young men prematurely old; enjoyment only possible to giants weary of their power, tormented by reflection, or for whom strife has become a plaything.
– Honore De Balzac, The Magic Skin
I don’t get out all that much these days, but last evening I had a really engaging and illuminating dinner conversation. In attendance was a 47-year old commercial real estate investor and fellow Boulder resident who I’ve become friends with, a 32-year old professional poker player looking to move here, and 28-year old tech startup founder. Although I hadn’t met the younger attendees before, it became immediately apparent that everyone in attendance was highly intelligent and very engaged with the world around them.
We discussed religion, philosophy, crypto assets, the importance of nature to humans, travel and more. That said, the reason I’m writing this post is due to some of the generational observations I came upon. It confirmed the overall thesis I discussed in detail within last month’s post, The Generational Wheels Are Turning.
Here are a couple of passages from that piece to refresh your memory:
The Baby Boomer generation, which has dominated so many aspects of our country for so many decades — including the overall narrative of everything — is finally heading off into the sunset.
It’s not so much that they’re physically expiring, but their influence is beginning to wane significantly. It’s not completely obvious just yet since our world continues to be defined by the institutions and ideals they championed, but in the hearts and minds of so many, particularly the younger generations, the world they left us is hopelessly corrupt, archaic and can’t be displaced quickly enough.
While at dinner last night, I tried to listen as closely as possible to how the younger guys saw the world and where it was headed.
I wouldn’t say their views of the future were wildly optimistic, but there wasn’t a sense of dread or pessimism either. There was a vibe of, yeah our generation was screwed, the government sucks and so do all these corrupt institutions, but we’re gonna get out there and do our best. I’ve noticed this worldview consistently over the years from people roughly tens years younger than me, i.e., the heart of millennial generation. Not only is my wife in that age group, but so are many of my close friends at this point, and this ethos has been pretty consistent from my experience.
They don’t trust government, corporations or anyone with power to do the right thing. This is why they didn’t enthusiastically buy the Hillary Clinton kool-aid, despite not liking Donald Trump either.
It seems being thrust into adulthood with terrible employment and wage prospects resulted in a very healthy dose of cynicism about how things work. There’s a very clear appreciation that the world as is functions today is criminally corrupt and broken.
When I go out and chat with people my age and older, I notice a completely different tone compared to when I engage with younger generations. One thing is crystal clear. Older friends of mine not only think the status quo will strike back against extremely disruptive forces like Bitcoin and crypto assets, they also think the status quo will win. They expect a return to the gold standard, or some IMF-globalist one world digital currency to provide a framework for the post-dollar reserve currency system. Generally speaking, the biggest difference between the two groups is that one expects the current power structure to cunningly survive this current period, while younger people think the world can, and will, be fundamentally changed for the better. You know which camp I’m in.
Generally speaking, older people tend to be strongly anchored to the world paradigm as it exists, while those who are younger are naturally more open to massive disruption and upheaval. I’d argue that the current younger generation is even more willing to flip the table over and build entirely new structures than most people realize. The popularity of crypto assets amongst this generation is just one manifestation of this desire. That’s not to say us optimists are naive and expect this to be a smooth transition without a fight, but it’s to say we believe paradigm level, positive change is not only possible, but likely. Which is precisely the attitude you must have if you want to win. If you go into a battle expecting to lose, the result is obvious.
Most interesting to me was how the youngest member at the table responded when the subject of gold came up. He said something like, “I get the investment thesis, I get the concept of it, but it’s just not something I’m interested in.” He went on to describe why.
He likened it to buying an asset, holding it tight, and then waiting for the world to burn around him to profit. This blew my mind because I’ve heard this exact same sentiment, virtually word for word, from other people his age previously. They get gold and they understand the investment thesis, but they simply aren’t interested in it for very specific and interesting reasons. Many older people think millennials are just acting stupid and naive with their interest in crypto assets. They think these kids don’t know anything about gold or monetary history, which is why they’re attracted to these new digital forms of value, but if you actually talk to them, you’ll see that’s not the case. I’ve had too many experiences like the one described above with intelligent and aware millennials to be increasingly confident of this conclusion.
It reminded me of what I wrote last month:
This is where many older people who understand how fraudulent and terminal the current system is seem to get sidetracked. To them, the next logical step as we enter a new financial system has to be to go through gold. Far more ridiculously, some people even push the spectacularly idiotic idea that an SDR will become the accepted global currency of the future. While I don’t profess to know exactly how things will play out, I try to keep an open mind as others arrogantly dismiss Bitcoin completely.
It’s no coincidence that many of those who are particularly condescending toward Bitcoin are from older generations. They’re doing what humans tend to do, which is take their own understanding of the world and life experiences and extrapolate them into the future. Someone who lived 30 years or more before the internet came to dominate everything will naturally possess a radically different perspective of the world and where it’s headed than someone who never knew life without it. This is precisely why a younger person will inherently understand the value and utility proposition of something like Bitcoin far more easily than someone much older.
The only person at the table who owned no crypto assets was the oldest one in attendance (although he’s totally supportive of the space). This pattern is repeated over and over again in my experience. When I go out with friends my age or older they’re almost never involved, but when I go out with younger generations they almost always are. Some people will write the whole thing off as a fad, but my observations point me in an entirely different direction. The evolution and success of Bitcoin and crypto assets is not just a function of revolutionary technology being introduced into the world. Its blistering adoption rate is a reflection of a global consciousness developing amongst younger generations. It’s reflection of a burning desire for a more dynamic, trustless and decentralized world, and it will be up to them to ensure that it happens.
None of us know exactly how the future will unfold, but I’m going to take my cues from younger generations. Their values and desires will be what shapes the world as older generations retire and die off. If you aren’t talking to them and studying the way they see things, you’re going to be completely blindsided by the next 10-20 years.
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