Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Election Forecast 2015 - Opinion Polls Trending Towards Conservative Outright Win - Nadeem_Walayat
2.UK Solar Eclipse - End Time Sign, Judgement Day, Doomsday! - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Gold And Silver - When Will Precious Metals Rally? Not In 2015 - Michael_Noonan
4.Preparing for the Next Stocks Bear Market - Forecast 2015-2016 - Gary_Savage
5.Is a Stock Market Crash Imminent? - David Eifrig
6.Gold Price Slumps as US Dollar Soars, What's Next? - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Dollar Forex Pairs and Gold Chartology - Rambus_Chartology
8.Election Forecast 2015: The Day Labour Lost the General Election - Nadeem_Walayat
9.The ECB Should End QE Next Month - EconMatters
10.Silver Price Poised to Surge - Zeal_LLC
Last 5 days
You Can’t Afford Not to Invest in This Latest Yesla Technology - 1st Apr 15
Election Forecast 2015 - Coalition Economic Recovery vs Labour Collapse - 1st Apr 15
Bitcoin Price Down Move Still in the Cards - 31st Mar 15
No Body Understands Debt - Living in a Free-Lunch World - 31st Mar 15
Will Gold Win Out Against the US Dollar? - 31st Mar 15
Middle East Balance of Power Matures - 31st Mar 15
Ed Miliband Debate Election 2015 Analysis - Labour Spending, Debt and Economic Collapse - 31st Mar 15
Gold and Misery, Strange Bedfellows - 31st Mar 15
Why are Interest Rates So Low? Ben Bernanke, Confused as Ever, Starts His Own Blog to Prove It - 31st Mar 15
Don’t Celebrate the U.S. Housing Market Recovery Yet - 30th Mar 15
A Middle East Nuclear Holocaust - 30th Mar 15
Peak Gold? – Goldman Sachs Research Warns of Peak Gold Production - 30th Mar 15
With Yemen Burning, Arab Spring II Is Underway - 30th Mar 15
No FED Bets From the BIS - 30th Mar 15
Election Forecast 2015 - Debates Boost Labour Into Opinion Polls Seats Lead - 30th Mar 15
Economic Recovery, Geopolitics and Detergents - 30th Mar 15
U.S. Dollar, Commodities and the Gold Miners GDXJ ETF Analysis - 30th Mar 15
Stock Market Short-term Downtrend - 30th Mar 15
David Cameron Election 2015 Debate Facts Check - Employment, Immigration, Debt & Deficit - 29th Mar 15
Stock Market About Ready to Crash! - 29th Mar 15
Reflections in a Golden Eye - Gold Market Rejection, Repatriation and Redemption - 28th Mar 15
Stock Market Inflection Point - 28th Mar 15
Gold And Silver - What Moved Price? Bab el-Mandeb And Uranus Square Pluto. What?! - 28th Mar 15
Stock Market Investment Parachutes; Do You Have Yours? - 28th Mar 15
Peak Gold Misunderstanding, is Gold About to Run Out? - 28th Mar 15
Deflation Watch: Key U.S. Economic Measures Turn South - 27th Mar 15
The Hard-Earned Truth About Recreational Real Estate - 27th Mar 15
Bitcoin Price Still in Important Territory - 27th Mar 15
Stocks Bear Market Conditions - Index Market Range Warning - 27th Mar 15
BEA Leaves Q4 2014 U.S. GDP Growth Essentially Unchanged at 2.22% - 27th Mar 15
Brazil Economy Victim of Vulgar Keynesianism - 27th Mar 15
Gold to Fuel Silver Price Upleg - 27th Mar 15
Gold and Silver Stocks Will Rise Again! - 27th Mar 15
Risk of ‘World War’ between NATO and Russia on Ukraine as Yemen Bombed - 27th Mar 15
FOMC Minutes Turned The Gold Tide - 27th Mar 15
Sheffield Hallam Election Battle 2015 - Lib Dems Go to War Whilst Labour Sleeps - 27th Mar 15
Gold Effect On Mining & Shale Wasteland - 27th Mar 15
How Stock Investors Should Play the 2016 Presidential Race - 26th Mar 15
MidEast Energy Alert: Why the Crisis in Yemen Could Get Ugly Very Fast - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Downward Spiral of Dumbness - 26th Mar 15
The Monetary Approach Reigns Supreme - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Large Gap Down, Despite the Algos' Push Back - 26th Mar 15
Crude Oil Surges, Gold price Spikes as Middle East Tensions Escalate - 26th Mar 15
The U.S. Housing Market Recovery Is Fabricated Optimism - 26th Mar 15
Why Yemen Is The Next Saudi-Iranian Battleground - 26th Mar 15
The Crude Oil Price Crash and China Economic Slow Down - 26th Mar 15
Global Financial Markets Are More Distorted Than Ever Before - 26th Mar 15
One More Stock Market Rally and Then a Huge Drop Expected - 26th Mar 15
Danger Will Robinson - Stock Market Crash Warning - 25th Mar 15
Learn the Basics of Corrective Elliott Waves - 25th Mar 15
Why CNBC Is Hazardous to Your Financial Health! - 25th Mar 15
Will Your Retirement Accounts Survive The Coming Tax Code "Revolution"? - 25th Mar 15
US Dollar - Americas Phoenix - 25th Mar 15
California’s Epic Drought: Only One Year of Water Left! - 25th Mar 15
What’s Wrong With Silver? - 25th Mar 15
SPX Futures Appear Weak. WTIC and Gold May Be at Max Retracement - 25th Mar 15
We’re at the Dawn of a “New Energy Age” - 25th Mar 15
A Very Weak U.S. Economic Recovery - 25th Mar 15
Zero UK CPI Inflation Rate Prompts Deflation Danger Propaganda For Fresh Money Printing - 25th Mar 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

