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BIED Society Review (Spring 17)

Behavioral International Economic
Development Publishing LLC

This review is dedicated to those that study
international affairs to better the world for all

The mission of this international think tank is to
promote knowledge across political lines,
cultural divisions, ethnic differences, and
economic markets. Organizations and
institutions are key tools to help set priorities for
society, but people are the heart action.
Finding win/win solutions for all is a noble cause

indeed. We see this cause and vigorously take
action to better humankind.

All the work in this publication are the thoughts

of the individual author and do not represent
the thoughts of the BIED Society or the
Behavioral International Economic
Development Publishing L.L.C. The work is
designed to spark intellectual debate and
discourse that betters the understanding of

complex international issues.





I N T E R N A T I O N A L A F F A I R S &





( S P R I N G 2 0 1 7 )

Copyright page

The BIED Society would like to thank the

contributing authors to this publication and the
vigorous Fellowship Program and Study Abroad
Program that makes this research possible.

Published with ISBN: 978-0-9982870-1-0
Aldie, Virginia
Spring 2017

Behavioral International Economic
Development Publishing L.L.C.

If you have any questions or concerns about
this publication please write
[email protected].

Please visit to learn
more about our fellows and the policy work we
do at the BIED Society.

Virginia Horse Country and the United States
East Coast Wine Country is a beautiful place to

publish and discuss international affairs. It is
here that we gather to debate complex issues
and refine dynamic solutions to today’s


Chapter 1 ..........................................................................................5

by Moon Yousif Sulfab, ....................................................... 6
Chapter 2 .......................................................................................17

by Annemarie Lucernoni................................................... 18
Chapter 3 .......................................................................................39

by Donna L. Roberts, PhD................................................ 40
Chapter 4 .......................................................................................57

by Katie Litwin & Sarah Kessler ....................................... 58
Chapter 5 .......................................................................................79

by Jacquelyn Meinhardt, & Andrew Heyman, MD........... 80
Chapter 6 .....................................................................................105

by Samantha I. Gay ........................................................ 106
Chapter 7 .....................................................................................127

by Marty Silber ................................................................ 128
Chapter 8 .....................................................................................137

By Jessica Carroll ........................................................... 138
Chapter 9 .....................................................................................153

by Alexander R. Wallace ................................................ 154
Chapter 10 ....................................................................................166

The BIED Society Review (Spring 2017)

by Steven Swingler ......................................................... 167
Chapter 11 ....................................................................................181

by Rachael Rhine ............................................................ 182
Chapter 12 ....................................................................................203

By Aaron McGill .............................................................. 204
Chapter 13 ....................................................................................219

by Donna L. Roberts, PhD.............................................. 220
Chapter 14 ....................................................................................237

by Brendan Wentz........................................................... 238
Chapter 15 ....................................................................................251


2 0 1 7


The BIED Society Review

DC, U.S.A, Spring 2017


The goal of this collection is to evaluate the manner in
which we absorb information, question it, and determine

if there are better options.

Friday May 5
5-7pm Registration
7-8pm Fellow Introduction & Staff

8-9pm Think Tank Fellowship Program
9-10pm Social Mixer

Saturday May 6th
7:30-9am Breakfast (Fellow submissions)
9-11am Transition to Great Meadows

11-6pm Private Reception at Virginias Gold
Cup Steeple Chase Horse Race
6pm Kentucky Derby
6:30pm Transition to Dulles Marriott
7:00pm Social at Hotel Bar (optional)

Sunday May 7
8:00 _9:00 Breakfast at the hotel on your own
9:00 – 2:00 Breakout Groups by discipline

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The BIED Society Review


K E N N E T H T . D A V I S , P H D
D O N N A R O B E R T S , P H D
A N D R E W H E Y M A N , P O L I C Y C O M M I S S I O N E R
J A C Q U E L Y N M E I N H A R D T , F E L L O W
A N N E M A R I E L U C E R N O N I , F E L L O W
A L I C I A D A V I S , E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R
K A T I E L I T W I N , F E L L O W
S A R A H K E S S L E R , F E L L O W
M O O N S U L F A B , F E L L O W
B R E N D A N W E N T Z , F E L L O W

S C O T T R O D M A N , F E L L O W
M A R T Y S I L B E R , F E L L O W
J E S S I C A C A R R O L L - D I A K I T E , F E L L O W
S T E V E N S W I N G L E R , F E L L O W
A A R O N M C G I L L , F E L L O W
S A M A N T H A I . G A Y , F E L L O W
R A C H A E L R H I N E , F E L L O W

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Chapter One

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by Moon Yousif Sulfab,

Director of Cyber Policy
[email protected]


This paper is a summary and a comprehensive introduction
to the rise of cyber warfare in the Persian Gulf. Within the
last few years, many high-profile Cyber-attacks have
occurred in the Middle East, pitting regional rivals against
one another. The author will make a case that Cyber
warfare activities will play a significant role in the never
ending proxy war between Iran and the Arab Gulf States.
In the first section of the paper, the author will attempt to
define the concept of what qualifies a network attack as an
act of war. The author provides conventional definitions of
what constitutes an act of war. In the second part of the
paper, the author will explore the key players in the Gulf
and how their Cyber warfare activities reflect a growing
state of aggression that affects economies and the
transmission of the communication by the media.

Finally, the paper will conclude that Cyber warfare will play
a significant role in the never ending the proxy war between
Iran and its Arab Gulf rivals.

Keywords: The Internet, Cyberspace, Cyber warfare, Iran,
Gulf Corporation Council, Stuxnet, Shamoon, Flame.

