Generation Z Part II: Rejecting Socialism and the Buy Now Pay Later Ideology

Generation Z’s fiscal and consumer choices indicate a group willing to work hard, select wisely, and delay gratification to achieve a superior outcome. These values are fundamentally incompatible with the “buy now, pay later” Socialist ideology that Millennials were sold. Generation Zers seek economic stability, the opportunity to start a business, and long-term value over short term rewards. Market research consistently points to a hardworking and financially conservative generation with views much more in-line with their Generation X parents than Millennials. As early as 2015, Goldman Sachs analysts Robert Boroujerdi and Christopher Wolf noted the more careful and rational attitudes of Generation Z:

“Raised by Gen-X parents during a time marred by economic stress, rising student debt burdens, socio-economic tensions and war overseas, these youths carry a less idealistic, more pragmatic perspective on the world”. 

This year, AdAge did a comprehensive report on Generation Z’s values and consumer habits, emphasizing this generation’s rejection of ‘sunny’ marketing language, preference for fiscal conservativism, desire for stable well-paying jobs, reluctance to take on debt, and willingness to take calculated risks. Value is paramount to Generation Z. They are not necessarily cheap but they want high quality products and services, not instant gratification, and they are willing to work and wait for quality. AdAge notes:

“Gen Zers…tend to share similarities with their parents—like their underlying wariness of overtly “sunny” messaging and, thanks to the Great Recession, a greater appreciation for thrift and value.”

The preference for down-to-earth, objective language over vague promises or feel-good phrases could also be important in political messaging. ‘Yes we can’, ‘hope and change’, and even ‘make America great’ are less likely to resonate with Generation Z compared to objective descriptions of policies and proposals.

Gen Z is also much more debt-averse and more dedicated to earning money than Millennials were. They prefer to work and save money and are very wary of student loan debt and credit cards. AgAge notes that:

  • 83% would rather save up money than use a credit card.
  • 73% of undergrads have a job or part time job to help pay for education and expenses.
  • 26% expect to graduate college with no debt.
  • 26% expect to graduate with less than $25,000 in debt.

What is more, AgAge found almost 41 percent of Generation Z wants to start a business, and a bulk of them are not yet adults. A full sixty-one percent of teenage girls and 54 percent of boys have considered starting a business. Among these, four percent of girls and six percent of boys are already business-owners in their teens.

Generation Z’s work ethic and rejection of instant gratification translates to significantly less support for Socialism than Millennials. An October YouGov–Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation poll found that support for Socialism dropped substantially among Generation Z this year, from 48% in 2018 to 40% in 2019 as shown below.

Source: YouGov/Victims of Communism
Source: YouGov/Victims of Communism

That is a nearly 17% decline in favorability for Socialism among high school and college students. When comparing Generation Z’s views of Socialism to those of Millennials, the disparity is even more stark. While favorability for Socialism dropped slightly for Millennials this year too, from 50% in 2018 to 49% in 2019, the difference in favorability for Socialism between Generation Z and Millennials is a full 18%. Forty-nine percent of Millennials versus only 40% of Generation Z views Socialism favorably.

Generation Z’s entrepreneurial tendencies, skepticism, and preference for long-term value over immediate results clearly translates to a rejection of Socialism. At the core of the radical left agenda of massive debt, open borders, costly foreign wars, and socialized everything, is a “buy now, pay later” philosophy that is deeply out of touch with Generation Z. After all, it is they who will be paying the price once the bills come due.