the impressives

My friend Chad Matlin likes to refer to the present near-college-age generation as ‘the impressives.’ Many of us are driven, efficient, entrepreneurial, creative, bookish, and, of course, impressive.

Tyler Cowen argues in a New York Times article that the reason young people tend to be so entrepreneurial in the United States relative to other developed countries is the environment that is provided for them. What I take to be Cowen’s main point is that our flexibly demanding school curriculum, contrasted with those in other developed countries such as Britain and Japan, allows students to strongly develop extra-curricular interests. The oft-cited down-side is that it enables students to ‘succeed’ without doing much more than treading water. Nonetheless, the flexible education system in America is one of the enablers of the young entrepreneurship that’s central to Chad’s notion of ‘the impressives.’


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