Generations
 

The generational and economic theory in the excel workbooks are based on the work of the following people:   Strauss & Howe , HS Dent , Charles P Kindleberger , Gene Smiley and Robert S. McElvaine.  The bulk of my research comes from the work of Strauss & Howe.

Ages by Year

Web Page Navigation Area:

 My short writings on Generations & Turnings

Born Generation XCrash of 1921 v 2001CuspersExcel Workbooks

Generation of VipersGen X in the Work ForceGen X & WarGenerational Theory

Putting History in ContextS&H Do it AgainNew Generation GapWhere is Society?

 

 Generations

  Listed in order of which they should be read

Color Coding KeyList of GenerationsArchetypesArchetypes Side by Side

Diagonal & CohortsDiagonal IIAge Location

 

 The 4 Generational Archetypes

Artist / AdaptiveHero / CivicProphet / IdealistReactive / Nomad

 

 Turnings/Seasons

  Listed in order of which they should be read

4th Turning (Crisis Cycle)Characteristics of TurningsColor Coding KeyInvention Cycles

TurningsTurning ExplanationSocial MovementsWhat Happens in Turnings

 

 Misc

Generation & History Links Generations II

 

 

 


 

 The New Generation Gap

I was having a conversation with my nephew, of the Millennial generation (b1982-2003?), at Thanksgiving dinner and realized that there's a major misunderstanding between the Millennials (Mills) and the older generations. The Mills don't want to listen to the older generations because we are

  1. so cynical

  2. constantly communicating that America is doomed.

I want to dispel the rumor that America is doomed. Perhaps we are up-a-creek without a paddle; however, this is normal. We seem to find our way up that creek like clockwork, every 80 years or so, since this country was formed.

America will come out on top and we as a country are headed to a new and better future. What I have been trying to communicate, since 2003, to the Mills and anyone else that would listen is that

  1. we were headed into a financial crisis and an era that can be defined as Winter;

  2. the Winter era would be very difficult and life as we knew it would change.

What I haven't communicated is that we will be fine when this is over. The cycle will continue from Winter to Spring. The Spring era may not come until 2024 but it will come.

The Mills' have many talents, one being, they fix society from a civic stand-point. Where boomers brought focus to the individual and rebelled against their civic-minded fathers (the GI generation) the Mills will rebuild the broken systems the boomers and Xers left behind but with concentration on community, not the individual.

Furthermore, the Mills will soar at math and science.  There's been much consternation to the depletion of mathematicians and scientists over the last 30 years. Yet, this is a normal cycle that can be found inside the archetype of each of the four generations that are born over and over again in the US. Some generations are good at writing, some are good at math, and some are entrepreneurs, some are medical wizards. If a generation is defined as about 20 years in length and there are 4 different types of generations born in the US in a cycle that repeats every 4th generation then you can see how we could deplete those specific areas of expertise that each generation excels at. Today, we are low on mathematicians and scientists…but not for long.

Looking back my conversation with my nephew, on Thanksgiving, I realized that my part of the conversation was laced with the usual cynicism and anger at the elite. "America is screwed and things are going to get much worse when austerity hits", I said. My nephew replied, that he doesn't believe that America is going down, that the sky is falling etc.

That's when the epiphany came. Well of course America's not going down, I thought. Suddenly our conversation was interrupted, the night rushed by and I wanted to finish the conversation with him but found myself, wife, and kids saying goodbye before I could talk with my nephew.

 Well, here's my chance to finish that conversation. My message to my nephew, and the rest of anyone who reads my writing is as follows: We aren't doomed. Generational and Turnings theory is the only theory I've found that do a great job at predicting the future of society. Those theories show that we will not only survive but will grow, expand, flourish, and life will go on in America under the same systems we've used and tweaked since 1776. The Mills will become scientists and mathematicians. They will bring civility back to America and by 2025 this country will not look the same, it will look better. We will sacrifice individual rights in the process because that's what a Hero/Civic generation (the Mills) does. They build community to the extreme at the sacrifice of the individual. For better or worse, that's the cycle. Perhaps the cycle betters itself after each passing, for our  society does not grow linearly? I believe both to be true.

