Tuesday, 10 Dhu al-Qi'dah 1444 | 2023/05/30
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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Youth are Stuck in a Capitalist Crisis

As youth, we account for approximately 16% of the global population- that’s approximately 1.2 billion young people (between the ages of 15 to 24 years). And it doesn’t matter who we are, or where we live, we are all striving to achieve the same thing- the good future that we’ve been promised, as a result of our hard work and dedication.

But we are all living in a world that is full of uncertainty – in the present and in the future. As we live within a system that has given us:

-  Recurring Economic Crisis, with another one predicted this year

-  Rising levels of Inflation, as the prices for goods and services reached a year-over-year rate of 9.1% — the highest since 1981 (Labor Department data)

- A significant level of youth unemployment – With an estimated 73 million unemployed young people.

These statistics, and others, are making it increasingly apparent that we can’t rely on this system to protect us in the present.

And yet, we are all searching for that better life; migrating from area to area in search of something better, but the result is that they are burdening ourselves further and falling into depression as we have to face the range of societal problems that are a result of living in a Secular Capitalist System.

This uncertainty isn’t unusual to those of us living in the developing world- we are told that living in countries that have yet to become successful Capitalist states, makes this uncertainty inevitable. That the problems we face are not a result of Capitalism, they are a result of state infrastructure, lack of modernization, backward religious culture, a lack of liberal values within society, war, … the list goes on.

So, we’ve learnt to accept them, believing that if we embrace their values and adopt their way of life, we will have a better life in the present and in the future.

But what of the youth who are living in the developed world? Where the states have separated religion from life and focused on modernization? Where they have the state infrastructure, the liberal values, the stability…

Are those countries free from the crisis?

The answer is no.

In those countries, the youth are experiencing problems on a daily basis that make their present life and their future uncertain and full of varying levels of crisis.

1) In the UK, 1.7 million households could be pushed into homelessness this year(Source)

And in the USA, the number of homeless is estimated at 552,830 (Source)

2) In the USA, 1 in 5 young adults are in debt (Source).

In the UK, more than a third (37%) of young people have taken out loans though credit cards, overdrafts or other sources. The figure increases to 67% when student loans and mortgages are included (Source)

3) In the USA, roughly 5.7 million minors in total – have used illegal drugs before.

In the UK, there were 11,013 young people in contact with alcohol and drug services between April 2020 and March 2021.

4) In the USA, 1-in-8 teenagers were abusing an illicit substance in the last year. (Source)

In the UK, one in ten 17 year olds will have used hard drugs, such as ketamine and cocaine. (BBC)

5) In the USA, there is a gun homicide rate among young people that is 49 times higher than that of other developed nations. Every day, three to four Americans under the age of 18 are murdered with a firearm. (Source)

6) In the UK, approximately 27,000 children in gangs (Source)

And roughly 12,720 children (in England) are at risk of criminal exploitation by gangs in 2020/21 (Source)

7) In the USA, about 42,000 children and teens received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria in 2021. And over the last five years, there were at least 4,780 adolescents who started on puberty blockers and had a prior gender dysphoria diagnosis. (Source)

8) In the UK, One in six children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2021. And nearly half of 17-19 year-olds with a diagnosable mental health disorder has self-harmed or attempted suicide at some point. (Source)

In the USA, over 1 in 10 youth are experiencing depression that is severely impairing their ability to function at school or work, at home, with family, or in their social life. (Source)

9) In the USA, there are approximately 463,634 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.

In the UK, there were 73,518 recorded offences including rape, online grooming and sexual assault against children in 2019/20 (Source)

10) In the USA, more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage. (Source)

In the UK, 320,713 live births were to women who were not married or in a civil partnership when their children were born. (Source)

These are just a few of the very concerning problems that the youth in the developed world are experiencing on a daily basis- and there are so many more. Young adults and children from religious backgrounds (whether Muslim or Christian) are choosing to become atheist; online bullying is a significant issue amongst students; peer pressure is pushing us into situations that we are either uncomfortable to be in or may actually place us in dangerous situations.

So, now we must sit down for a minute and think. If these are all the problems that the youth in the developed world are facing, whether Capitalism, Democracy or Liberalism is supposed to be ‘working’ then how can we trust Capitalism, Democracy or Liberalism to solve our problems?

We can come up with all the excuses in the world for why those problems exists; blaming individuals, arguing that they are isolated incidents and so on.

But the fact remains that this system is not solving our problems, or giving us hope for a better future. It is making our lives miserable. And rejecting it doesn’t make us backwards, or stop us from being ‘free thinkers’. Rejecting it means that we are thinking individuals, who have understood the problem at its root and are looking for a way out of it.

Because right now, we are trapped in a world where we stuck in a system that fails us on a daily basis. A system in which material benefit of the few, is put above our protection and wellbeing. A system in which the ideas of ‘freedom’ are putting us in harm’s way. A system in which we are being encouraged to sideline Islam, with all the rulings that would protect us.

We can follow some of Islam’s rulings, as individuals, as we navigate our daily lives. But until Islam is implemented, as a whole, we will not receive its protection in every aspect of our lives. And we will continue to experience life within the Capitalist System, that’s filled with crisis.

Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Fatima Musab
Member of the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir

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