Millennials’ Paper-Thin Dedication to Socialism



And it’s definitely paper, not plastic (cue eye-rolling). From LA’s KPCC we learn that Whole Foods is attempting to go kiosk:

This week Whole Foods opened its first younger, hipper and cheaper brand in Silver Lake, 365 by Whole Foods. The store replaces many human workers with robots and computerized kiosks, something that will likely become increasingly common as labor costs rise and California moves towards a $15 minimum wage by 2022.

The 28,000-square foot 365 by Whole Foods store in Silver Lake employs 110 people, while the 41,000-square foot traditional Whole Foods in downtown Los Angeles has a staff of 230, said company spokeswoman Janette Rizk.

The move is aimed at enticing millennials, partly due to the store’s low cost orientation. Of course this is the same generation in thrall to Bernie Sanders, the self-described socialist who’s made much of his dedication to unions. But beneath the social justice surface is a pretty blasé attitude toward the economic component of leftism. See this report from veteran political scientist Larry Bartels, which found Sanders supporters less, not more, supportive of lefty policy than Clinton supporters:

In a survey conducted for the American National Election Studies in late January, supporters of Mr. Sanders…were less likely than Mrs. Clinton’s supporters to favor concrete policies that Mr. Sanders has offered as remedies for these ills, including a higher minimum wage and an expansion of government services.


The generational difference in ideology seems not to have translated into more liberal positions on concrete policy issues. For example, young Democrats were less likely than older Democrats to support increased government funding of health care, substantially less likely to favor a higher minimum wage and less likely to support expanding government services. Their distinctive liberalism is mostly a matter of adopting campaign labels, not policy preferences.

Kinda like Bernie Sanders himself, it’s say one thing, do another.

Surveys have shown that millennials don’t shy away from the S word like many a traditional American. Yet they’re up to their necks in job-cutting, efficiency-strengthening tech trends and don’t seem to mind one, er, bit.  Uber cutting cabbies’ wages? Who cares. Orbitz making travel agents redundant? Meh.

21st century capitalism is fucking awesome.

Millennials – American ones, anyway – are far more libertarian than they think. Their socially liberal, economically-conservative-enough disposition is a neoliberal’s dream. The issues that rile them the most make no dent in the economic status quo, after all, either helping the corporate bottom line or avoiding doing any injury to it. Pro immigration? The Chamber of Commerce agrees. Anti-racist? Big ol’ corporate meanies are on board with that. Pro gay rights? I repeat myself.

Millennials’ socialist bonafides are pretty slim, unless one wants to redefine socialism as simply a more vibrant and fabulous version of a system once though to be a gray simulacra of the organization man. Capitalism is one resilient beast, let me tell you.

In 2016 this is a country where those who praise capitalism are some of its least relevant and savvy adherents; and where those most adept at navigating, surviving and celebrating capitalism come out against it. #strangedays


2 thoughts on “Millennials’ Paper-Thin Dedication to Socialism

  1. Millennials – American ones, anyway – are far more libertarian than they think.

    39,580 or so voters in New Hampshire ages 18-29 voted for Sanders. 13,715 or so voters in New Hampshire ages 18-29 voted for Ron Paul.


    I would disagree with your description of Millennials. Gay rights are the opposite of Libertarian. A Libretarian would say that there should be not governmentally institutionally recognized marriage. Millennials also do not tend to be economically or fiscally conservative. They tend to want large government programs which equals big government which equals leftism.

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