A Gen Z’s Perspective

KF is a college student who goes to UMW, and is pursing an Elementary Ed degree. KF grew up in a middle class household, but is now part of the upper-middle class. Both of her parents are college graduates and now work in the medical field. Both work in the medical field. KF does not have much knowledge of capitalism and what it embodies, but she was willing to try her best to answer questions about capitalism in her life.

The first question I asked KF was, how do you define Capitalism? Her response was, “it is the system where the companies are privately owned rather than the government.” This definition is broad but it is good that she understood the idea and foundation of capitalism. KF is not familiar with the concept of capitalism, she just knows the basic idea which resulted in a dictionary definition idea of capitalism

KF responded to the question of, how do you think Capitalism has effected your life, next. Her response was, “I think capitalism effects everyone’s lives and you can see that in how much products are pushed in social media. I think it especially if you go online, such as Instagram, you can see products being pushed and advertises and that is capitalism as companies are fighting each other to sell their good for supply and demand. ” As a liberal, she pointedly mentioned in the beginning, has influenced her ideas of capitalism. KF on the daily goes on all forms of social media and is bombarded with advertisements that sponsor items and products for consumers to buy. As a younger individual she gets advertisements that are specifically for a targeted audience.  Today, the advertisements one gets on social media are all part of a algorithm that takes what you look at and find products you might be interested in to sway you in buying them. I think it’s interesting that when she was younger she did not have access to these types of advertisements because formats such as Instagram were not around.

KF got a little stuck on the next question, how do you think capitalism has evolved over the years? “I think it has definitely evolved, not specifically in my lifetime but I think it has gotten to the point where it has gotten to produce more and more products. In the past, it would have been more difficult to make goods because they did not have the resources to. It is easier now, it is more competitive and more difficult to thrive in if you are not rich. It has become a lot more intense.” Over KF’s lifetime, more and more platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., have the formats if you do not purchase a subscription you were going to get advertisements. As I mentioned before there is an algorithm that is set up to show your products that you might be interested in. Even a decade or more ago there were not a lot of advertisements on social media sites, it is changed over time because of the accessibility and influence of the Internet all across the world. I think KF makes a good point that for her lifetime it was more difficult for companies to advertise their goods and they would have to add them in different forms of media such as newspapers or catalogs. Nowadays it is much easier and companies have to fight over who gets to share their goods or not.

KF’s response to, what is your role in capitalism, is similar to what I think many college students would agree with. “I think my role is being a consumer because I am not actively in the workforce or actively producing goods. I am a consumer, buying items and goods. I allow advertisements to sway me. When I become a teacher, I think that Capitalism will have a different role. When I am in the workforce, I will have more feelings when I make my own money. Right now, my family supports me financially and when I am out of college my parents will not be. I will probably will have more feelings on the matter. I look at my parents differently now and question why they are so frugal with money but I think once I am on my own I will think like them.” I think many people in today’s society are consumers, mostly the young adults and adults who have to buy goods for themselves. There are lots of individulas who will buy goods that are considered trendy and are changed seasonally based on what is popular. Since KF is a college student, she is not as frugal with her money. That may be because she does not have a job and relies on her family, it seems that she does not have a sense of when not to spend money. When KF gets into her teaching position, and may not have the biggest salary, she is going to think about money differently. KF is currently reliant on her parents for money, once she steps into the real world and realizes money is difficult to earn, I think she will think differently.

Finally, KF’s response to, what are some positive and negative aspects of capitalism, shows her true Gen-Z self. “To start with, positives, I think that we have a lot of goods and there is a lot of competition. You are constantly are going to have new and improved products. There is going to be a variety of goods, which is good because I like shopping. It is also good because it makes the prices competitive, so you don’t have to pay exorbitant prices. It makes more things innovative and exciting as people are coming up with more and more goods. Some negatives, in a capitalistic society people who are economically challenged or are facing economic struggles, I think they are impacted negatively. It is difficult for them to thrive. Our economy is not set up for people who are financially challenged to thrive. It is for people who have a lot of money or are in specific higher-paying jobs. They become stuck in a system of labor which is difficult to get out of.” I agree with KF, products are constantly being changed monthly, it seems, whether it is a style of clothing or new forms of technology. The system where prices are competitive is good because if only one company makes a certain product the prices would be skyrocketed. Overtime, prices have risen as brands have become the new moneymaker. If a company does not have a brand name, they are most likely not going to be pulling in a lot of consumers. Some of the negatives which I think the United States faces is the struggles people deal with in terms of money. Most of the population is lower or middle class and does not have a continual means to support themselves. If a person nowadays does not have a college degree or any sort of associate’s degree, it is very difficult to get into a position where you are in a lot of money unless by chance. Our system needs to change to create more opportunities for people, there are a lot of jobs, but if the pay is not suitable individuals are not gonna thrive in our economy.s degree, it is very difficult to get into a position where you are in a lot of money unless by chance. Our system needs to change to create more opportunities for people, there are a lot of jobs, but if pay is not suitable individuals are not gonna thrive in our economy.

KF’s responses to questions about capitalism have allowed me to gain insight to what a Gen-Z might think about capitalism in their daily lives. It seems as though social media is a big factor when it comes to buying products. Social media is an influence now that in the past was not a huge contributor because social media wasn’t around in the 1900s. The platforms that are around today have it not only influenced Gen-Z but other generations as well because social media has captured a worldwide audience. I think this interview has been interesting to understand why capitalism has grown in a society. One statement that she made regarding capitalism changing over her lifetime, we are around the same age and social media has changed drastically within 20 or so years and products change more now than they did in the past. Capitalism is forever changing in all forms in today’s society.

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