16 years after his prophecy
of “Crisis” in this,
the “4th Turning”
of the 7th Saeculum,
historian Neil Howe¹
fills in more dots…
Some prophecies do come true!
[For a brief note to more, use the DOOR.]
To review: (1) A saeculum is an 80- to 100-year period where history cycles through four 20+ year periods from “hope” to “crisis.” Then social behaviors repeat in the same pattern. (2) We’re in the 7th saeculum that runs from 1946 to 2026. The “crisis” (4th) period was projected to run from (about) 2006 to 2026. (3) The book (see Note 1) was written in 1997.
After preparing the 3 previous posts about William Strauss and Neil Howe’s best-selling book in 1997 (hardback, perhaps 1996), we made a fascinating discovery: Howe just brought things up to date 16 years later–that is, until June 26, 2013–with a fascinating interview. You can hear it for yourself! Here’s the address:
The rest of this post draws largely from that podcast. Here are some selected highlights from Howe’s talk:
• The projected Crisis actually began with the election of Obama in 2008.
• Also in 2008 came the epic crash of the global economy.
• It’s a “grim day. We have unfunded liabilities that we’ve promised ourselves that we can never pay for.”
• The unrealistic borrowing (begun in 1980) has become unrealistically extreme.
• Jobs have decreased for those under 60, but have actually increased significantly for those over 60.
• More and more millennials are living longer with their boomer parents, and to Howe’s surprise, overall this is working out much better than he expected.
• How will we deal with crisis? “We will deal with it because we have no other choice.”
Interestingly, prospects of war, unusual unprecedented technological disaster, disease or biological issues–possible on a global basis are not mentioned.
What to take away from this? (1) Some of us may be thinking the world is going to Hell in a hand basket. But if so, we are not the first folks to think so. There have been some other “crises” that many no longer think about. (2) Strauss and Howe have done some remarkable predicting! (3) Still, the problems we face today as a planet seem unusually large and interconnected this time around (the saeculum)…
¹ William Strauss and Neil Howe, The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy (What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny. (Broadway Books, 1997). This riveting, though detailed, book (382pp.) thematically examines 7 cycles of generations and “turnings” in terms of the criteria given here: (1) Late Medieval (1435-1487; (2) Reformation (1487-1594); (3) New World (1594-1704); (4) Revolutionary (1704-1794); (5) Civil War (1794-1865); (6) Great Power (1865-1946; and (7) Millennial (1946-2026?). In this post we’re adding some notes offered 16 years about the 4th, or “crisis” part of the Millennial saeculum. This is added after the previous, and 3rd (and “final” post) on this book.