Lastly, yes, the next 15 years are going to be difficult. That's why they call it Winter. How will we see it through? The Millennials will offer their expertise in teamwork, and make sacrifices of their lives if called upon to fight a war; the Xers will offer leadership through pragmatism while protecting the new generation The Homeland Babies (b2004?-2021?), and the boomers will "define the acceptable behavior of other nations narrowly, and the appropriate use of American arms broadly." [1]

 Hope this helps,

James Goulding

12/07/2010

 

[1] Generations p302
 


 Generational Theory

William Strauss and Neil Howe have compiled the most important piece of work American’s need too break the negative cycles that truly hold this country back from the next collective threshold.

Their in-depth look into each of the eighteen generations in America’s history is not only a masterpiece in of itself, it’s also an enormous learning tool. Furthermore, their work into the cycles that these generational archetypes create, called Turnings, is a big-picture view of our Nation’s entire history painted ingeniously. What more could any society ask for than to have this work put in front of them? It answers so many questions.

Strauss & Howe have invited others to take this work to the next level. There is much more research that needs to be done. Thankfully, Bill and Neil have created a mighty foundation. My hope is, somewhere in this great country of ours, someone is thinking about funding such an endeavor.

Once I discovered Generational Theory, I was able to truly step back in time and into the shoes of many of our historical figures. Generational Theory links all of us together. It weaves a basic strand back in time that connects us with similarities that are very simple to understand.

  It wasn’t just Generational Theory itself that accomplished this. It was the two men that I came to know as the greatest generational writers of our era. 

Strauss & Howe grouped everyone into 18 generations and 4 archetypes. The archetypes are born in order, Hero, Artist, Idealist, Nomad, and  the 18 generations stretch back to the first settlers in America. Nobody had done this kind of work until William Strauss and Neil Howe.

They paint a big picture of American history that is easy to understand and gives explanations for events that make sense.

Their Generational Theory is a framework that you can use to place dates and people with simplicity. Furthermore you will become connected to figures in the past that you never knew possible. When you become familiar with the four archetypes, you suddenly find that you have much in common with some of the greatest people of our past. This is due to the fact that you are one of these archetypes and you share common behavioral patterns with many people from out past.

 The spreadsheets on this page are a way for you to see the theory in pictures. I have taken the archetypes and other terms that Strauss and Howe have written about and color-coded them. I have taken the eras they defined and put them in chronological order with color-codes also, plus a lot more.

Some of these spreadsheets may seem incomplete. But that's because of the enormity of the work involved in producing them. The whole idea was to give people a framework to understand the theory and let them take it from there. I'm  just giving you a head start. 

So download a spreadsheet and jump into the rich world of Generational Theory. I guarantee that you will have a greater understanding of yourself and your past when you are done.

 

 

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 Excel Workbooks

 

All workbooks can be downloaded for free.  Click on the link to the workbook you would like to download and the file will automatically begin downloading. After the file has completed downloading, a window should appear  asking you where you'd like to save the file. Pick a location and click save. You can then open the file at your convenience from MS Excel. 

 

Files below are listed in following example:

"File Name" (Size)

Description of what is contained in the workbook 

 

 


    Excel Workbooks

  "Index_4thT_number_2.1" (.xls 340KB) 

 

  "Index 4th T word 3.1.doc" (640KB) (updated 12/27/2005)

 

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"Generations: Boom v. GenX" (.xls 241KB)

Spreadsheet contains the following information on:

Boomers

Generation-X

Silents

GIs

"Generations: General Data" (.xls 2.1MG)


 "Generations and Turnings" (.xls 488KB)

 

"Generations: Economy" (.xls 2.1MG) 

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  Social Movements and Secular Crisis

 

I offer some insight into the world of social behavior as viewed through the works of a Yale and Harvard grad., Neil Howe[i] and William Strauss[ii].

I’ve used their work for years for everything from marketing to predicting the markets to assisting in understanding the U.S. from a sociological view. 

I offer this writing in hope that it will give you some peace while chaos swirls amongst us. At the end of the article you’ll find a smattering of web sites if you’d like to click around for some more information or perhaps buy one of Strauss and Howe’s books.  