US Economy Still on Life Support

9/11 – A Fourth Turning Perspective

Politics / US Politics Sep 11, 2010 - 12:40 PM GMT

By: James_Quinn

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleThe four turnings comprise a quaternal social cycle of growth, maturation, entropy, and death (and rebirth).  In a spring like High, a society fortifies and builds and converges in an era of promise.  In a summer like Awakening, it dreams and plays and exults in an era of euphoria.  In an autumnal Unraveling, it harvests and consumes and diverges in an era of anxiety.  In a hibernal Crisis, it focuses and struggles and sacrifices in an era of survival.  When the saeculum is in motion, therefore, no long human lifetime can go by without a society confronting its deepest spiritual and worldly needs. - The Fourth Turning



 
Nine years after the attack on the World Trade Center the mood of the country has transformed dramatically. I watched the horror on a TV in a conference room at work with my colleagues. I remember being in a daze for a few days after the attack. When it became unambiguous that Osama bin Laden masterminded the attacks and was being protected by the Taliban in Afghanistan, I wanted justice. The entire world rallied around the US. There was worldwide support for the United States' right to attack Afghanistan and kill the perpetrators.

In the days immediately following the attacks, there were many memorials and vigils around the world. In addition, pictures were placed all over Ground Zero. A witness described being unable to "get away from faces of innocent victims who were killed. Their pictures are everywhere, on phone booths, street lights, walls of subway stations. Everything reminded me of a huge funeral, people quiet and sad, but also very nice. Before, New York gave me a cold feeling; now people were reaching out to help each other.”

There was a feeling of unity in the country for a brief shining moment. If the year had been 2007, rather than 2001, that unity may have been sustained. Anyone who had read Strauss & Howe's 1997 book The Fourth Turning was likely trying to figure out if the 9/11 attacks were the trigger for the Fourth Turning. But it was too soon. As Strauss & Howe relate in the book, a turning can be sudden or subtle:

"The gateway to a new turning can be obvious and dramatic (like the 1929 Stock Crash) or subtle and gradual (like 1984’s Morning in America).  It usually occurs two to five years after a new generation of children starts being born.  The tight link between turning gateways and generational boundaries enables each archetype to fill an entire phase-of-life just as the mood of an old turning grows stale and feels ripe for replacement with something new."

Unraveling Culture

The Unraveling, which had begun in 1984, had not run its course by September 11, 2001. Turnings generally last for 20 to 25 years. In 2001, we were only 17 years into the Unraveling. The mood of the country had not developed to the point where a consensus could be built to address a national Crisis. We had been attacked, but our very existence as a nation had not been threatened. The 9/11 attacks heightened the feeling of anxiety in the country and put us on the path towards a great Crisis. Strauss & Howe explained the phases of an Unraveling in the book:   

"An UNRAVELING begins as a society-wide embrace of the liberating cultural forces set loose by the Awakening.  People have had their fill of spiritual rebirth, moral protest, and lifestyle experimentation.  Content with what they have become individually, they vigorously assert an ethos of pragmatism, self-reliance, laissez faire, and national (or sectional or ethnic) chauvinism.

While personal satisfaction is high, public trust ebbs amid a fragmenting culture, harsh debates over values, and weakening civic habits.  The sense of guilt (which rewards principle and individuality) reaches its zenith.  As moral debates brew, the big public arguments are over ends, not means.  Decisive public action becomes very difficult, as community problems are deferred.  Wars are fought with moral fervor but without consensus or follow-through.

Eventually, cynical alienation hardens into a brooding pessimism. During a High, obliging individuals serve a purposeful society, and even bad people get harnessed to socially constructive tasks; during an Unraveling, an obliging society serves purposeful individuals, and even good people find it hard to connect with their community.  The approaching specter of public disaster ultimately elicits a mix of paralysis and apathy that would have been unthinkable half a saeculum earlier.  People can now feel, but collectively can no longer do." - The Fourth Turning

The Clinton years were divisive and cynical. You knew the country was adrift, but no one could harness the power of the realm to take on the impending challenges. The nation divided into Blue states and Red States. The Moral Majority raged against the Godlessness of the country. The 2000 Presidential election was an example of a country deeply divided, fragmented and unable to agree on anything. The election was essentially a draw, and a partisan Supreme Court picked the winner. It seemed like the country was divided as never before. But, a student of history would have recognized the same issues, dilemmas and foul mood in the 1760s, 1850s and 1920s. Strauss and Howe documented the prior Unravelings in US history:

"The mood of the current Culture Wars era seems new to nearly every living American but is not new to history.  Around World War I, America steeped in reform and fundamentalism amidst a floodtide of crime, alcohol, immigration, political corruption, and circus trials.  The 1850s likewise simmered with moral righteousness, shortening tempers, and multiplying “mavericks.”  It was a decade, says historian David Donald, in which “the authority of all government in America was at a low point.”  Entering the 1760s, the colonies felt rejuvenated in spirit but reeled from violence, mobs, insurrections, and paranoia over the corruption of official authority." - The Fourth Turning

The country went to war with a moral fervor, which quickly dissipated. There was no follow through, as bin Laden was allowed to escape. The appearance of unity in the country was wiped away with the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses. Americans became more cynical after 9/11. Instead of addressing the visible financial catastrophe set in motion by political promises made decades ago, Americans deluded themselves with visions of faux wealth created by the Federal Reserve inflating the largest bubble in history. President Bush did not demand shared sacrifice after 9/11. He instructed the American people to defeat the terrorists by leasing a Mercedes SUV; buying a 6,000 sq ft McMansion with 10 rooms, granite countertops, Jacuzzis, and a home theater, financed with 0% down; and taking your ultimate dream vacation in the Caribbean paid for with one of your 10 credit cards.

While Americans binged on credit and ignored the disastrous future that awaited them with the approaching Fourth Turning, a brooding pessimism began to blanket the country. A national paralysis overtook the populace regarding vital issues. The popping of the housing bubble from 2006 through 2008 revealed massive fraud on the part of Wall Street bankers; corrupt politicians, bought off by corporations, in Washington DC; inept bungling regulators; millions of morons wanting to be led astray; and a Federal Reserve that provided the cheap credit to fuel the mass delusion. The complete meltdown of the financial system in September 2008 will be viewed as the catalyst for the current Fourth Turning. The transition from Unraveling to Crisis has transpired.

Crisis Deepening

"A CRISIS arises in response to sudden threats that previously would have been ignored or deferred, but which are now perceived as dire.  Great worldly perils boil off the clutter and complexity of life, leaving behind one simple imperative: The society must prevail.  This requires a solid public consensus, aggressive institutions, and personal sacrifice." - The Fourth Turning

The current Crisis is deepening day by day. The ninth anniversary of 9/11 is revealing the dramatic mood change of the country. In the days following 9/11 there was little anger against the religion of Islam. President Bush went to a mosque and declared that Islam was a religion of peace. He said forcefully that anyone who attacked Arab or Muslim Americans in some kind of twisted attempt at revenge for 9/11 would be met with the full force of American law. Most right minded Americans agreed with President Bush. After 9 years of waging wars against Muslims, in which victory is unachievable, Americans are weary, agitated and ready to lash out.

