An Elder Millennial’s Perspective

Today I interviewed a thirty-five-year-old woman who was born and raised in Virginia. Her highest level of education was high school, she works in an office, and she is a single mother. She also claims that she would categorize herself to be lower-middle class in our society. These are the highlights of our interesting conversation about capitalism.

What does capitalism mean to you?

“It’s like the opposite of socialism, right? Instead of everyone contributing to the pot for universal services and rights, you have to work and pay for what you can afford. Everyone is in the business to get rich.”

What is your role in capitalism?

“To spend and make money! Ha-ha! I’m a consumer, so businesses rely on my consumerism to succeed. I’m also an employee, so I provide a service to customers for my employer.”

Do you think that capitalism is beneficial to your life?

“I could definitely benefit from universal healthcare and a free college education. I think those are necessities that everyone should have access to. There are benefits of being in a capitalist country though, but the rich benefit way more than others. I don’t think that I benefit from it, but I could be wrong. There are a lot of struggling people out there that could benefit if we took care of each other.”

How do you think that capitalism impacts the economy?

“I know that it’s bad when people aren’t spending money. Like when we got those stimulus checks during lockdown to encourage people to spend money- that was supposed to boost the economy. I don’t really know how that stuff works, but they’re linked.”

How do you think capitalism has changed over time?

“I don’t know. People seem greedier and more people are living beyond their means because they have to now. Not saying that people thirty years ago didn’t struggle, but you could afford to live on your own and work for a minimum wage job back then. Now, you have to get several roommates or live with family while working two jobs and you’re still In debt. It’s so hard to make ends meet. Prices go up, but wages aren’t.”

How do you think that capitalism interacts with the media?

“Marketing and ads are everywhere trying to entice you to spend money on crap that no one needs. All of these businesses are competing for money and don’t care if it’s a quality product or not. I don’t even use social media anymore because it’s all ads now. Did you see that documentary on Netflix about it? It’s hard to go fifteen minutes without someone trying to sell you something these days.”


My interviewee was hesitant at first because she did not want to sound like she did not know what she was talking about. She loosened up as we got to talking about things and she realized that she had more to say about capitalism than she had initially thought. Her overall outlook on the system was negative because she does not believe that her family benefits much from the system itself. She works to live and there is not an excess of funds coming in. She is a single mom who works hard but is still in debt and deals with the stresses that comes along with that. She is frustrated. What she knows about capitalism and the economy, she hears from political debates, friends, and other people expressing their opinions online, so she does not fully understand how it works or why it works. I think that this nature of understanding will be a trend as we continue these interviews.

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