During Tuesday’s fireside forum titled “Young, Frustrated, and Mad: Global Youth Unemployment and Unrest”, two guest speakers discussed issues regarding youth unemployment and its effects on modern society.
James Causey, a columnist from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Nicole Goldin, owner of the D.C based consulting firm NRG Advisory joined Doug Savage, the producer of UWM’s Institute of World Affairs public television show “International Focus,” in the nights discussion.
According to Goldin, youth between the ages of 15 and 24 make up roughly 17 percent of the world population and also roughly 40 percent of the worlds unemployed people.
Nearly 85 to 90 percent of the world’s young people live in the worlds developing economies and fragile states, said Goldin.
Goldin believes these figures represent the importance of including young people in political and economic conversations.
1/3 of the populations in what Goldin termed “hot-spots” such as Syria, Nigeria, and Afghanistan are young people. It has been suggested that population bulges like those evidenced in these “hot-spots” can lead to social unrest.
According to Goldin, having large numbers of unemployed young people can have serious financial and social impacts on society. These trends can lead to lost trend revenues and can place a financial burden on society as the youth see their economic prospects dwindling. Goldin said it is currently being noticed that youth unemployment is having a dramatic emotional impact on the world’s population that is currently coming of age.
A recent study of sixty three countries found that roughly 20 percent of suicides annually among young people can be attributed to unemployment said Goldin.
He says these global trends of youth unemployment and unrest have led to large numbers of the world’s young people feeling disenfranchised, and subsequently has pushed them to join “underground economies” such as gangs and extremist movements.
Causey spoke about the lack of job opportunities for urban youth, specifically in the minority communities, contributes to a disconnect between young people and the concept of work. He believes that in communities where jobs are scarce that even the parents are out of work, the kids left wanting for things that could otherwise be provided by a job. He believes this is a major factor in rising crime rates and gang activity.
“When you don’t give a kid an opportunity to work and learn how to be self-sufficient, learn how to become a man or a woman, what do you think they’re gonna do?” asked Causey. “They’re gonna take it. They’re gonna take it, and they’re gonna do it by any means that they have to.”
Causey believes that today’s society is so dramatically divided that too many people either don’t care or are unaware of the impact that mass unemployment is having on the black community.
Causey expressed his exhaustion with the rhetoric that America’s unemployment problem is due to citizen’s lack of motivation to work. If every job in America was filled there would still be 6 million people unemployed, said Causey.