Youth angry with the global economic crisis insist on change

The world’s young people are frustrated and angry with the current global economic crisis and demand change, says David Bloom, Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

“Whether it’s the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in the United States or the mass rallies of the Arab world, young people have been jolted into action and are leading the response to diminished opportunities and unfulfilled aspirations,” Bloom writes in a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) report. The report, “Youth in the Balance,” appears in the March 2012 online issue of IMF’s magazine, Finance & Development.

The world’s 1.2 billion young people, ages 15 to 24, are probably the most neglected of all age groups by policy analysts, business thinkers, and academic researchers, Bloom states. Globally, young people have borne the brunt of the economic crisis that began in 2008, Bloom writes. The youth unemployment rate is 50 percent in Spain and Greece and 30 percent in Portugal and Italy. “It threatens to spawn a ‘lost generation’ that may find it hard to recover, and it is likely to exact a harsh human toll for years to come,” he writes.

Institutions, policymakers, and society must listen to what young people are saying and offer them a voice in decision-making, Bloom says. They must ensure that young people have a good education and good health.

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Department of Global Health and Population