Article Derived From Transcript of YouTube Video: How the US Is Destroying Young People’s Future | Scott Galloway | TED

Transcript of YouTube Video: How the US Is Destroying Young People’s Future | Scott Galloway | TED

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Transcript Summary

Scott Galloway, a professor at NYU, delivers a compelling speech addressing the economic and social challenges faced by the younger generations in America. He highlights the decline in opportunities and prosperity for the youth, with rising costs in education and housing, and stagnant minimum wages. Galloway criticizes the intentional wealth transfer from the young to the old, the lack of representation for younger people in Congress, and the detrimental effects of technology on mental health. He proposes a series of reforms, including increasing the minimum wage, reforming Social Security, implementing a negative income tax, and breaking up Big Tech. Galloway emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the well-being of children and calls for a collective will to address these issues.

Detailed Transcript of YouTube Videos

Introduction and Personal Context

My name is Scott Galloway. I teach at NYU, and I appreciate your time. I have 44 slides and 720 seconds. Let's light this candle. (Laughter)

For those unfamiliar, I am a global television store. Over the past three years, I've had four TV series, two of which were canceled before launch, and two within six weeks of airing.

The State of the Economy and Youth

If we want to stimulate the economy, we must confront the reality that for two consecutive generations, real income has decreased. The cost of homes and education is skyrocketing, leading to a decline in youth purchasing power and prosperity. This inverse correlation between age and wealth has resulted in a social contract breakdown, causing significant distress.

People over 55 generally feel positive about America, whereas fewer than one in five under 34 share that sentiment. This disparity fuels movements that exploit societal divisions, as the younger generation rightfully feels envious and aggrieved, deprived of the same opportunities and prosperity we enjoyed.

The Minimum Wage and Housing Crisis

The value of youth labor, as reflected in the minimum wage, has been deliberately suppressed. If it had kept pace with productivity, it would be around $23 an hour, yet it remains low. This, coupled with the skyrocketing median home price relative to household income, has led to a significant increase in mortgage payments.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the cost of building a home is largely absorbed by permits, a barrier created by those who own assets to protect their wealth and deter new entrants from acquiring assets.

Wealth Transfer and Higher Education

This scenario has led to a substantial wealth transfer, with the elderly's share of household income increasing at the expense of those under 40. This is not accidental but a calculated strategy.

Reflecting on my time at UCLA in 1987, I highlight the drastic drop in admission rates and the unchanged GPA requirements, emphasizing that higher education should provide opportunities for average students to excel.

However, higher education has become a luxury commodity, with those in the field seeking to increase compensation while reducing accountability. This has resulted in an LVMH strategy: artificially constraining supply to create scarcity and drive up tuition costs.

Recommendations for Change

I propose that President Biden allocate some of the $750 billion intended for college bailouts to public institutions, demanding they reduce tuition, expand enrollment, and increase vocational certifications.

The Disparity in Wealth and Social Security

Wages have risen, but not in proportion to corporate profits. The wealthy continue to accumulate more wealth, while child poverty remains stagnant. The expansion of the child tax credit was omitted from infrastructure bills, yet additional funding for Social Security was approved without issue.

Social Security, while beneficial for some, has become a wealth transfer mechanism from the young to the old. The criteria for receiving benefits should be need-based, not age-based.

Political Representation and Generational Equity

Our representatives, largely older individuals, reflect the population they serve. This demographic discrepancy has led to policies that favor the elderly, widening the generational wealth gap.

The Impact of Technology and Social Media

The rise in self-harm, depression, and other mental health issues among young people is alarming. Social media, under the control of figures like Mark Zuckerberg, has been particularly detrimental.

Economic Solutions and the Future

Despite these challenges, I believe America can address these issues. We have the resources; the question is whether we have the will. Increasing the minimum wage, reforming Social Security, implementing a negative income tax, and breaking up Big Tech are among the solutions.

We must prioritize the well-being of our children, as they represent the most important aspect of our lives. If we acknowledge their struggles and the potential for positive change, we must ask ourselves: Do we truly love our children?


My name is Scott Galloway, I teach at NYU, and I appreciate your time. (Cheers and applause)


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