Gen Z-ers value happiness over money, and are more likely to vote through a socialist lens than previous generations. Gen Z also values the concept of “societal collectivism,” and has an strangely positive relationship with Communism (personally not a fan of Stalin, but, kids these days…) According to research by Pew, 73 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 say that “most of the time, people just look out for themselves,” rather than thinking about the welfare of society in general. Moreover, National Review cites that “three in ten Republican 18- to 24-year-olds hold a positive view of socialism.” With all of this information at hand, the very pressing question then begs: is Gen Z fit for capitalism? My answer is surprisingly yes. Here’s why.
Let’s talk about professors for a second.
Loving money and capitalism go hand in hand. However, the underlying driver of capitalism is innovation, and innovators care not about money, but societal advancement. Take academia, for example. Professors fall in love with their careers because of their research not money. I have spoken to multiple professors at my university, and all of them relayed to me that they simply do not care about money. They couldn’t care less about wearing the same pair of corduroy pants and checkered flannels day in and day out or driving a flashy car. They are engulfed in their studies. But does that make them anti-capitalism? Not exactly. The work of academics does subliminally affect capitalism. This is because it serves as an input into R&D expenditure provided by the government, which leads to technological innovation and ultimately contributes to the economy.
The reason I brought up professors as an example is because it serves as a perfect segway into Gen-Z’s sentiment. Gen Z doesn’t hate capitalism––we just aren’t hungry for money. What we are passionate about is making a social impact on society, and doing so via an innovative approach. Because of our heavy push towards new AI/IoT/Robotic technologies, we will pioneer the digital economy, which will spur investments across all industries.
The bottom line is that Gen Z thinks that capitalism is all about money. But I argue that capitalism is also the greatest evangelizer of innovation, and pushes for societal advancement in a way that socialism and communism fail to. If Gen Z took a second to understand this, they would be calling themselves capitalists in less than a heartbeat.