What happens when the boomers bust and the Xers and Ys inherit the earth?
In his latest book best-selling author, columnist and business advisor Bernard Salt scopes the big questions of where Australian society might be headed in the decade ahead. One of the most pressing social and demographic issues will be the baby bust according to Salt. In 2011 baby boomers born in 1946 turn 65 and are eligible for an age pension. This sets up an invisible faultline (or tilt point) where boomers exit the workforce at a faster rate than Ys enter the workforce. This faultline or Big Tilt as Salt calls it will change consumer spending (greater emphasis on ‘value’ through, say, internet retailing), create new social behaviours (downshifting where boomers extract equity from big city property) and present challenges to the skills and tax base of the nation since there are not enough workers to replace the boomers and not enough tax to fund the retirement that boomers have come to expect. And it’s not as if The Big Tilt just applies to Australia. As Salt explains Japan passed beyond this demographic faultline in the mid 1990s; China must navigate its own big tilt around 2020.
But The Big Tilt is so much more than an expose of life beyond the Baby Bust it delves into the murky world of social and generational behaviour. And here is where some think Salt does his best work delivering a forensic and at times lol interpretation of modern society. His letter of complaint to God about design faults in the human male body is brilliant. As is God’s reply. (She has an uncharacteristically wicked sense of humour.) Also clever is Salt’s satirical representation of a tonight show host interviewing the Grim Reaper about the imminent Boomergeddon. And then there’s his take in iPhone addiction and the plan by the crazed ‘dear leader from Bernardistan’ to invade Australia through the Pilbara.
Bernard Salt is one of the most quoted and widely-read social commentators in Australia. His books, columns and corporate presentations are widely followed by all levels of business, government and the broader community. His observations and ideas are fresh and evolving; his speaking and media performances are polished, energetic and above all articulate if not downright eloquent. The Big Tilt is Salt’s fourth book. Even if you don’t agree with Bernard Salt’s ideas about where Australia is headed you will be won over by the warmth, wit and genuine insight of his writing. The Big Tilt: What Happens when Boomers Bust and Xers and Ys Inherit the Earth is a compelling and entertaining read.