The Shuffle

There is a problem in the US that fewer people are moving from one state to another. This lack of movement has significant negative repercussions for the economy, in that people are less likely to move to find work, making labor markets less efficient, and that they end up living surrounded by people with little experience of other places and ways of thinking and little tolerance of difference. National culture becomes fragmented, and the possibility of meaningful dialogue goes away. Wealth mobility is also decreased, since assortative mating is exacerbated by people pairing off with people from their immediate surroundings.

In previous generations, exogenous forces have limited how sedentary people could be. Throughout the 20th century, wars repeatedly uprooted people and communities, mixing people from all over the country together, making life barely recognizable for those left at home, and leaving the returning soldiers unmoored and with a community built during their service and distributed around the country. This made moving much less daunting, and assortative mating was greatly decreased following major conflicts where a draft was instituted.

To restore the effects, but without the costs of war, we should implement a program in public schools that would enable students to spend time in other communities. The program would provide free or significantly subsidized travel and room and board, and place students randomly around the country, prioritizing cultural and geographic mixing. Schools could opt in to the program, and students could opt in to participating. Schools would receive as many students in exchange as they send away. Randomization would prevent concentrating these exchanges in ‘sexy’ locations (e.g. major tourist destinations), and efforts would be made to separate students coming form the same school or even town (though this would be limited by the fact that population centers would be sending more students than relatively sparsely populated areas.

Such a program would give students a chance to get out of their home town, which by itself should significantly increase the likelihood that they will relocate later in life. They will be allowed to build a geographically distributed community, and an appreciation of the life and concerns of others. The mixing would have many subtle social effects, encouraging non-assortative mating, cultural exchanges that will tend to spark innovations, and, over generations, decreases of inequality and political polarization which are fed by increasing social and economic complacency.

Young people today are way too poor to move around. They depend on family (their parents) far too much and simply don’t have the resources to feel free to take risks.

Thank the housing bubble, student loans, and the great recession’s effect on job availability and wages. The baby boomer generation has royally fucked the millennials in the ass, and they don’t even care, let alone want to see it. It’s funny actually, how deaf and blind they are, living in la la land without any idea of how their kids actually live.

Well, America is fucked, so who cares? If I hear one more baby boomer complain about the economy or anything else I’ll simply lose it. They sold their children down the drain into slavery, and traded their country and future away for a few feel-good marketing slogans. So fuck them.

Yes, baby boomers can fuck off.

Sounds like something a military recruiter would say. :smiley:

Thank goodness I’m not a baby boomer. Close call but no dice…whew!

Most of the problems the west faces is due to the baby boomers ill choices and decisions politically the last sixty something years.

Void, I agree that the system is set up to make life easier on people in middle age and retirement at the expense of those just starting out, but I don’t think that fully explains why people aren’t leaving home. Even after moving out of their parents house, Americans tend to live within a few miles of where they were born. If it were just about economics, they would move to wherever the job market is best. Instead, they move out but stay near home. That suggests it isn’t about the economics, because for many people, moving to a different job market would mean better earnings relative to cost of living.

This situation seems to require additional explanations, whether fear, complacency, intolerance, lack of experience in moving to a new city, or lack of the small social connections that make such a move doable. Those factors are things that government can address through a program that helps students experience living away from home for a while before they settle into a life.

Of course, the same forces that have made the economy less inviting for young adults will also be reluctant to fund a program like the one I’m proposing.

Isn’t the modern world experienced through technology? Why do anything when all of your experiences can be had on a computer? What’s the point of moving when you live via virtual reality? You want to climb the Alps…virtual tour it without any costs. You want to swim with the sharks…do it virtually…way easier…no worries. Technology will eventually meet all your needs and you will only have to plug in permanently.

In order to move somewhere else far away from family you need to have money. It’s a simple economics thing. Also has to do with renting rather than owning a home, because with rental agreements you don’t have the freedom to suddenly move out on a whim because you got a job offer in another state, whereas if you own your home you are free to sell it at any time.

It all comes down to the economy. Shitty job markets (hundreds of applicants for a single open position), deflated wages, low trust by young people in the economy, and no ability to have a savings due to massive student debts. You simply cannot take risks when you owe $50,000-$100,000 in debt from the very start of your adult life. If baby boomers want to figure out why the economy is stagnating maybe they should look at the trillion dollars a year that young people aren’t spending in the economy because they’re instead making debt slave payments to banks (“student loans”).

Yes, buy you also need money to move out of your parents house or to buy or lease a car, and people seem to be doing those things. It doesn’t seem that people can’t afford to move, but that they choose not to and to spend their money otherwise, closer to home.

