I have a piece in Newsweek/The Daily Beast on the Occupy Wall Street protests and their relation to, among other things, the crisis in legal education. I should emphasize that baby boomers are very diverse group, both sociologically and politically, and that here I'm addressing the reactions of a particular subgroup: "successful" middle-aged professionals who have some sort of memory of the late 1960s, and who in many cases have at least in theory some sort of sympathy for anti-establishment politics, but who are taking an attitude of sniffy incomprehension toward the OWS protests (which are now spreading to cities all around the country, and even the world).
I first heard about OWS from a commenter on this blog, who noted he was going down to Wall Street on the very day the protest started. And indeed American law schools are at present a fertile ground for producing exactly the sort of people -- young, over-educated, under-employed, heavily debt-ridden -- who formed the initial core of the protesters.
And I do believe that, if something is happening here and we don't know what it is, this is in part a product of a new generation gap. I graduated from college in 1982, at the bottom of what was until the present situation the worst post-WWII American recession. My class of associates at Latham & Watkins was, I believe, the first class to be actually Lathamed: As I was starting my first law teaching job in the fall of 1991, the firm was laying off a good portion of the people I had been hired with just two years earlier. So it's not as if people of my generation, broadly defined (I was born toward the end of the baby boom -- my first political memory is of LBJ appearing on TV to announce he wasn't running for re-election, and my second is of MLK's assassination later that week), haven't been through economic turmoil of various kinds. But what's happening now is different.
I went to one of the best public universities in the country when in-state undergraduate tuition was about $3,500 per year in 2011 dollars. I went to that same university's law school for not all that much more. This allowed me to graduate from law school with $20,000 of total educational debt (a little less than $40,000 in present dollars). And I didn't enter a world in which the job I had not been trained to do was in the process of being handed over to a contract attorney, a person in India, or a machine. These things make all the difference when trying to understand why "kids today" -- even, or especially, highly educated kids, who followed all the rules and did everything right -- are beginning to take to the streets.
Update: Pictures and words.