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1. Introduction

Since its widespread introduction, the Internet has had a
profound impact on the social, political, and economic
activities of people all over the world. Indeed, its growth
potential in information distribution is unprecedented and
hardly witnessed during the entire history of the human
race. However, the Internet is much more than an
instrument, or medium, of information exchange and
sharing; it is a global system of physically interconnected
computer networks that link an infinite array of devices
around the world. It is a system of networks that consists of
private, public, academic, business, and government
groups of domestic and global entities, linked by a broad
array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking
technologies that can share information at the speed of

This online world first took on a recognizable form in the
late-1980s, when British computer scientist Tim Berners-
Lee invented the World Wide Web. While it's often
confused with the Internet itself, the web is just the most
popular way of accessing data and information in the form
of websites and hyperlinks. This ‘wide' web helped spread
the "Internet" among the public at large and served as a
crucial step in developing the wealth of information that
most of us now access on a daily basis. (Clarke, 2010)
Previous to Berners-Lee's World Wide Web invention of the
Web in 1989, the first Internet-related project occurred in
the late 1960s with the creation of a U.S. military's
ARPANET network. The invention of the Internet project
was initially funded by the U.S. Department of Defense as
a means of communication between academia and DOD
scientists, and continued to grow in the 1960s and 70s after
scientists Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf invented the

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Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, which
is popularly known as ‘TCP/IP', a communications model
that sets standards for how data can be transmitted
between multiple networks. (Clarke, 2010)

Today, the internet has evolved from merely a form of
information sharing, commerce, and electronic
communications, to an asset and fundamental part of
statecraft in the realm of international affairs. Methods of
statecraft include espionage, disruption, destruction and
even full acts of war that can in matters of seconds cripple
the economy of a target state. In fact, this medium and
instrument of information sharing could, in fact, cause as
much physical damage as any bomb or targeted missile.

From nation-state to small business, cyberspace activities
with malicious intent are growing rapidly in scope and
frequency across the globe, and despite mostly undecided
conventions of how to categorize these acts through the
lens of "Westphalian conflict," the frequency and magnitude
of these attacks can quickly morph into an act of war. In the
last decade, the U.S has been dealing increasingly with a
myriad of cyberattacks targeting larger and critical areas of
society, including infrastructure, financial institutions, and
transnational corporations. The United States government,
along with the private sector, are still debating on
establishing a Cyber doctrine similar to its military and
national security principles since World War II.
Understanding the past may indeed help plan for the future
some one hundred years later.
2. An Example from History

Ancient to modern Iranian monarchs and leaders—from
Shahs to ayatollahs—have always sought a dominant role
in the Gulf region because of Iran's historic, economic and
demographic significance. As recently as the 1960s and

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1970s, Iran was the pre-eminent Gulf power and guardian
of U.S. and western national and economic oil interests in
the region.

Iran's 1979 Revolution dramatically altered the Gulf's
geopolitical posture. Revolutionary Shia cleric leader,
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called for and was presented
with the overthrow of the pro-American monarchs in the
Gulf. Subsequently, Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran pulled the
Gulf States and the United States into a brutal eight-year
conflict, mostly on Iraq's side of the border. Due to Iran's
anti-American and mainly anti-GCC policies and actions,
The United States and its Gulf allies financially and
politically supported Iraq, resulting in Iran's further
antagonizing of its Arab Gulf rivals. By supporting the
dissident and disenfranchised Shia population, the
predominant sect of Islam in Iran but the minority in most
other Gulf nations, Iran engaged in proxy wars with its Gulf
rivals, with Saudi Arabia, its largest adversary. Reminiscent
of the liberal democratic and communist proxy conflicts that
stained the latter half of the twentieth century, both nations
resorted to funding groups throughout the Arab world that
best serve their geopolitical interests.

During the 1980's, Iran's political influence grew
exponentially in Lebanon with its financial and political
support of the Lebanese Shia-led Hezbollah. Replenished
with an abundance of cash reserves from its oil exports, the
Iran Revolutionary Guard also established political, military
and economic alliances with Syria and later with post-
Saddam Iraq. Since the end of the first Gulf war and the
liberation of Kuwait in 1991, the Sunni ruling regime under
Saddam in Iraq weaken due to the UN embargo. Iran was
able to successfully further exploit this weakness by
developing broad political, economic, social, and militia
networks with Shia minorities in Iraq, profoundly influencing

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the Iraqi state. This was mainly possible because the
previously relationships Tehran had fostered after the
Iranian revolution and during the Iran-Iraq wars.

In response to Tehran's growing influence, the Saudi
government created a global Sunni Islamic alliance to
counter Iranian Shia doctrine, which had flourished through
the establishment of Shia "Cultural Centers" in powerful
Sunni nations. The escalation between Iran and Saudi
Arabia came to a head in Yemen's civil war in 2015, when
Saudi Arabia militarily intervened on the side of the Houthi
Shia rebels, who were funded and supported by Iran and
had successfully overrun the capital of city Sanaa'.

In nearby Syria, Iran had maintained an active diplomatic
and military alliance with the ruling regime in Syria. This
collaboration came to full force with full participation of the
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in support of President
Bashar in his civil war against the Sunni lead rebellion
against his rule in 2011. And because the Gulf States,
particularly the Saudis, had previously had a fallout with the
Syrian regime (after Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah militants
assassinated Prime Minister, Lebanon's Rafiq Al-Hariri).
The Saudis and the Syrians had been at odds ever since.
This conflict is now being acted out through cyber activities.
Some lucky Cyber-attacks against Saudi sites were
attributed to the Syrian Electronic Army and Yemen's Cyber
Army. Both entities are linked to Iran's Revolutionary
Corps. (Runkle, 2016)
3. Cyber War

"War is politics by different means" Carl von Clausewitz.

What is an act of war in Cyberspace? Consider the
scenario whereby a nation-state adversary disrupts or

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disables the financial systems, electric grid or military
command, and control of the United States.

The U. S. Department of Defense's (DOD) traditional
definition of an act of war is "any action equivalent in kinetic
effect to a military attack." Under this definition, a cyber-
attack on U.S electric grid would likely be considered an
armed attack because it has the same effect as a kinetic
attack. Although untested, the logical consequences,
therefore, based on this policy by the DOD, would be the
right to respond proportionally, which could be via a
conventional military attack. This type of cross-platform
exchange is not without precedent.

