In this ongoing debate we have here at Capitalists @ Work, we "youngsters" are often told that we are rich in gadgets and gizmos but poor in other (more important, according to the declinists) areas. I am still not completely sure about this, although I am sure the more friendly of our commenters will tell me I am totally wrong in the least pleasant way possible. Of course, my generation have fewer housing opportunities than some older folk, my input into this conversation has never denied that. There has been a massive property super-cycle, especially in London. London's success did decline post-war, with the population hitting rock-bottom in about 1983; after which it started its current surge.
Anyway, I am also fairly sure that my generation and younger have other opportunities which the older did not have when they were young.
Apologies if you have heard this story before. Towards the tail-end of a two-week holiday to Japan, I was outside the Emperor's palace in Tokyo, taking a photo of it. This one, probably.
An old-timer came up to us and started chatting amiably. He wanted to know where were were from, and was excited to learn that we were Brits. He said "you are using a Japanese camera!" and seemed to be very pleased about that. I mumbled something about there probably not being any British cameras these days, and weren't almost all the main brands Japanese? Anyway, he wasn't interested in the camera any more, he wanted to tell me his anecdote. He said "do you know how I know that the British are very rich?!". OK, now I am interested, because the whole time I had been in Japan I had been marvelling about how shiny and modern and clean and efficient everything was compared with old England. If you haven't been, Japan is what the future is going to look like (unless the future is like Brazil). Anyway. The chap told us that he used to work in an office building that overlooked the British embassy in Tokyo. He said "every day at 5.30, I see them coming outside and drinking gin and tonic in the garden! British so rich you only work until 5.30!".
So while I am sure that most of my age group and younger would like "More Housing" - after all, who wouldn't? - I think we do pretty well on other counts. Mostly we work in clean, safe environments. Most of us can at least vaguely direct where our careers go - we generally don't just lump it with whatever is available. We get plenty of paid leave. Flights to other continents are affordable and available. There are plenty of countries which are welcoming and interesting to visit. It is very common for people from ordinary backgrounds to go travelling for long periods if they want to. Brits go and work abroad on a scale which must surely dwarf that of my parents' generation, but not because the domestic economy is crap but because they want to.
It is not all entirely negative.