*beginning of rant*
I've been saying for YEARS that our parents' generation just REFUSES to get out of our way and let us be in charge. They were the same people that instituted a mandatory retirement age so they could get their own parents out of the way, but then eliminated it when they started approaching that age because "how can anyone tell me how old I FEEL, or when I'm UNABLE to continue working?" and then invented the term "ageism" to make themselves victims. The majority of what they've added to our culture is stuff to appear younger (the now-ubiquitous elective cosmetic surgery craze), ways to stay alive longer (the OD health food craze), or ways to keep anyone younger than them from enjoying the freedom they had as kids (the war on drugs, banning trans fats, etc.). We can't really "do better" than our parents, because in a weird way, our parents' generation won't LET us (despite offering vocal support and admonition when we seem to be on a path that varies from the one they SWORE was the model for success, yet isn't really working for us - the whole "get a college degree and the world is your oyster" approach that was valid when they were college-aged and intelligent enough to go, but doesn't really work for us since SO many more people in our generation have SOME sort of college education). We try everything to get ahead - going back to school, taking jobs below what we're capable of in hopes of working our way up - but they're still in control of the work force, so they hold the keys to our ability to advance, and they just keep denying us so that their pension can be a few percentage points fatter.. This is also why SO many of them are dying while they're still working, or shortly after they retire. Still stuck in the paper-chase '80s when it was their time to shine, and they can't fathom NOT having every dime available to them, so they don't retire until they're forced, or until the job environment changes so drastically around them that they can't hang around anymore. There is pretty much ZERO regard for the damage they're doing to the folks behind them, b/c they're so used to being the majority as baby-boomers and only looking out for themselves. This is also why our educational system is pretty much shot - they're using their power and leverage to limit the number of people coming along behind them that can even do what they do, which makes them irreplaceable. They're notoriously bad about sharing their knowledge, b/c they're afraid of training their replacement (I see this ALL the time at the MTA), and they don't care enough about the company to worry about how screwed everyone will be when they leave with the knowledge base needed to do the job b/c they already got theirs.. I don't think it's COMPLETELY sinister in intent on an individual level, but I do feel like their generational lack of concern for anyone other than themselves is hurting everyone around them.
*end of rant*