The battle of Lepanto, on October 7, 1571, was a major
naval engagement in the waters off southwestern Greece
between the allied European forces of the Holy League and
the Ottoman Turks during Ottoman efforts to conquer the
Venetian island of Cyprus. The battle marked the first
significant victory for the European naval forces over a
much larger Ottoman armada and marked the transfer of
control of the Western Mediterranean from Ottoman hands
to the Europeans. (Guilmartin, 2003)

The success of the Holy League over the Ottoman fleet
was mostly credited to the Europeans adoption of
technological tactics that proved instrumental in their
victory. Most historians allege superior strategy is the most
critical element that ultimately wins battles. The campaign
featured the use by the Holy League of a new naval
weapon: galleasses. These were Venetian merchant ships
equipped with high cannon superstructures placed in front
of the Armada to strike the Ottoman fleet as it tried to
sweep around them during the battle. (Guilmartin, 2003)

These new ships, with their improved firepower, were
instrumental in the European victory. The battle of Lepanto

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resulted with over two hundred Ottoman ships destroyed or
captured and as many as thirty thousand Ottoman sailors
and soldiers killed or captured with few casualties on the
European side.

In World War I, the British were the first to deploy tanks
across the heavily defended German trench lines that were
met with relative success to break the German lines.
In the age of the Internet, cyberspace is the new
technology military domain. Cyber domain is the new
theater of warfare. Strategic Cyber-attacks is the new
technological tool of "National Power" (Lewis, 2014).

It can provide instruments of disruption, coercion, influence,
and has the potential decide the ultimate victor during a
war. Currently, the use of Cyber-attack malware has
become the means of strategic power in the Gulf.
Moreover, Cyberspace in the Middle East has become
militarized given the level of lethal strategic attacks
between Iran and its Gulf rivals in recent years.

The greatest and most influential work of war philosophy in
the Western world is the much-celebrated work "On War"
by Carl von Clausewitz. His famous work combines
observations on strategy with questions about human
nature and the purpose of war. Clausewitz primarily
examines the nature of war itself: whether war is a means
to an end outside itself or whether it can be an end in itself.
Clausewitz eventually concludes that the latter is not
necessarily true, "that war must not exist only for its sake.
(On War, 2011)

East of Clausewitz's Prussia, the famous Chinese war
strategist Sun Tzu's "The Art of War," focused primarily on
military strategy instead of philosophy, although his ethos is

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often interpreted as theory applied in the circumstances
extending well beyond war itself. Fundamental to success
in war, according to Sun Tzu, is largely outside the kinetic
conflict which subsumes a bulk of war. It is the
implementation of a Grand Strategy that begins with fully
knowing your enemy and avoiding the unnecessary
destruction of the enemy's core infrastructure. In this way,
perhaps conflict fought solely in cyberspace might find
agreement with the ancient Chinese treatise.

4. The Landscape

"A chaotic, dangerous cyber-enabled landscape is on the

There is no consensus among cybersecurity and national
security experts on what qualifies a network-centric attack
that would constitute an act of war. The concept of cyber
war is still being debated globally.

Iran has been developing and implementing a strategy to
conduct cyber warfare since 2012. The policy came in full
force when Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei announced
the creation of the Supreme Cyber Council. Iran's Cyber
doctrine is divided into two parts; cyber defense, and an
offensive strategy. Defensively, Iran has been working on
establishing its "technological envelope" to protect its
critical infrastructure and internal network systems from
malware attacks such as an infamous Stuxnet virus, which
had successfully damaged Iran's nuclear centrifuges.
Furthermore, Iran's primary concern with its development of
cyber strategy is its inability to suppress internal political
dissent and opponents to the regime -- similar to the Green
Revolution in 2009. During the protests, the protestors had
made use of social media tools in distributing information
and gathering support internally and globally. (Siboni,

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Offensively, Iran's Cyber warfare strategy is encompassed
into the Supreme Council's "Asymmetrical" warfare. It falls
in line with Iran's long history of irregular warfare, and the
establishment of proxy militias to serve its geopolitical
interests in the region. (Siboni, 2012)

Even though cyber warfare is a relatively new
phenomenon, Iran already has a history of conducting
cyber-attacks against its regional rivals in the midst of
regional conflicts. In retaliation for the Saudi government's
suppression of Iranian geopolitical interests in countries
such as Syria and Yemen, a hacking group allied with Iran,
"Cutting Sword of Justice", launched a Cyberattack on
Saudi Aramco – the world's largest oil company— that was
able to destroy the data of over 30,000 computers
successfully. A few months later, a variant of the same
‘Shamoon' virus struck Qatar-based gas company RasGas
with less success. Neither attacks caused any loss of life.
(Runkle, 2016)

Given the Gulf's strategic location, any successful cyber-
attack targeting its oil installation and production can easily
escalate into a full-scale war. Thus, the use of state
sponsored Cyber-attacks could alter the balance of military
power in the region.

