In America we’re seeing not the expectation of future growth, but the pessimism of imminent collapse. For the first time since they started asking the question in polls, most Americans don’t think the next generation will be better off. And there’s good reason to believe so: for the first time in American history the average life expectancy has dropped. The future has had over a trillion dollars in value sucked out of it in the form of student debt, that time machine that brings decades of yet unperformed labor to the market now. The future may be young, but it’s a whipped dog.
Rising tuition, powerful student lenders, and enormous unemployment effectively use students’ dreams to hold them hostage. In a great bargain for all parties involved (Universities, banks, employers), student loans functionally guarantee tomorrow’s labor today. You can’t earn a livable income without a college degree, but (if you don’t come from privilege already) you must mortgage your future in order to earn it.