It’s All Over Now, Baby Boom

MÜNCHEN – Carlos Barientos III werd op de avond van de 31e december 1964 om kwart voor zeven geboren, een paar kilometer ten noordwesten van Honolulu. Dit jaar wordt hij vijftig, en het is goed mogelijk dat hij de laatste van de Amerikaanse 'baby-boomers' is die deze mijlpaal bereikt. De generatie die ooit voor de hele wereld de energie, de opwinding en zelfs de irritante aard van de jeugd leek te vertegenwoordigen zal dan officieel 'oud' zijn – ook al is zij volgens sommigen nooit helemaal volwassen geworden. Maar wat betekent dit nu echt?

De 'baby-boomers' vormen de generatie die na de Tweede Wereldoorlog in de Verenigde Staten, maar ook in Europa, Canada, Australië en elders is opgegroeid, toen de snelle economische groei gepaard ging met stijgende geboortecijfers. Degenen die in die 19-jarige periode geboren zijn – tussen 1945 en 1964 – maakten deel uit van de grootste, welvarendste, best opgeleide en volgens sommigen meest verwende én tolerante generatie die de wereld ooit heeft gekend.

Van seks, drugs en rock 'n' roll tot de burgerrechtenbeweging en de zeepbellen op de dotcom- en de huizenmarkten: de generatie van de 'baby-boomers' heeft – zo goed en zo kwaad als het ging – de moderne samenleving vormgegeven. En nu een van zijn jongere leden momenteel in het Witte Huis verblijft, en anderen in Downing Street, het Élysée-paleis en de Duitse bondskanselarij, zal dat nog jarenlang zo blijven.

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