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Book Review: The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe

Book Review

Book Review: The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe

An American Prophecy: What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny
By William Strauss and Neil Howe

400 pages. Broadway 1997.

The Fourth Turning, by William Strauss and Neil Howe, a book that is often recommended by Thom Hartmann, makes the case for a four generational pattern of economic outlook. The authors refer to the generational economic outlooks as turnings.

The theory is basically that history goes through four types of turnings:

The first Crisis turning is a collapse of the social, cultural, or economic system. The Great Depression which started On October 29, 1929 and lasted into the early 1940s is an example.

The second turning is a conservative High. Having lived through the crisis of the first turning, people remain in a conservative mode even as life improves. This is represented by stable institutions usually after a major war such as after the WWII.

The third is a spiritual Awakening turning that occurs in next succeeding generation. The youth often have a religious re-discovery. An example is the hippy movement in the United States and Europe in the 1960s and 1970s.

The forth is a wild decadent Unravelling where the collapse of social values and norms. Here people toss aside the ideas from the past considering them to be old-fashioned and unnecessary.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 repealed part of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which put in place the structure and removed the regulations that allowed the Enron scandal and the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis and 2008 global economic crisis to happen is an example.


One Response

  1. This book had an enormous impact on the way I viewed my own personal mission in life. I also, wrote an article on my blog about these Turnings. This book gave me hope that during this crisis, we as a country would be able to correct ourselves, and hopefully get back to a founding closer to what our Founders of this American country intended. It will really all depend on the hero generation, and what we the nomads and prophets teach them about this great country.
    Visit my site and search “Fourth Turning.” I have two articles on this great work.

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