The Great Generational Shift unfolding today presents a whole new set of challenges for employers, employees, and managers. Human beings have short lives, which push us to make an impact on the world during our time here. A generation tends to dominate society during middle age, before dying off as the next one takes the helm. It is understood that you are more set in your ways the older you get. People become more conservative as they get older, less prone to taking risks and embracing new ideas and concepts. This can create tension and frustration between the aging generation that are closer to retiring, and the younger generation coming into their own.

These humans live to be around 500 years. This means that the older generation are likely to be in power far longer than their human counterparts. They are the heads of families, businesses, and remain in the political sphere for many centuries. They are likely to keep power for as long as they are able. This is likely to keep younger folks from the reigns of power as they work under their elders, likely making society stagnant and unchanging.

Society is broken down into clans, each made up of their own families. Small businesses are the bread and butter of society, with them being clan-owned. Your co-workers are likely to be related to you. Occasionally, two families combine their interests, creating one large clan.

How can this long lived species deal with the inetivable tensions and generational upheaval between these two groups?

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    $\begingroup$ Whilst this is an interesting topic, I'm fairly certain it doesn't have a right answer and in the absense of any further constraints I'm gonna vote to close as "too opinion-based". $\endgroup$ Sep 2, 2019 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ Why should they have any more generational upheaval than we have today? Assuming their maturity is delayed accordingly, they spend their first 100 years of life as 'children' and getting the education needed to participate in society. So why should they be impatient when an old codger doesn't make way for the next generation within one or two dozen years? They learned to think in long periods of time right from birth! $\endgroup$
    – subrunner
    Sep 2, 2019 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ 80 years (assumed regular average human life) is 4160 weeks. The length of life have no impact "turbulences" in society. The way you count the time have. What matters is how seasons are changing, for example If the summer comes 4 times "our year", or it lasted 10 "your years". $\endgroup$ Sep 2, 2019 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ One problem with this is the assumption that there is going to be a "generational shift" at all, especially since young people would have to be born & enter society at a much reduced rate to maintain a stable population. Then there's the question of whether generation shifts are really a thing at all, or just a simplistic pseudo-explaination for more complex changes. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Sep 2, 2019 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


'Generation shift' is a modern concept. It's something that only crops up during a massive shift in the culture between generations. There are specific times in history that it did occur - the beginning of the Renaissance, for instance - but by and large it's only a product of the modern age with rapid advancement in technology and development.

A long lived human race wouldn't function similar to a human concept. I've heard it said that the human lifespan is the perfect amount of time to encourage humans to have as much of an impact as possible, and while I don't know if I believe it, there is a point - humans don't want to die and want to accomplish things before they die. But this concept of 'leaving your personal mark' is, again, a modern concept. The old concept was accepting your role in the greater society around you.

In a society like this one, leaders would be rarer and children less frequent as well. If you ratio childbearing years, you wind up with well over 200 years of childbearing, and if you decide that it's just a flat increase than it's over 400. Consequently, children will most likely be reared by themselves, perhaps a child every few decades with care to make sure he fits into society. And, as they age, they will learn new skills. It'd most likely be the case that everyone starts out with a menial level job before gradually working up to skills sets required for better ones, just by virtue of qualification - after all, if half your society has 200+ years of expertise, why would you ever hire someone fresh into the jobforce?

What would that mean? Well, aside from everything being a lot slower, it'd also mean that the new generation would lack every kind of power available to them, be it money, influence, or numbers, to actually effect any kind of upheaval. Aside from the fact that since they'd be raised individually in a culture composed of stagnation and slow growth, there wouldn't be that much of a shift in the culture.


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