From 2012 to 2014, Iran's "Operation Cleaver" targeted
critical infrastructure installations in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates "including oil and
gas, energy and utilities, transportation, hospitals,
telecommunications, technology, education, aerospace,
defense contractors, and chemical." Recently, a new
variant of Shamoon virus had successfully penetrated
Saudi Arabia's aviation network systems, and unknown
hackers who are suspected of working for IRG have
attacked key websites belonging to the Saudi Defense
Ministry. (Siboni, 2012)
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Iran has an illustrious history of hiring foreign proxies and
political vigilantes to launch cyber-attacks against countries
opposing Tehran's geopolitical interests in the region's
ongoing conflicts. The "Syrian Electronic Army" had
successfully launched cyber-attacks targeting Saudi
Arabia, Qatar, and other countries known to be supporting
Syrian rebel groups, targeting news networks such as
Qatar's Al Jazeera, Saudi Arabia's Al Arabiya and others.
Similarly, last June, the "Yemen Cyber Army" released
almost half a million documents stolen from the Saudi
Foreign Ministry in retaliation for the Saudi-led military
intervention in Yemen to counter the Houthi rebels who are
backed by Iran.
While fears of a "cyber Pearl Harbor" may be exaggerated,
and even the most damaging cyber war in the Gulf is likely
preferable to a full-scale war between Iran and Saudi
Arabia and its Gulf allies, a cyber conflict between the two
nations could still have unintended consequences for the
region. First, given the strategic alliance the U.S has with
the Gulf Cooperation Council to defend against Iranian
aggression since 1979, a Gulf cyber war would most likely
draw the U.S into the conflict. The United States will
undoubtedly either directly or indirectly intervene to protect
its allies in the region again Iranian aggression within
Cyberspace. "Standing idly" in such a scenario would
further damage the US already weakened credibility in the
region, and might ultimately lead the Gulf States to look for
assistance from other great powers with significant
cyberwar capabilities trying to expand their influence in the
Middle East, like Russia and China. (Runkle, 2016)

Second, it’s hard to contain the effects of cyber weapons
with 100% accuracy. The Stuxnet virus, for example,
inadvertently spread to computers around the world.
Whereas that malware was designed only to damage the

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Siemens industrial control systems used in Iran's nuclear
plant, the virus spread and significantly affected other
networks around the globe. It is doubtful that any attack
developed by Iran would match this quality shortly. Stuxnet
is considered one of the greatest malware ever developed.
Moreover, if the GCC sought to purchase offensive
malware or rent mercenary hackers on the dark web to
retaliate against Iran, it is unlikely they would possess the
sophistication or accountability to limit the damage of the
cyber-attacks they instigate. Thus, any malware generated
by GCC states in Cyberspace could spread out of control
and cause significant damage beyond the Gulf region.
(Runkle, 2016)
Finally, there is the possibility that a fatal cyber-attack could
trigger a conventional military retaliation. The U.S current
military doctrine clearly states the right to use military force
in response to a cyber-attack that produces fatalities.
Would Saudi Arabia similarly consider a cyber-attack that
crashed Riyadh's Oil installation that could cause
environmental, economic and loss death for military action
against Iran? If so, the conflict could escalate from ones
and zeros to missiles and bombs faster than diplomacy
could contain.

V. Conclusion

Since the infamous meeting between President Roosevelt,
Winston Churchill and King Abdul-Aziz in 1948, The United
States and its Western allies pledged to defend the Gulf
Cooperation States and safeguard their economies
insatiable fossil fuel needs, and stem the spread of
Communism. The U.S and Europe had supplied the GCC
with advanced western military hardware and militarily
intervened to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion in
1990. This assistance is yet to be clarified if it will extend to
the Cyber domain.
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Thus far, Iran has surpassed the Gulf States in developing
in its cyber security capabilities. Iran has some of the best
educational, academic research institutions, state
enterprises in computer science, information systems, and
math that surpass its Gulf rivals in number and quality.
These institutions had a direct impact in producing current
and future Cyber warriors that will most likely serve
Tehran's Cyber-security objectives. The primary challenge
facing the Gulf States is their ability to integrate Cyber
power into their current military, intelligence, and academic

The Gulf States will need to extensively build and
strengthen their Cyber Security capabilities and expand on
their strategic partnership with the U.S and Europe to
include Cyber Security in their military strategic security
posture. However, since the Aramco incident, GCC
member States has started to increase their investment in
securing their network against future attacks by relying
heavily on U.S Cybersecurity companies who are well
respected in the industry. As previously stated, cyber
warfare is a new phenomenon, and most nation-states are
ill-prepared for what could occur in their network systems in
the case of an attack. The GCC should prepare
contingency plans for the possibility that current Saudi–
Iranian tensions will result in a cyber-attack can at least if
not more than the damage Saudi Aramco had to endure.

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Clarke, R. A. (2010). Cyber War. HarperCollins.

Clausewitz, C. V., Graham, J. J., & Maude, F. N. (2011).
On war. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Legacy Reprints.

Guilmartin, J. F., & Guilmartin, J. F. (2003). Gunpowder
and galleys: changing technology and Mediterranean
warfare at sea in the sixteenth century. Canada: Naval
Institute Press.

Runkle, B. (2016, January 28). 2016: The Year of the Great
Middle East Cyberwar?

Lewis, J. A. (2014, January 24). Cyber and Stability in the
Gulf. Retrieved February 07, 2017, from

Iranian Capabilities in the Field of Cyber Warfare. (n.d.).
Retrieved March 22, 2017, from

Sun, T., & Griffiths, S. B. (1971). The Art of War. Oxford
Univ. Press.

Cohen, J., & Burns, W. J. (2017, February 16). The Rules
of the Brave New Cyberworld. Foreign Policy Magazine.

Siboni, G., & Kronenfeld, S. (2012, Oct. & nov.). Iran's
Cyber Warfare. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from

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Chapter 2


The BIED Society Review

by Annemarie Lucernoni

Director of Meetup Chapters
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
[email protected]


This article examines two social engineering projects
mandated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – the
One Child Policy, which ended in early 2016, and the
Social Credit System currently in progress. The article
dissects the Social Credit System policy through the lens of
“lessons learned” and “lessons not learned” from the earlier
social engineering experience of the CCP, and discusses
the scope, progress and implications, and potential
outcomes of the policy. It has a particular focus on the way
the social credit system has been introduced to the public
to mitigate backlash, and the unintended behavioral
consequences that arise from governmental attempts to
shape cultural norms.