I don’t think this is right. Homes are not particularly liquid, and depending on the local real estate market selling a home can take months or years. Moreover, most home purchases have high transaction costs, so that moving out of a house entails a significant cost unless one holds the home long enough to recoup those costs as home value increases. And some mortgages even carry a penalty on early payoffs, adding to the cost.

By contrast, residential rentals are rarely for more than a year, and will often convert to month-to-month following the end of the initial term. Even during the term, a lease can be broken by finding a replacement tenant, and barring that, the penalty for breaking the lease is usually forfeiture of the deposit, and never more than the remainder of the lease (usually a 1-year lease, compared to a 15- or 30-year mortgage).

Owning a home almost always means tying up almost all of ones wealth in an illiquid and immovable asset. It is implausible that it would be less of a barrier to interstate moves than renting.

But the job market varies state to state. If the problem were really that there are no jobs locally, they could simply move to where the jobs are.

That’s a big part of the problem I’m describing: local job markets have become inflexible. In the past a failing local job market in Exampleville would mean people move elsewhere to find work, so the competition for jobs in Exampleville decreases and unemployment and wages level out. If everyone stays despite there being no jobs, competition increases, meaning high unemployment and low wages.

A lot of young people (under 30) do still live with their parents. And it takes more money saved to move farther away rather than close to where one already is. It also takes courage and risk, as I mentioned before, which is something millennials have in short supply thanks to the instability and difficulty of the economic situation they have known for the last 9 years.

The housing market is good right now, houses sell rather quickly and there is a shortage of housing, which is why rent prices are inflated. If it takes you a year to sell your house then either you are asking too much or you live in a really bad area. I don’t think that is the common experience.

Homes are liquid. You are free to sell your home or at least put it up on the market, and you have that home as an asset so you can get a moving loan if you need to, while you wait for your house to sell. Things are far easier when you own a home than when you are locked into a rental agreements for one or two years, and only have a narrow window of time to choose to either get out of that agreements and move, or stay in it.

Well, the analysis is something I heard once during a discussion about why millennials have a harder time moving to other states for jobs. It was brought up that millennials have far lower home ownership than their parents’ generation, and this means they have less capital and are locked into rental agreements. I see houses selling in 1-2 months, on average. In contrast, if you want to get a rental those go in 1-2 days. That is how tight the rental market is right now.

But yeah, you can just pay a fine and break the rental contract, but that isn’t advisable either, since it stains your rental history and costs more money. Since one is renting rather than owning their home, it is reasonable to assume that person doesn’t have a lot of extra saving or income to begin with.

Yes, I agree with you that more mobility would be good. Mobility is not only good for economic reasons but also for psychological reasons, it is healthy to travel and see new places rather than stay where one has always been. But as I said, the baby boomers really have no idea what it is like for their kids. In just the last 8-9 years the costs of rent, paying student loans, and of health insurance have all increased dramatically while the number of people applying for each job has also skyrocketed making it less likely to even get interviewed much less hired, whereas in 2007 and before this wasn’t so much the case, certainly not for the broader economy in general.

Oh yeah, and the baby boomers also gave us younger people 20 trillion dollars in debt. Thanks guys. Really appreciate it.

well one can see who the millennials are here…

they are the ones bitching and whinning and moaning about their lot
in life without actually offering any, ANY solutions of any kind…
in fact, three separate responses here were along the lines of “Fuck the boomers”…

and that is a solution, how exactly? as a boomer, I would say our greatest
crime against humanity has been disco and for that, I apologize… but the rest…
we too were given a hand that was not great and we did the best we could…
there are many guilty parties here and finding guilt isn’t that hard, but
a better response would be to search out and find solutions instead of bitching
about it…but no, you would rather tell boomers to “fuck themselves”…
and that is about as productive as I ever seen a millennial be…sooooooooo,
what’s it going to be, bitch and whine and complain some more OR find solutions…


Solutions? Your generation of baby boomers have bankrupted the west in total. It takes financial capital to change anything of which we no longer have. You would understand this if you had a firm understanding of economics moron.

In the west currently a devestating market correction is right around the corner going into the near future thanks to your generation. Hope you have plenty of canned cat food to eat chump.

P.S. I am tired of paying your worthless generation’s social security, Medicaid, and retirement pensions through income taxes.