 

Social Movements and Secular Crisis

Strauss and Howe write that there are two types of social movements, ‘Secular crisis’[iii] and ‘Spiritual awakenings’ [iv]. We are in a secular crisis now and  that is the focus of this paper. Secular crisis is defined as, “…when society focuses on reordering the outer world of institutions and public behavior”.[v] Pertaining to the frequency of social movements, “Social movements do not arrive at random. For example, a secular crisis and a spiritual awakening never occur back to back. Nor does half a century ever pass without a social movement of either type. Instead, social movements arrive on a rather regular schedule.”[vi]

A social movement lasts about a decade. They arrive in time intervals roughly separated by two phases of life (approximately 40 to 45 years), and they alternate in type between secular and social. [vii] (For further reading of the timing of social movements in non-traditional societies like the U.S., read ‘Appendix A’, in “Generations”.)

What makes 2003 so interesting is that we are coming to the end of the birthing of the civic-minded Millennials (b.1981-2003) and the beginning of the birth of a new generation of ‘Adapitives’. The new generation is very similar to the ‘Silent’ generation, b. 1925-1942, the ‘Progressive’ generation, b. 1843-1859, the ‘Compromise’ generation, b. 1767-1791 and the earliest ‘Adaptive’ generation in U.S. history, the ‘Enlightenment’ generation, b. 1648-1673. [viii]

This year, 2003, is of massive social transition.

To understand why, we must first look at the five generational archetypes alive today and what role they play.

In 2003, there are five generations alive. The Millennials, b. 1982-2003, the 13ers (Gen-X), b. 1961-1980 [ix], The Baby Boom, b. 1943-1960, the Silent, b. 1925-1942 the G.I., b. 1901-1924 and finally the Lost, b. 1883-1900, (there were 68,000 people alive over the age of 100 in the 2000 census). [x]

Let’s look at the collective ages of the generations alive today.

Millennials – 0 to 20 (Youth)

Gen-x – 21 to 42 (Rising)

Boomers – 43 to 60 (Midlife)

Silent – 61 to 78 (Elder)

GI – 79 to 101

Lost – 102 to eldest living.

Let’s look at the definitions or the descriptors of the each of the five generations. These definitions are in very broad terms. They try to define the role each generation’s plays. Especially in the coming crisis.

Millennials – Civic, Dominant. Central role is Dependence (growing, learning, accepting, protection and nurture, avoiding, harm, acquiring, values).

Gen-x – Reactive, Recessive. Central role is Activity (working, starting families, and livelihoods, serving institutions, testing values).

Boomers – Idealist Dominant. Central role is Leadership (parenting, teaching, directing institutions, using values).

Silent – Adaptive, Recessive. Central role is Stewardship (supervising, mentoring, channeling endowments, passing on values.

GI – Civic, Dominant. (Strauss and Howe do not elaborate on the ages reached after 87.)

Lost – Reactive, Recessive. (Strauss and Howe do not elaborate on the ages reached after 87.)

Now lets take a look at some other eras in American history that mirror the time we are in at this moment, in 2003. Strauss and Howe define these eras as generational constellations. 1924, 1855, 1766 and 1664.[xi]

(For further reading on the Civil War era check the footnote. That era interrupted an entire generation. [xii])

“At all four of these moments, Americans perceived their social life to be fragmenting into centrifugal and uncontrollable wildness.” [xiii]

The above statement refers to the years, 1924, 1855, 1766,1664 and now, 2003. That quote was written in 1990. I find it amazingly accurate pertaining to the mood of the nation at this precise moment in time. Furthermore, “Looking up, 13ers will sense among the older generation an utter impracticality, an inability to see the world for what it really is.” [xiv]

As a 13er, I can state unequivocally, that statement is true. 13er’s love reality. This is one reason reality shows are so big. There core viewer is the 13er’s (Gen-X). (To read more about Gen-X, see page 313 in Generations. It’s very accurate)

This brings us to 2003.

Strauss and Howe wrote an article about the coming crisis that can be read here, http://www.lcourse.com/media/commentary/011029.html . It was written about the events of September 11th, 2001. However, I do not believe that was the crisis that Strauss and Howe were predicting in the book Generations. In Generations, they state that the crisis should take place somewhere closer to 2020.

Their research shows, with great accuracy, that these things can be predicted. I think this last year has told us that although 9/11 was tragic and changed ten’s of thousands of people’s lives; it was not similar to the past crisis’ that occurred at a secular crisis. (Please excuse the callous way this is written. I mean no disrespect to those directly affected by 9/11.) 