Keywords: social credit system, social engineering,
Sesame Credit, China, One Child Policy, surveillance, big

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1. Introduction
Social engineering is the attempt by a
government to alter social perceptions or cultural
norms in order to affect a desired change in the
population. For example, a country might circulate
information regarding the spread of diseases, in
order to create cultural awareness and social
reinforcement towards maintaining hygiene and
sanitation to reduce the burden on the healthcare
In China, social engineering goes a bit
further. One of the best examples is the One Child
Policy, a controversial population control measure
designed to curb growth in response to concerns
about resource distribution. After nearly forty years
the results of this unpopular policy have become
obvious. Of the many lessons that could be
learned, the one that the Chinese Communist
Party (CCP) has evidently noted was the backlash
throughout the population and the international

As the CCP is in the throes of implementing
a new social credit system, the lesson it has clearly
learned from past mistakes is the importance of
optics. This time around, much more care has
been taken to market this feat of social engineering
to the public. A few pilot programs have tested the
water, and a no-holds-barred propaganda machine
is in place to guide acceptance, nay, enthusiasm
for the program. What remains to be seen is how
well the new approach will be received, and if it
forges ahead, which predictable and unseen
challenges will arise?
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2. China’s One Child Policy
Faced with explosive population growth and
concerns about the increased economic, social,
and environmental challenges presented, other
governments might fast-track social infrastructure
programs. The CCP, on the other hand,
determined the simplest course of action would be
to reduce the number of mouths to feed, house,
and police. In 1979, the One Child Policy was
born, restricting the vast majority of families to one
child and was enforced throughout the nation. It
was wildly unpopular.
2.1 Implementation and Enforcement
Implementation of this policy was messy.
Despite nationwide and international backlash, the
CCP plowed ahead with an array of tactics
sensitive to the delicate nature of enforcing a
policy limiting procreation, including economic
sanctions, accessible contraceptives, financial and
labor incentives, and for a brief and regrettable
period during the policy’s early years, forced

abortions and sterilization of Chinese women
(Pletcher 2016). Enforcement centered heavily on
urban areas, where small, nuclear families were
prevalent, versus a degree of leniency in rural
regions that relied more heavily on larger family
units, and where opposition was most vehement
(Pletcher 2016).
2.2 Consequences and Results
While the One Child Policy did achieve its intended
effect, it also introduced a host of new issues.
Families skirted the policy by having extra children
in secret, without registering them with the state.
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This has resulted in an unknown number of
“invisible children,” some of whom have grown into
invisible adults, with estimates ranging from
hundreds of thousands to millions (Pletcher 2016).
These invisibles face hurdles accessing education
and employment due to their undocumented
status, and is unable to participate in other
government programs.
Where enforcement was successful, the
policy still inadvertently created several long-term
challenges that the CCP is only beginning to
recognize and address. The first and most
pressing of these is that the population in China is
rapidly aging. The proportion of retirees to working-
age adults is growing, and creating stress on
infrastructure like social security programs.
Furthermore, the One Child Policy has constrained
the Socialist core value of taking care of the
elderly: the chances of elderly parents avoiding
geriatric living facilities is exponentially increased
by the number of children available to take on care

responsibilities. With only one child available and
likely of working age, the chances that
circumstances will allow the child to tackle full time
care requirements are slimmer. The problem is
exacerbated in parents who lost their only child,
who now face difficulties in everything from
accessing assisted living care to purchasing a
funeral plot, because of providers’ concerns that
with no offspring there is no guarantee of payment,
should the senior pass away, for burial and
maintenance costs (Fong 2015).

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Another unforeseen issue is a
disproportionate number of men to women as a
result of traditional cultural preferences towards
male children. When families were restricted to
one child, many would go to extreme measures to
ensure their only child was male. Rates of
selective abortions based on gender increased
with the spread of ultrasound technology, as did
rates of female infanticide and incidences of
abandoned or surrendered female infants (Pletcher
2016). As these male-dominant groups of children
grew up, they encountered a shortage of marriage-
aged women, and their parents confronted even
more challenges with familial care as the wives of
the eldest, or only, son typically shouldered many
elder care responsibilities.
2.3 “Little Emperors”
The generations of majority-male single
children have been dubbed “Little Emperors,” a
term encompassing the natural tendency of
parents to dote on an only child as well as the

effect of two entire generations composed of one
child families. A 2013 study published by the
American Association for the Advancement of
Science (AAAS) examined the behavioral impacts
of one generation of “little emperors” through
economics games and personality analysis, with
interesting results. The study found that the One
Child Policy “has produced significantly less
trusting, less trustworthy, more risk-averse, less
competitive, more pessimistic, and less
conscientious individuals” (Cameron, Erkal,
Gangadharan, & Meng, 2013, p. 953). Concerns
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about the deteriorated social skills of this
generation, and observations that these children
tend to be more self-centered and less cooperative
are bluntly evident in the rise of phrases such as
“no single children” in job advertisements
(Cameron et al., 2013, p. 953-954).

2.4 Problems with Retraction

China has begun to address issues
stemming from this flawed policy: in 2015 China
began to gradually push back the retirement age
from 55 to increase the working population and
moderate the flood of retirees relying on
infrastructure (Han Wong, 2015), and in early 2016
the One Child Policy was replaced with an
innovative alternative: the Two Child Policy.
Unfortunately, the Two Child Policy has not made
quite the splash that was hoped for. Birth rates
have increased, but not nearly by the expected
margins, nor by the margins needed to offset the

aging population. The reason why brings to mind
the phrase “be careful what you wish for.” The first
generation of OCP children are now beginning
their own families, and it turns out they liked the
experience of small, single child families. Single
child families have become the cultural norm,
particularly in urban centers, and the trend is
exacerbated by the increasing affluence of the
population, which traditionally decreases family
size. Couples see economic advantages to limiting
family size, and some question whether or not they

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want to have any children at all (Hanrahan &
Baculinao, 2017).

3. China’s Proposed Social Credit System

Interestingly, the study performed by AAAS
identified behavioral tendencies that the CCP also
sees as so pervasive in Chinese culture that they
require a new social engineering endeavor; namely
a lack of trust and trustworthiness in society.
Indeed, China has, in recent years, experienced
instances of fraud and counterfeiting that have had
devastating effects. In 2008, adulterated milk and
baby formula killed 6 infants, sent tens of
thousands to the hospital, and led to 300,000
falling ill; then in 2016 a scandal surfaced
regarding some $90 million dollars of compromised
vaccines for children that were sold across 24
provinces, leading to 130 arrests (Campbell 2016).
This lack of trust isn’t limited to regulatory
compliance; the prevalence of street scams means

that few Chinese stop to help fellow citizens in their
daily lives for fear of falling victim to some scheme
(Lam 2016).

3.1 Government-Mandated Trust

In 2014, the CCP released an official
Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social
Credit System, a plan which not only implements
controls for the financial sector and regulatory
compliance, but the stated objective of “raising the
honest mentality and credit levels of the entire
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society” (Creemers 2015). The heart of the plan is
to establish incentives to encourage “good
behavior” and punishments for “acts of trust-
breaking,” so that a breach of trust in one aspect of
life is punished in every aspect, and good behavior
is rewarded likewise. The aspirations of the plan
are truly goliath, as it aims to “broadly shape a
thick atmosphere in the entire society that keeping
trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful,
and ensure that sincerity and trustworthiness
become conscious norms of action among all
people” (Creemers 2015).
In order to affect a shift in cultural values and
behavior across 1.4 billion individuals, the plan is
comprehensive, offering four focus areas:
government, commercial, social, and judicial.
Governments across all levels are to lead the way
in establishing and making use of the social credit
system by referencing credit information when
making decisions spanning administrative
permissions, government procurements,

employment and labor, social security, research
management, promotions, and applications for
government support in order to foster development
of a credit services market.
The commercial focus area is geared
towards punishing companies that commit trust-
breaking acts ranging from fraud, maintaining
unsafe work environments, breaches of quality
control, tax evasion, insider trading, bribery, false
advertising, slander, “pricing swindles,” or even
security accidents. The system would apply to all
commercial sectors and entities, and each
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enterprise will be required to participate. They
would additionally be responsible for developing
internal mechanisms to use the social credit
system to restrict “untrustworthy” employees from
accessing leadership roles, as well as to update
the system should a breach of trust occur.
The third focus area targets building “social
sincerity.” This section provides guidance on how
social organizations or enterprises will implement
and be managed by the social credit system,
prescribing instructions for healthcare
professionals, teachers, the tourism industry,
social security and welfare organizations, and
professional athlete organizations. Trust
management in this focus area targets everything
from doctors prescribing “excessive treatments” to
welfare fraud, and makes recommendations such
as establishing credit standards for employees of
professional sports or sports clubs, and suggesting
that teachers accept broad supervision from
students, parents, and “all walks of society.”

The final focus, the judicial sector, promotes
increased internal supervision of judicial
mechanisms and, along with the government focus
area, increased transparency. It also outlines the
judicial responsibility to log all citizens’ traffic and
law-breaking situations into “sincerity files.”
The plan for the construction of this social
credit system calls for full national participation by
2020 (Creemers 2015). Since practically every
branch of government, employer, and social
organization is mandated a role in updating and
maintaining the system, what should result is a
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comprehensive sincerity file on every private
citizen which will be entered into an algorithm to
produce some kind of trustworthiness score. This
social credit score is to be made publicly available,
so any citizen may look up their score or that of
their associates. Scores will go down as a result of
any act of “trust-breaking,” whether committing a
crime, receiving a traffic citation, defaulting on a
payment, or for “rumormongering” online. People
with lower scores as a result of trust-breaking acts
will be punished in all aspects of life, such as being
restricted from purchasing first-class train tickets or
tourist accommodations, gaining a visa, renovating
their home or making luxury purchases such as a
new car, or even their ability to find work or be
promoted to a management position (Creemers
3.2 Social Credit Spin Doctors

The implications of a system this subjective
and intrusive are innumerable. The official plan
reads like a contemporary 1984. The policy goes

far beyond correcting regulatory compliance and
legal malfeasance issues, and the subjective
nature of the acts that can be considered “trust-
breaking” make it easy to see how the system
could be abused as a tool to punish political
dissidents or critics. If a journalist published an
article critical of the government, previously the
CCP had to settle for scrubbing the article from the
internet, forcing the media to issue a replacement
article supportive of the government, and removing
the author from their position. Now, they could also
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charge the journalist with “rumormongering,” or
some other vague “trust-breaking” act, and prevent
that person from finding a job, owning a car, or
sending their children to a competitive private
school (Creemers 2015 & 2016). Maybe this
person is merely an opinionated and informed
citizen (the worst kind of citizen, for a government
determined to reign over a subdued and content
population, naysayers be damned).
The potential for the system to become the
heavy hand of the state aside, the system would
also become a target for hackers, blackmailers,
and foreign-state actors. A system designed to
punish across all aspects of life means that
mistakes or foul play can be very costly to both the
state and the citizenry. If information is mistakenly
or falsely entered, by a former coworker with a
grudge and hacking skills, an inattentive
government employee, or by foreign actors with an
agenda, the devastation to the wrongly-accused
would be life-altering.

