Their world hasn't fallen in. They don't depend on a few extra pounds in benefits to get them through the week, nor do they rely on social services to keep their families functioning. I somehow doubt that they use public libraries, or Sure Start centres, or community youth centres, or drugs rehabilitation units. Nor does anyone they know - family, friends, neighbours. In their world, nothing has changed. Executive pay continues to rise at obscene rates, and bonuses continue to be paid as if there's a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. So looking at the world through their eyes, yes, it's true. Everything's fine and dandy.
Unpaid internships are just a prelude to a lifetime of low pay, normalising the idea that money earned is not enough to live off... the hourglass economy is a visual metaphor that describes the disappearance of middle income jobs, but at its heart there is a fallacy. We are not a country divided by earnings, so much as by assets - and this is especially true for the young.
Besides their enhanced chances of subjection to violence or of being embroiled in crime either as victims or perpetrators, teens sleeping today in our cities' parks, upon shop doorsteps or 'sofa surfing' between friends and acquaintances often live in real peril of various forms of abuse by adults or older minors who observe their movements over time only to then take advantage of their powerlessness.
Sadly the saying about 'living off the fat of the land' looks all too anachronistic: half of the world's hungry people are themselves farmers. But if you suggest that farmers in developing countries who grow our food should be paid more, people throw up their hands in horror and cry: 'What about consumers in Europe? How can they afford to pay more? We must keep food prices down for them'.
Living in Bow in the Nineties, just one skyscraper dominated the skyline: ONE Canary Wharf. I would see it when I went to bed every night and when I woke up in the morning. With steam pouring from its air conditioning ducts through the night like some steam punk dragon, it winked knowingly at the council estates it towered over. It knew there was worse to come...
At ONE, we're working very hard to urge all governments to do their part. The good news for the UK is that others are stepping up, so the UK's share of the cost can fall a little. For a contribution of £1.2 billion over the next five years, averaging just £8 per year for each UK taxpayer, British support could save 1.5 million lives. What can be the argument for doing less?