If you read the web page I pasted in above, you will see that things are not panning out the way ‘society is supposed to behave’ during a secular crisis. As we were all gung ho to kick the Taliban’s butt after 9-11, the mood has decisively changed as Iraq entered the picture. We are not coalescing like we should. This tells me that, unfortunately, 9/11 was not the worst to come.

Moreover, when I read the newspapers from 1923-24, I see similar things in society that are taking place today. Issues like immigration (congress practically closed the borders), and self-help (Carnegie and Peale) were at the forefront of society.  Society demanded we take away civil liberties, like booze. Today we are taking away those liberties via the ‘Patriot Act’, etc. There were scandals on Wall Street that took place in 1921-22. Over the last three years we have also seen our stock market cycle mirror 1920, 21 and 22. The S&P rubber & tire index fell about 70% and the S&P automobile index fell 70% (their NASDAQ). General Motors fell 75% (our Microsoft, Cisco and Oracle) . (For more on these statistics, visit www.hsdent.com )

“As America moves into the ensuing crisis era, long-deferred secular problems can be expected to reemerge with fearsome immediacy.” [xv]

Strauss and Howe are speaking of the beginning of or the dawn of, the crisis era. That’s now. This era is slated to last until 2025.

“Moving further ahead, perhaps halfway into the crisis era, history suggests the mood will calm somewhat.” [xvi]

This speaks of the coming bull market. As we saw in 1924-1929. Things mellowed and everything calmed down. Then it hit the fan, didn’t it.

The point being, nuclear annihilation isn’t in America’s cards. Nor is a mass germ terrorist attack. Can I state this as absolute? Of course not. I have trouble predicting where the Bonds are going in the next five minutes. However I do not stop trying to predict. It is in all of our nature. We are traders and traders try to predict the future everyday.

Strauss and Howe predict the coming crisis lasting from 2013 to 2024 in one case and in another they predict it from 2020 to 2029 saying that in either case, the early 20’s will be tough. [xvii]

There’s so much I left out. Trying to write a concise, short paper on a book and many web sites is daunting. However, I think I’ve stated the point/theory. The catastrophe is far off. Regardless of President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Pakistan, India, North Korea or ‘insert-a-name that you feel is a threat’. 


Further Reading

http://www.hsdent.com/

http://www.fourthturning.com/html/about_william_strauss.html

http://www.fourthturning.com/html/about_neil_howe.html

http://www.fourthturning.com

 


[iii] “Generations-The History of America’s Future 1584-2069” p.71

[iv] ibid., p.71.

[v] ibid., p.71.

[vi] ibid., p.71.

[vii] ibid., p.71.

[viii] All names and years referenced, “Generations” p.97 pullout.

[ix] If you’d like to know why 1961 is the beginning of Gen-X and not 1965, then you must read the book Generations. It’s to complicated to get into here. I would agree with Strauss and Howe’s theory that the Baby Boom ended in 1960 and NOT 1964 as so many have written before. I will say this though,  I was born in 1961 and I have nothing in common with the Boomers.

[xi] “Generations-The History of America’s Future 1584-2069”, p.380

[xii] ibid., p.97. (pullout)

[xiii] ibid., p.380.

[xiv] ibid., p.381.

[xv] ibid., p.381.

[xvi] ibid., p.381.

[xvii] ibid., pp.,381-382

 

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 Generation X and War

[Author’s note: This article was a manifestation of a reply I gave someone who emailed me asking questions about Generation X, wars, and Turnings theory.]

3T wars aren't as 'final' as 4T wars. The wars in the current 3T are typical of 3T history. There's no doubt that the amount of casualties compared to other 3T wars are laughable (this is a good thing). However, societies reactions to the wars were very similar. I think societies reaction to the war is what's important because it is the basis of S&H theory.

War itself may have changed. We are fighting at a distance compared to hand to hand combat. You only need to read the defense industry magazine Jane to understand just how different wars are fought now. However, the question begs to be answered, is this the way we will fight in 4Ts, 1Ts, or 2Ts, in the future? 

My forecast for the coming 4thT is as follows: If we get involved in a war, it will be fought like other 4T wars. That is, with finality. The casualties of US soldiers will mirror those of other 4T wars. The "new" way of fighting (current 3T wars) will vanish for now, but will return. