Elizabeth Nolan Brown on the Rise of the Hipster Capitalist



Popular wisdom about millennials seems to come in two varieties: They are either an entitled, narcissistic group of basement-dwellers, gazing at their selfies while the world burns, or they're a perfectly upstanding young cohort who got a raw deal from the recession economy. Millennials make awful employees because their boomer parents gave them too many soccer trophies; or maybe they can't find jobs because those same boomer parents aren't exiting the workforce. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that millennials are probably screwed.

But Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes that, actually, the kids are doing all right. Millennials are obliterating divisions between corporate and bohemian values, between old and new employment models—they're not the first to do this, but they are doing it in their own way. Armed with ample self-confidence but hobbled by stagnant prospects, millennials may be uniquely poised to excel in an evolving economy where the freelance countercultural capitalist becomes the new gold standard. For millennials, when life gives you lemons, you make artisanal, small-batch beef jerky.