David Foot Presentation

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October 23rd, 2015

On Thursday, October 1, 2015, several of my classmates and I had the distinct pleasure of attending a lecture by Dr. David Foot, former economics professor with the University of Toronto and bestselling author of Boom, Bust & Echo. I had been expecting a dry presentation about economics that would go way over my head. Instead we were given a new outlook on the generation we came from and where our own generation is headed. I was pleasantly surprised. Foot was a captivating, insightful and humorous speaker, keeping us engaged throughout the entire hour.

Dr. Foot began by speaking about the birth of the boomer population and the different trends older boomers began and younger boomers consolidated. For example, boomers started out as very recreational, enjoying such sports as skiing and tennis; however, as they got older, the norm became vacation homes in rural areas, with many boomers settling down in these communities.

Once given a background on the boomer generation, Dr. Foot spoke about how the different population busts affected the economy and job markets. The first bust was the boomers (Boom,) followed by a significant drop in fertility rates (Bust). The second burst occurred as the boomers began having children of their own (Echo). By showing us different population pyramids, Foot was able to outline where the world was headed as a whole. For example, Eastern Canada’s population is becoming increasingly older while Western Canada’s population is becoming increasingly younger. Foot related this to the economy and job market by pointing out that Eastern Canada is going to become more concerned with better health care while Western Canada is going to become more concerned with recreational activities. In addition, Foot pointed out that fertility rates have dropped significantly over the past 10-20 years while life expectancy rates have grown by approximately two years every decade. These factors have had an impact on the choices many boomers have made to stay in the workforce long after they could have retired, making it more difficult for younger generations to move up in the workforce and get the jobs they want.

My aha moment came when Foot demonstrated how a population pyramid can tell a story about history and provide a forecast for the future. The first population pyramid he showed of 2011 clearly demonstrated the three distinct generations that Food spoke about during his presentation (the Boom, Bust and Echo groups). He pointed out the Boomers came along after WWII, the Bust during the mid-1960’s to late-1970’s, and Echoes in the mid-1980s when the boomers began having families of their own. He showed the correlations these three generations have to school enrolment and availability in the job market for young workers. By pointing this out, he helped us better understand different trends and demographics that we can apply to all our business studies, but most importantly to marketing and organizational behavior. The presentation gave me a new outlook and appreciation on those courses and on business as a whole. I look forward to future studies and opportunities, such as attending Foot’s lecture that will continue throughout my college experience.

Submitted by Leila Wood

Student. Georgian College – South Georgian Bay Campus

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