What is most surprising then, is the lack of
concern or outrage surrounding the social credit
system, outside of articles written by Western
media. Some of this is thanks to the success China
has had with internet censorship, and the strength
of their (facetiously Western-dubbed) Great
Firewall. One popular Chinese blogger reported his
social media accounts had been deleted numerous
times as a result of his published criticisms of the
impending system (Denyer 2016).
The plan for a social credit system has been
in the works for years, and the population has
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been and is slowly being acclimated to the idea
through the use of pilot programs. One such
regional pilot program took place in Jiangsu
Province in 2010, and was met with significant
public backlash. The pilot program took information
the government already possessed, such as tax
and criminal records, and combined that with
citizens’ everyday social behaviors, including
political positions, and translated that information
into a rating from A to D. Everyday social behavior
that could negatively impact someone’s score
varied from running a red light to failing to care for
elders, causing a “disturbance” that blocked party
or government offices, or participating in an
organization deemed a cult by the government
(Denyer 2016). Public backlash against the rating
system was strong enough that the system had to
be revised and the ranking system terminated,
although the information used in the system
continued to be collected. A Global Times (which
serves as the unofficial mouthpiece of the state)

article in defense of this newest iteration of the
system focuses heavily on the market compliance
aspect and downplays the social, ridiculing
western articles as sensationalist journalism. (Zhun
The CCP certainly did take a lesson from
that early implementation, establishing the
population would not happily accept a government
directive that took information and lumped citizens
into vague “grades,” with associated punishments
and rewards. Accordingly, they tried a different
approach in the 2014 official plan, emphasizing the
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role that the market and social organizations were
to play in constructing the basis for the social credit
system, and increasing public buy-in. The first
phase of implementing the nationwide credit
system by 2020 involves new pilot programs
pioneered by eight major companies. The biggest
of these is probably Ant Financial, an affiliate of
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba that has
developed a credit information gathering and
scoring system humorously titled Sesame Credit.
The trial program is voluntary for the time being,
with users being encouraged through far-reaching
incentives to sign up and compare their scores
with friends. This system abandons the A through
D block rating system and instead scores users
between 350 and 950, with perks dependent on
the strength of your score. Perks range from little
benefits like a free trial VIP membership at a
popular dating site for lower scores, to a coveted
visa to Luxembourg or the ability to waive deposits
on large purchases for higher scores(Falkvinge

2015). The Sesame Credit app is largely gamified
and even includes a mobile game, where users
playfully compete with friends to see who has the
higher score, and the more of their friends who
join, the more their own score goes up (Hatton
Another early implementer is one of China’s
largest dating sites Baihe, where users are
encouraged to publicly tout their high credit scores
as a means of attracting potential dates.
Surprisingly, it is working. One woman stated she
liked the idea because she knew if the user had a
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score posted then the account had to be tied to a
registered name, so the score gave the profile a
level of credibility that would make her more likely
to reach out and interact (Denyer 2016). By
directing that the social credit system be pushed
out by various high-traffic companies, and allowing
those companies freedom to handle the gathering
of information, marketing, and incentivizing at first,
the CCP has completely altered the social
perception of the system. By the time the final plan
to integrate these preliminary systems into a
national database is realized, society will already
have acclimated to the idea of the social credit
system. The perception of social credit as a fun
way to interact online is further driven by the early
implementations’ use of incentives only, which
generates additional positive buzz about the
4. Conclusion: The Look Ahead

The ability of the CCP to sell the idea of an

all-encompassing social credit system that has the
ability to collect information on every aspect of life
both personal and professional, and turn that
information into a trustworthiness score that can
then affect each individual’s ability to live their lives
in the manner and direction they so choose, with
truly minimal public backlash is astounding. They
have found a way to package mass surveillance of
the population, with explicit plans to turn the
collected data into a way to manipulate markets,
companies, and individuals’ private lives, as a
collectively beneficial and harmless trend. The
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marketing of the social credit system has thus far
been an enormous success. No past totalitarian
state even dreamt of a day when the population
they control showed enthusiasm for a system of
tracking and punishing government-identified
deviant behavior. However, despite the fast
approaching national implementation target date of
2020, the social credit system still faces many
hurdles. The logistics of storing and making
meaningful the vast quantity of data is an
enormous hurdle to successful implementation,
much less the problem of securing this data.
Assuming the CCP is able to surmount the
logistics, then the real question becomes, can the
rosy marketing withstand the realities of
implementation? And can the system actually
achieve the goals it has set forth?
The systems like Sesame Credit established
by corporations have a direct interest in increasing
customer base and maintaining customer
satisfaction, but a system tailored to the national

plan would look significantly different. The current
systems rely exclusively on rewards, but the
government planning documents have expressed
a much stronger emphasis on the punishments.
Society is amenable to the system as it is today
because it offers nothing but visible benefits, but
how would public opinion change as the negative
effects become publicized and begin to affect
friends and family? The planning documents
underscore the importance of publicizing cases of
offenders, including the offense and the
punishment dealt; this would likely be welcomed by
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the public in cases of high-profile scandals with
identifiable victims, but when the cases concern a
smaller infraction committed by a community
member, the “public flogging” approach could
easily backfire. Additionally, the nature of the minor
offenses that will result in lower scores and
subsequently punishments are guaranteed to
affect certain demographics within the population
more than others. Poorer families will be less able
to pay bills on time, and the social credit system
will punish them by making it even harder to take
action to improve their situation, whether they are
denied promotions or are unable to apply for
government funding and assistance. Groups in
regions with ethnic minorities already face
heightened levels of control from Government
censorship and surveillance (for example, while
internet censorship is heavy across China, the
CCP allows small VPN loopholes to exist in the
Great Firewall for savvy elite members of society
because it keeps them happy and the loopholes

exist at the good will of the government. However
even attempting to access a VPN in a more
ethnically diverse region of China can land citizens
a trip to the police station). So it only stands to
reason that they will be unevenly targeted by these
regulations as well (Denyer 2016). As the system’s
more apparent flaws become realized, public
backlash may grow and force revision of the policy
as occurred in the 2010 experiment.
Even if the system is implemented without a
hitch, and citizens contently participate as
intended, it is highly debatable it would produce
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the desired results of a culture of sincerity, where
trust-keeping is glorious. The plan includes
mechanisms to encourage people to report acts of
trust-breaking, with provisions for the protection of
their anonymity and rewards for such reports
(Creemers 2015). While this would be beneficial in
terms of industry whistleblowers’ protection, it also
serves as a check on each individual’s behavior
with the knowledge that a neighbor could report
them for failing to care for elderly parents
“properly,” or a lawyer could be reported for
pursuing an aggressive defense of a client in the
name of defeating sensationalism. This pulls
forward an image of a sort of “KGB-lite” society
where anyone could report anyone for suspected
wrongdoing, except instead of family members
disappearing if they don’t, they may get a discount
on some vacation if they do. An environment
where people are constantly nervous about
whether or not a fellow citizen is going to catch
them making a mistake that is going to cause them

