I recently did an opening keynote in Bergen, Norway for an organization called Norwegian Audience Development. I will write more about audience development in light of generational change in subsequent posts.
In my presentation I discuss the works of historians William Strauss and Neil Howe and try to put their findings into a Scandinavian context. I believe this is meaningful. I see many cross-regional parallels and am astounded how consistent the generational patterns are across national boundaries even when they are exposed to other societal mechanisms. Take for instance Norwegian youth who have pretty much escaped the harsh effects of the last financial crisis, but is culturally close to their peers in other Western countries. They tend to show the same financial caution and conservatism in personal financial planning as do millennials in other countries.
If ever there’s a difference it must be in terms of political libertarianism. Youth in the U.S. seem to be leaning more independent or liberal leaning than the previous two generations whereas Scandinavian youth are leaning more libertarian, even conservative on certain topics such as domesticity and family. This is not surprising if we can perceive that globalizing cultural forces are likely to push the more susceptible younger generations towards a common median. Also, the brutal reality of income security is not felt as strong among younger cohorts in countries with strong welfare systems, so the need for help from these institutions is not felt as urgent.
Here’s the full movie. I’m coming in at 30 minutes: