WHAT WE LEARN FROM PERU’S MULTI-GENERATIONAL CULTURES
I’ve recently returned from a trip to Peru and learned so many fascinating things about Andean culture, philosophy and how they stay happy in their multi-generational living and working arrangements. I will relate a few tidbits here along with how the U.S. is actually adopting the practices of ancient and less advanced cultures.
Some learnings from the Incas and other Andean cultures of Peru:
- The central philosophy is Love, Learning and Service. Will the Boomers and Gen Y/Millennials increasingly adopt those values?
- Those cultures are quite stress-free, attributed to their hard work, low desire for material goods beyond their definition of necessity and comfort.
- Multiple generations live and work together by choice as well as necessity.
- Women have very significant work roles.
- A philosophy of “reciprocity” – today for you, tomorrow for me (which is the secret of successful networking, of course) pervades their lives.
- Trial marriage is the custom in some Andean cultures. If it doesn’t work out, you can say “goodbye” and go on their way. No lawyers needed. However, if a child is produced during the trial marriage, the couple must marry.
Owing to demographics (age, ethnicity, immigrant cultures), economics and environmental conditions, the U.S. seems to be getting to be more like the Andean cultures.
- Several studies reveal that Boomers are helping children and grandchildren financially. For example, a Merrill Lynch- Age Wave survey (2013) found that 62% of people age 50 plus helped family members in the last 5 years. And they’re helping with unpaid work too: grandparents care for 30% of pre-schoolers while the parents work.
- Ken Dychtwald of Age Wave said, “Boomers want to be where the action is” rather than separating themselves in their living and working arrangements.
- A couple living together either before marriage or with no committed intention of marriage has been growing for several decades.
- Women’s work roles beyond domestic ones have been increasing.
Unfortunately, our stress levels have been increasing every year, and with our multitude of consumer goods, we are not getting happier.
Whether these trends will continue as Gen X ages and if the economy settles into a more positive pattern remains to be seen. And smart as we think we are in technological innovation, the Inca accomplishments of the 1500s are still ahead of us
Phyllis Weiss Haserot www.pdcounsel.com