Harnessing the Power of Age Diversity

by Megan W. Gerhardt, Josephine Nachemson-Ekwall, and Brandon Fogel

CONFLICT BETWEEN GENERATIONS is an age-old phenomenon. But at the end of 2019, when the retort “OK, Boomer” went viral, the vitriol—from both young people who said it and older people who opposed it—was pointed and widespread.

The sarcastic phrase was coined by a younger generation to push back on an older one they saw as dismissive and condescending, and it became popular from Korea to New Zealand even though the term “Boomer” is barely used outside of the United States. The retort captured the yawning divide between the generations over seemingly every issue: political activism, climate change, social media, technology, privacy, gender ...

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