Contrast the reaction of Americans after 9/11 with the recent issue of converting a Burlington Coat factory store into a Muslim community center two blocks from Ground Zero. The mainstream media has been full of vitriol and anger regarding an issue that would have gotten no press in 2002. There have been protests, counter-protests, accusations and lies spread across the airwaves. The anti-Muslim feeling in the country is palpable. A nut-job pastor with a flock of 50 people threatens to burn the Koran and sets off a firestorm across the globe. The reaction to this inconsequential knucklehead would have been non-existent in 2002. The mood of the country has clearly changed. The anger building against the ruling elite on Wall Street and in Washington DC is real. Average Americans feel betrayed by politicians, bankers and corporate America. The Tea party movement is a reflection of that anger. The country certainly hasn't reached a consensus about which direction the country needs to move, but we are still in the early stages of the Fourth Turning. A threat to our very existence will reveal itself in the near future and generate the consensus necessary to meet the threat.

What is beyond a doubt is that the country is facing extreme peril as it tries to maneuver its way through an economic Depression, a looming peak oil crisis, unresolved long-term fiscal obligations, and antagonism from countries throughout the world. The cycles of history do not reveal the exact nature of the Crisis ahead, but previous Crisis periods give us a flavor of what to expect. Based on our previous Crises periods and knowing which national issues have been ignored for decades, the likely threats to confront the nation over the next decade include:

  • Continued reduction in the national wealth of Americans as home prices drop another 20% and the stock market loses another 30% of its value.
  • A National Debt approaching $20 trillion within the next 5 years, potentially resulting in massive interest expense payments and/or a collapse of the USD.
  • The demographic headwinds of a rapidly aging population combined with the gutting of industrial America by corporate chieftains insures that the American economy will be stuck in low gear. The result will be a steady decline in the American standard of living.
  • When the Central Bank experiment in fiat currency fails within the next 5 years, a hyperinflationary depression is likely. 
  • The diminishing supply of cheap, easily accessible oil will fundamentally change American society. The entire suburban sprawl existence of America, with 260 million automobiles and food trucked from 1,500 miles to grocery stores will disappear practically overnight.
  • The wrenching changes which will be required to localize, combined with the loss of wealth, will likely lead to social chaos, possible revolt, and the use of U.S. military forces against citizens of the United States. Geographic fragmentation of the country is a distinct possibility.
  • The desperate need for oil will provoke wars for precious resources. The Middle East is likely to turn into a battlefield. The combatants are unknown at this point, but China and Russia are likely to be involved. With the proliferation of nuclear weapons, an escalation could lead to a catastrophic worldwide conflagration.

Fourth Turnings always sweep away the old order and replace it with a new order. There is no guarantee that the new order will be better. It could be far worse. As we honor those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 we need to brace ourselves for the storm ahead. The clouds are gathering and the time of great sacrifice is approaching. There are no guarantees from God that the United States will always prevail. We have gone far off course this time. I trust we can rise to the challenge.

“History offers no guarantees. Obviously, things could go horribly wrong – the possibilities ranging from a nuclear exchange to incurable plagues, from terrorist anarchy to high-tech dictatorship. We should not assume that Providence will always exempt our nation from the irreversible tragedies that have overtaken so many others: not just temporary hardship, but debasement and total ruin. Losing in the next Fourth Turning could mean something incomparably worse. It could mean a lasting defeat from which our national innocence – perhaps even our nation – might never recover.”  - The Fourth Turning

Join me at www.TheBurningPlatform.com to discuss truth and the future of our country.

By James Quinn

quinnadvisors@comcast.net

James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. James has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 22-year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a BS in accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified cash manager.

These articles reflect the personal views of James Quinn. They do not necessarily represent the views of his employer, and are not sponsored or endorsed by his employer.

© 2010 Copyright James Quinn - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

James Quinn Archive

© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014