Lisa Chamberlain, a journalist and Xer herself, argues that a generation’s time has come. Her book Slackonomics is part ode to a lost generation, part economic and (pop) cultural study. It is also a sort of–to use a term that would make most Xers, and probably Chamberlain herself, cringe–manifesto where she challenges her generation “to bring supercapitalism back into balance with an infusion of democracy and to start grappling with the limitations of what acting as individuals acting in their own self-interest can really do for the common good.”
Slackonomics is no hippie-dippie “everything’s going to be OK” self-help book. “Diminished expectations had become the defining force for this post-hippie, post-punk generation,” she [Chamberlain] writes. It’s not all gloom and doom, however. Chamberlain argues that these problems have made Generation X uniquely resilient and flexible.
Economic instability has eradicated dreams of extreme wealth, and Chamberlain, using first-person accounts from various Xers working in different industries–local politics, the arts, tech–illustrates that this generation has learned to live well with less, to find happiness in the balancing of fulfilling work and family life.
Another quality Xers have maintained: a sense of humor. This keeps Slackonomics more incisive than mere pop culture psychology–though the pop culture refs ( Melrose Place, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Before Sunrise) are abundant–and more entertaining than virtually any economics book. Humor has also probably kept this generation from, well, jumping off a bridge. And in the face of economic, environmental and global crisis, writes Chamberlain, “we’re going to need it.”