The Hippie Redux

KH Insight Report—07

2019. As the polar caps keep on melting in this first year of our lord Greta Thunberg, a new generation has spawned. The Millennials.

Written by

Martin Stenberg
—Head of Business
Kurppa Hosk

Corporations everywhere are desperate to decode their minds: How do you bait and lure them in? How do you put them to work? And how do you keep them entertained…? Theirs is a new breed, but maybe, clues to their inner workings can be found in the spirit of ‘68.

The summer of love 1967 promoted a major cultural and political shift in Western society where, at least for a short time, community, anti-consumerism and solidarity were advocated for and celebrated. But this was really only the tail-end of a much larger shift in human history – the enormous amassment of wealth post-WW2. At no other time in our history could large numbers of youth afford to overlook acquiring wealth. These kids, however, quickly turned around and morphed into one of the wealthiest generations who have ever lived. In many aspects, they were also proto-Millennials.

The Millennial is said to care for communal causes: the wellbeing of our planet and the search for a higher purpose. In other words, if you add healing crystals and fire juggling you would end up with a classic, nauseating hippie. Just like the generation of ‘68 they are also riding high on the accumulated wealth of Western civilization. But there is a difference, the Millennial has already, from the get-go, been innately capitalist. For example:

— The Millennial sees no conflict between capitalist ventures and doing good. Rather, if you build a unicorn company and tag on a purpose even electrical scooters can become Jesus.

— The Millennial does not discern between commercial and independent pop culture. One Direction star Harry Styles is a bona fide rock star and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 is allowed to nurture a new generation of artists in American Idol.

At no other time in our history could large numbers of youth afford to overlook acquiring wealth, and thus, becoming one of the wealthiest generations who have ever lived.

What does this mean for the world of business and their understanding of the Millennial?
It means that the work of the hippie generation is finally done. After having amassed the largest wealth in human history, their idealism has finally also become commercial. Go back to the spirit of ‘68, dust off old ideals, add money and you will find clues to future success stories and the machinations of the Millenial. Case in point:

The secondhand market is expected to grow to 64 billion USD and surpass Fast Fashion by 2028. Who would have expected that when visiting a dirty thrift store a couple of years ago.

The global sharing economy is expected to grow to 335 billion dollars by 2025. And everyone thought hitchhiking died with the Manson murders.

Fire Juggling is expected to account for 5 percent of Thailand’s GDP. That’s a lie. But in the age of the Hippie Redux, not unthinkable.

What other hippie nightmares do you see coming true?

Looking forward to continuing the conversation.