Numbers from UN population division.
Today in 2010 there are living in the UK about 3.6 million more individuals between the ages 40-55 than there were twenty-five years ago, in 1985. If you further compare the years there are 1.1 million fewer people between age 15-24. The number of individuals between 25-39 is about the same.
This is a fundamentally different demographic structure and it has an influence on culture and the way we are governed. This bubble which is now middle aged (20 years ago it was 20-35, or even 20-45 as the baby boom generation in UK was post war to 1970) has over the last thirty years redesigned governing and economic structures to employ more of themselves in high status, high earning leadership roles. As the bubble rose, the institutions expanded with their cumulative desire for high status, wealth and power.
The effect of this is an extraordinarily expensive architecture of transnational institutions and unaccountable political networks and the tab is now being picked up and felt most by students who are expected to pay high £18-27k tuition fees.
To employ more of themselves the baby boom generation has created more ersatz leadership positions which carry little responsibility but a lot of weight in money. They have expanded international institutions, funded non-governmental organizations and set up quangos and regulatory bodies to police business - rules which favour big, high-status, high-earning (for the directors), transnational businesses.
As the chart shows, the most bloated annual cohorts are not expected to retire for another 5-10 years. In this time they will continue to seek to generate more high status, high earning leadership posts so that as many of them as possible can have a cushy desk job, a title and jet-setting lifestyle that requires 'work' attending conferences that are situated within walking distance of a fine tropical beach.
The last thing this ageing but still ambitious generation wants to do is fight. They think they rule the world and want to do that from the comfort of their well-paid chairs. It is however as yet an open question for how long the generations coming through are going to be prepared to subsidise the lifestyles of this old elite.
Unlike in 1985, because of the huge burden of parasitic elites, the economy is not likely to undergo a boom any time soon. The huge number of young people in 1985 had space in which to rise into well-paid positions because there were 3.5 million fewer people in the most powerful 40-55 age group above them.
As such the only way this younger generation can get anywhere is by 1. physically removing the generations above them or 2. by radically "downscaling" power-structures into an anarchic hyper-localism (or both) and allow the transnational and national institutions to "wither on the vine".
Once this generational conflict has been resolved over the next decade there will be a cultural conflict between the rising numbers of immigrant descendants.
There is a similar demographic profile to the UK in other Western states.