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When Youth Ruled the World

24 Dec When Youth Ruled the World

Should  the vote be extended to 16 year olds? It is interesting to note that in recent elections in the UK only a very limited number of 18-24 year olds actually turn up and vote. Most of these young voters fail to register their right to vote. In the 2005 election only 44% of 18-24 year olds voted in the election and in fact this trend exists across most countries. Whatever the system of government, participation of younger people in elections is much lower than the average turn out rate. Surveys published in late December 2013 have highlighted the lack of interest that exists in the political system in the UK as well as an increasing sense of anger at the behaviour of politicians. Click here to read the latest ICM/ Guardian research.

Interestingly enough a recent article written by Michael S. Cummings and Simon Maghakyan in History Today highlights that for most of history young people were in charge. About 2.6 million years ago the young,

created tools, social organisations, then languages and eventually cultures. They worshipped and fought nature, surviving near extinction. As they developed skills to jump-start civilisation, our young ancestors, in their teens and early twenties, were also able to extend the average lifespan. As older adults gradually took over, so did ageism. Most cultures forgot the contributions of their child- and youth-ancestors and their genetic predisposition to lead. Today’s denial of youth participation in decision making contradicts the overall human record, which largely encompasses leadership experiences of young people, not their elders.

The article also makes another very interesting point about the incidence of bullying in young people,

The genetic predisposition to lead, for example, may help explain the unfortunate prevalence of bullying among children. Since ancient societies were informally hierarchical and power was drawn from demonstrations of physical ability, bullying was probably an important form of influence. Realising this link may aid children in containing bullying. But, like their elders, they need opportunities to influence the world, as they did for millions of years.

Certainly quite a thought provoking article!

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