and their family to be punished in unrelated areas
of life, does not sound like a culture based on trust.
Not only might the system fail to accomplish
its primary goal while far overreaching its stated
purpose, what of the unanticipated consequences
that could arise? The One-Child experiment
accidentally produced generations of “little
emperors” who lag behind peers in trustworthiness
as well as trust for others, competitiveness, and
risk-taking. The latter two traits are important
characteristics for entrepreneurship, and the first
two are the very cultural attributes this latest social
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engineering project seeks to address. If the social
credit system succeeds in training citizens to
accept the government’s definition of
trustworthiness, and to adjust their behavior so as
not to offend, will it inadvertently stifle other
multifunctional characteristics such as critical
thinking, or a sense of “keeping trust” for the sake
of decency towards fellow humans versus for
reward or to avoid punishment? If it does, then the
obvious next question is: what will the next CCP
social engineering project look like, to attempt to
resolve the new problems created by past social
engineering policies?

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Cameron, L., Erkal, N., Gangadharan, L., & Meng, X.
(2013). Little
emperors: Behavorial impacts of China’s one-child
policy. Science, vol. 339, 953-957. doi:
Campbell C. (2016). China vaccine probe nets 130 arrests
as public anger
builds. Time. Retrieved from
Creemers R. (2015). Planning outline for the construction
of a social credit
system (2014-2020). China Copyright & Media.
Retrieved from
Creemers R. (2016). Opinions concerning accelerating the
construction of
credit supervision, warning and punishment
mechanisms for persons subject to enforcement for
trust-breaking. China Copyright & Media. Retrieved
Denyer S. (2016). China’s scary lesson to the world:
Censoring the internet
works. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

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Denyer S. (2016). China plan to organize its society relies
on ‘big data’ to rate everyone. The Washington Post.
Denyer S. (2016). China wants to give all of its citizens a
score – and their
rating could affect every area of their lives.
Independent. Retrieved from
Falkvinge R. (2015). In china, your credit score is now
affected by your
political opinions – and your friends’ political
opinions. Privacy News Online. Retrieved from
Fong, Mei. (2015). The great graying of China: Why the
new two-child
policy is too little, too late. Quartz. Retrieved from:
why-the-new-two-child-policy-is-too-little-too-late/ .
Hanrahan M. & Baculinao E. (2017). China population
crisis: New two-child
policy fails to yield major gains. CNBC. Retrieved
Han Wong, Chun. (2015). China sets timeline for first
change to retirement
age since 1950’s. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved
Hatton C. (2015). China ‘social credit’: Beijing sets up a
huge system. BBC

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News. Retrieved from
Lam, O. (2016). ‘Orwellian dystopia’ or trustworthy nation?
The facts on
China’s social credit system. Hong Kong Free Press.
Retrieved from
social-credit-system/ .
Nguyen C. (2016). China might use data to create a score
for each citizen
based on how trustworthy they are. Business
Insider. Retrieved from
Pletcher, K. One-child policy. (2016). In Encyclodpaedia
Brittanica online.
Retrieved from
Zhun L. (2016). China’s social credit system won’t be
Orwellian. Global
Times. Retrieved from

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by Donna L. Roberts, PhD

Executive Director of Europe
[email protected]

Throughout popular media, the Millennial generation, born
1980-1999, has been repeatedly labeled as narcissistic,
entitled, lazy and spoiled. Children of the Baby Boomers
and Gen Xers, they are, in a sense, the culmination of the
ubiquitous American Dream. Raised by parents and
grandparents who were upwardly mobile conspicuous
consumers, they incorporated similar expectations into their
view of the future, anticipating good jobs, marriages and
mortgages as they launched into adulthood.
However, times have changed. For the first time in history,
the Millennials represent a generation less well-off than
their predecessors. The economic perfect storm of
recession, unemployment and income stagnation, coupled
with effects of globalization and rapid technological change,
has spiraled this generation into a world for which they
were not prepared. What has resulted is a generation
underachieving with respect to the typical milestones, yet
faced with some of the most serious global problems in

Keywords: Millennials, Generation Y, Great Recession,

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“The children love luxury. They have bad manners,
contempt for authority, show disrespect for elders, and love
to chatter in place of exercise.”
Socrates, 5 Century BC

1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Images of the
The Millennials. Generation Y. The stereotypes for this
generation are ubiquitous. They have been described as
self-absorbed and over-confident (Pew Research Center,
2007), lacking in work ethic (Marston, 2009), entitled and
narcissistic (Pomerpy & Handke, 2015).
In 2012 the New Yorker published an opinion piece,
notably entitled Spoiled Rotten, which concluded that the
“failure to launch” experienced by Millennials was a direct
result of being pampered and overindulged (Kolbert, 2012).
In 2013, Time magazine featured Millennials on its cover,
proclaiming, “Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who
still live with their parents.” The article goes on to note that
“Millennials got so many participation trophies growing up
that a recent study showed that 40% believe they should
be promoted every two years, regardless of performance”
(Stein, 2013, para. 2).
In 2014, Forbes ran the article The Dirty 30s: Over 40% Of
Oldest Millennials Are Still Financially Dependent On Mom
and Dad, noting that a third of the eldest of the Millennial
group had yet to find full-time work in their field, despite
having graduated with college degrees over a decade prior
(Henderson, 2014).
But there has also been backlash to this pervasive
In 2012, Newsweek headlined Are Millennials the Screwed
Generation? claiming, “Today’s youth, both here and
abroad, have been screwed by their parents’ fiscal
profligacy and economic mismanagement.” The article
further cites the “greed, shortsightedness, and blind
partisanship” of the boomers, of whom he is one, for having

Chapter Three

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