Void, I think a national exchange program would partly address the risk you note in moving to another state. Having a community in another state should decrease that risk, by providing someone on the ground to provide information/scouting, and some social support on arrival. I think the perceived risk is larger than the actual risk (there is great risk in staying put in a bad job market), and a national exchange program would help with that as well, by showing students that they can relocate and adapt more readily than they believed.

This is my understanding as well, though I suspect its interaction with low mobility is not mainly by lock-in to rentals (though I concede that it probably does happen in some cases), but is related to the other economic issues you’ve identified: houses are more expensive than they used to be, as are apartments, and wages have been flat for a while, meaning that both buying a house and moving a long distance are harder to attain.

Maybe the economic barriers are creating a kind of learned helplessness, where kids grow up learning that they have very little ability to change their own outcomes, they are unable to become independent locally, and so they never even consider trying to become independent in another state.

I somewhat agree with Peter re Boomer’s blame for the current situation, except that a lot of the policies that really do shift value toward the middle aged and elderly are still in effect. It’s not useful to point fingers at each other, but rational policy reforms that remove burdens from young adults will mean shifting some of that burden to the middle-aged and elderly.

However, contrary to Void (and I think Otto, though I’m not sure if “bankrupt[ing] the [W]est” includes national debt), I don’t think the national debt is a bad thing. The US is still credit-worthy, we could borrow significantly more than we already have. That suggests that whatever we’ve borrowed, our returns are positive, and borrowing to invest in society was a good investment. Our current President’s campaign statements aside, we are not likely to default on our debts (or rather, we don’t need to, but who knows what we’ll actually do).

Oh, really? Look, the older generations had fifty plus years to plan politically for the future but instead has squandered and ruined for future generations to come. The older generations have no excuse as none of us younger people were alive to facilitate anything. Instead we get to live in a failed state that baby boomers have created.

Otto, Otto, Otto… you sound like one of those whiny, narcissistic, self-obsessed, privileged millennials. I thought you were more mature than that.

This is not the place to answer your boomer criticisms (some of which are valid - like disco - sorry about that) but I can’t help but post this video to show you how you come across to boomers like me who have worked our guts out trying to change things – remember, all the incredible social changes that happened between the authoritarian 1950’s to the 70’s were fought for - often brutally. Nothing was given to us. You guys don’t know that, or forget it.

Now compare that with this. (Oh, little baby Jesus, I hope this is a send up but I fear it’s the new reality…) … arvard.mp4

PS: I love the youth today. I get along really well with them (just not the SJWs). I only wish they knew how fucking great they have it. That’s their problem; they take all that has been given to them for granted and only see what’s missing. (Sorry Carleas. I won’t hijack the thread any further)

I’m entitled? :laughing: I work fifty five hours a week dude.

Who is paying who’s social security, Medicaid, and retirement pensions in income taxes?! :laughing:

Gimme a break!


Are you really serious or just cynical when you state that you “don’t think the national debt is a bad thing”?

Debt is a bad thing. Of course. It is bad, wrongful, unfair, unjust, especially when it comes to the following generations.

If you want to have a sustainable development (which also means a development of fairness, justice, goodness, rightness!), then debt must be a taboo.

K: I have been paying into the SS and Medicaid and retirement pensions for decades even
after a decade of anarchism…I have worked for over 40 years and I have had long stretches
of 50 plus hours of work at different jobs… I now only work at most 32 hours and that
is because my body can’t take working any more hours then 32 hours…
and I am certainly not alone… Millions upon millions of boomers have paid into the
SS and Medicaid and other such programs for decades… a few boomers I know
are retiring but most have to work on and many I know don’t have enough saved
up to retired and so many boomers will wind up working up to and perhaps for some,
more then 50 years… I think we have paid our dues…I know a lot of boomers who
have nothing saved up but the equity in their home… basically the only way we are going
to retire is to sell our homes because that is the only thing of value we have…
I too basically have only my condo as my retirement account…
and the only reason that has value is because of the extreme rise in home and condo
prices here in the bay area… the average home around here is worth a million two
and most condo’s are over 700,000 and climbing… a fall in the price of homes and condo’s
will destroy the retirement of millions… and that is a scary prospect…

we have paid into the system for decades and we expect to have something
for us after decades of putting into the system but again, most boomers I know
understand that they will probably won’t get their SS and are expecting nothing
from SS…so don’t go judging us from a young kids perspective because unless
you have walked in our shoes for decades, you have nothing to compare it to…


Oh there are plenty of “solutions” to the problems dominating u.s. and other western countries.

Main problem is, most people, and the baby-boomers too, will not like those solutions, at all.

I’m with Arminius. The national debt needs to be confronted squarely before anything else can be done.