The violence in the Middle East is attributed to lots of things – inflammatory movies or other media, ruthless dictators etc.
But, in the Middle East, the center of the trouble, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and other experts have said, is angry young men who are fairly well educated, but have no job to go to, and are otherwise inhibited from using their talents most profitably.
In the U.S., we also have many young people who feel left out of the process. They see a few people making lots of money, but don’t see a way to break into the action so they can do the same.
They see that they’ve gotten an education, and all they have to show for it is a big debt and, at the moment, no way to pay it. Perhaps they engaged in a field of study that is not in demand, or cannot be converted to a job that pays well.
Perhaps they grew up in an atmosphere in which competition was de-emphasized. Everyone got something, just for joining the club, or just for showing up. The real world is teaching them that showing up – or getting a good education – may not be enough. The parents have no way to bail them out, except by allowing them to live at home as adults.
We can find much to blame for this predicament. But, let’s not waste a lot of energy blaming someone or something. Let’s focus on where we go from here.
No one wants to see thousands, or even millions, of young people saddled with college debt and no job to pay for it. So, let’s try to solve that problem first.
The best way for a young person to get out of debt is to set up a business that he or she can work. For a look at one good possibility, visit This and other vehicles can help young people start to build their fortunes. The good news about this is that ANYONE can do it. No special background or requirements needed. The person just needs the drive to get it going, and get his or her friends in the same predicament to do the same. It can happen overnight, but typically it takes time and diligence. If things go well, you’ll whittle down that college debt in a very short time. You’ll have ups and downs, but just stay with it.
Remember, when the economy picks up, or when the young person finds work in the regular job market, he or she can take that job, and work their business with whatever other time they have. If they work at it consistently, having a regular job might be unnecessary.
If you are a young person not yet in college, you and your parents need to think not just about what college to go to, but also whether college is right for the student. There are many ways to make money that don’t require education (see above). Think about the job possibilities in the field you want to study. Would it be worth incurring the debt to study that, and risk not having an income to pay for it?
Think of the reverse. Make your money first, then go to college to pursue your interests. You’ll have the money to pay for it and whether you can make a living with it won’t matter.
Don’t get angry. Don’t do things that will set you up to fail. If you are already in a difficult situation, work diligently to get out of it. It didn’t happen overnight, and it probably was not your fault, even though others will blame you. It’s not about how you got there, it’s about how you are going to get out of there.
The alternatives for making money don’t involve government. They are not for the lazy or the impatient. The ambitious young people are just broke. They can fix that with energy, diligence, time and the right vehicle. The lazy and impatient will end up poor, unless they change.
Protests solve nothing and hurt innocent people. Some of the alternatives available to us in the U.S. may not be available to the young folks in the Middle East. In those countries, it may be more about breaking down barriers to success.
There are no barriers in the U.S. There is no need to protest. Use your energy to get out of trouble, or avoid trouble, rather than to blame those you feel got you in trouble.