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DEBATE: Is it a bad thing that young people are behaving more sensibly?

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Could it be a bad thing that young people today are behaving more sensibly than past generations?

John Oxley, a conservative commentator, says YES.

“Generation sensible” or “generation straightjacket”?

Under-25s smoking, drinking, and screwing less than ever will be cheered by public-health puritans, but really we should be concerned by our temperate teens.

Youthful indiscretions develop an appetite for risk and the belief that you can get yourself out of trouble when it goes wrong. The prudish youth arent sensible, but too cautious and cowed by anxiety to act out – or too distracted by their phones to have real fun.

This spreads beyond what they put in their bodies, to what goes on in their minds. Instead of shocking us with their ideas and antics, young people strive to avoid offending anyone, failing to challenge the “woke” orthodoxy which permeates their lives.

The great advances in life come from those who take risks and challenge the status quo, unafraid to fail. A generation hemmed in by cultural cowardice will not do so, denying us all economic and political breakthroughs that come from radical actions.

Read more: Revealed: The best places for millennials to start their own businesses

Finn McRedmond, staff writer at Reaction, says NO.

There is obviously no rationale at all for worrying about a reduction in smoking rates and teen pregnancies.

As for drinking, it is true that alcohol takes centre stage in British life – on the dance floor, pints after work, deals made over a bottle of merlot during lunch. But the younger generations eschewal of these norms in favour of asceticism indicates a shift in working culture – for the better. In a more individualistic, entrepreneurial labour market, it doesnt figure anymore for young people to go out and get drunk on a Thursday night with colleagues when they could be focusing on developing their newest app in their trendy co-working space.

This is symptomatic of an enterprising and less hedonistic society. What we lose in the community of post-work pints, we are gaining in entrepreneurial dynamism.

And if the future workforce is rejecting drinking culture and the collective national hangover every Friday morning, maybe some of Britains much maligned productivity problems will be solved.

Read more: Wine over matter: We meet TV wine expert Amelia Singer

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