THE GOOD NEWS & THE BAD NEWS (UPDATED)
America’s Socialists: Millennials
Millennials lost the American dream — Gen Z will get it back.
The vast majority of Millennials have given up on capitalism and embraced socialism. According to economists, Millennials have stopped creating new businesses at an alarming rate. Studies show that Millennials don’t see the need for the basic freedoms and rights enumerated in the constitution. It isn’t a stretch to say that America has lost a generation. The good news is that Generation Z will more than make up for the loss. Gen Z’ers are not only the largest generation but also the most entrepreneurial and best educated generation in our nation’s history.
Studies show that Millennials overwhelmingly reject capitalism in favor of socialism. In fact, more than 70% of Millennials prefer socialist political candidates over those who promote a capitalist way of life. When asked why Millennials have embraced socialism they cite issues such as global warming, income inequality, and racism as reasons. This rejection may help explain why the United States has seen a huge decline in entrepreneurship as the Millennial generation has come of age.
The Brookings Institution, who tracks ‘entry rate’ of firms that are one year or younger, recently reported that the startup entry rate has fallen precipitously among Millennials. Pundits have suggested that the “Death of American Entrepreneurship” is ‘mysterious’ but it seems pretty obvious that having an entire generation openly rejecting capitalism might be the primary reason.
Perhaps even more troubling than the Millennial embrace of socialism is their lack of historical context for America’s place in history. Polling among Millenials shows that the generation is utterly ignorant when it comes to the, “seminal event of the twentieth century, World War II, when Germany’s National Socialists, better known as the Nazis, under Adolf Hitler slaughtered some six million Jews in the Holocaust.” Perhaps this lack of context is why Millennials are willing to give socialism a second chance.
In preparation for writing Gen Z Startup, a guide for aspiring generation z entrepreneurs and startup founders, we commissioned the Gen Z Trends report to find out more about them. Here were some of the relevant findings:
First and foremost, members of Gen Z are overwhelmingly entrepreneurial. While their Millennial counterparts are far less likely to start their own businesses compared to other generations, members of Generation Z are far more likely to build startups than any prior generation. In fact, as many as 87% of Gen Z’ers plan to start their own business at some point during their careers. The vast majority suggests they’d prefer a career in entrepreneurship to one in law, accounting, or even the Fortune 1000.
In fact, the majority of Generation Z believe in the American dream. They even believe that they’ll make more money than their parents did. Given their understanding of history more than 89% of them believe capitalism is preferable to socialism and is a prerequisite for the success of entrepreneurs. Politically they look a lot like pre-Millennial generations: 38% identify as Republicans, 34% identify as Democrats, and 28% identify as Independents. The good news for America is that things are looking up. The only question is whether or not there is anything we can do to help Millennials find themselves and join the party.
Update: Some commenters (on LinkedIn) have suggested that the Boomer generation started out as hippies but eventually outgrew the counterculture. The difference is that 70% of Millennials have embraced socialism and fewer than 2% of Boomers were hippies.
About The Author
Alexander Muse is a serial entrepreneur, author of the GEN Z Startup and Sous Vide Science, contributor to Forbes and managing partner of Sumo. Check out his podcast on iTunes. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.