In a world that isn’t acting fast enough to stop the destruction of vital natural resources and where viable employment opportunities seem elusive, I fear that financial reform and subsequent opportunity often seem irrelevant against the socio-economic challenges facing your generation.
Simply put, the financial industry exists to serve a societal need. At its highest intention, it is an industry set up to improve opportunity for everyone. And yet, absolute lack of transparency is common practice. Financial products are often slanted toward institutional profit at any cost, without considering the long-term economic consequences for middle class consumers.
The vast majority of prior leaders in the financial industry were from a generation that believed hierarchies of power led to prosperity. This generation built institutions that reflected those beliefs, creating systems that maximized their wealth and deemed any system of checks and balances meritless.
On the other hand, the average millennial doesn’t subscribe to the class based structures of previous generations. Your generation grew up with the internet. Through Facebook, Twitter, and others, you have fused your personal and professional lives and communicate across ethnic, social, and economic lines with comfort and consistency.
As your generation begins to participate in the financial world, your definition of value will push leaders in the financial industry to reevaluate their obligations under the existing system and acknowledge that they have a moral obligation to change course.
Imagine what can be accomplished through the collective will of your generation. A generation that has the ability through digital connections to demand transparency and has a strong desire to play an active part in making the world a better place.
Members of my generation have to be brave enough to admit that we need the younger generation and their culture of information to address the issues of transparency, integrity, and financial equality. It is time to concede that our children may well hold the answers that we found elusive through application of higher environmental, ethical, and social standards and pave the way for a future world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper.
Jacqueline J. Stanfill