The Economist,” a weekly publication based in London, has recently come under fire for comments about millennials.

Why aren't they buying diamonds?

In one recent article from the publication, the question “Why aren’t millennials buying diamonds” was asked, possibly to tie into the discovery and auction of the “Lesedi La Rona” diamond, and it was answered. The article seems to suggest that the main reason was an issue of ethics; accordingly, millennials “shun” the purchase of diamonds due to the unethical methods that are used to harvest them, and seem to give preference to artificially produced gemstones. The article also seemed to imply this mentality partially was unfair, as there are mining companies, such as Lucara Diamond, that claim to use more ethically sound methods to obtain the diamonds, which also seems to paint millennials as being somewhat naive.

Many felt that the article itself was being more than a little unfair towards millennials. On social media, the most common alternative explanation was simple: millennials can’t exactly afford to indulge themselves in this economy. Various reactions of this fold can be seen below, and it can be summed up in the phrase, “check your privilege.” Alternatively, for the more soft-tempered among us, it can be also phrased as “count your blessings.”

The reality

There are various economic reasons to explain why millennials possibly do not consider owning diamonds. According to reports, tuition has risen to nearly 300% since 1995.

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Added to that, while many students do take loans to help further their education, it certainly goes without saying that graduates often find themselves in trouble when it comes to paying back loans. In the United States, there is a reported $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

Now, I know that it seems like higher education is a good investment. With a good degree, you can get the income needed to pay back your loans. However, higher education is no longer a guarantee to decent employment anymore, either. This isn’t just an issue for people who made up their majors or settled for a community college. Between law students being unable to find employment to STEM students finding their work outsourced, it is possible for anyone in any field to find themselves a victim of circumstance.

It has been said before, and if we live in a world where millennials are actually going to be insulted for not purchasing diamonds, I’ll say it again. Part-time jobs do not want to hire anyone they think is overqualified, and its getting to a point where finishing high school is accused of being overqualified.

For many, it is flattering at first, and it is a comforting thing to know that you won’t end up in a humiliating, dead-end job because that is not even an option any more, but soon the reality of being underemployed sets in. On the other hand, full-time jobs don’t want to hire recent graduates because they have the excuse of them having no experience and because they could just make an unpaid intern do the dirty work for free.

To say nothing of the plight of the unpaid intern, to whom the term “unpaid” should already speak volumes.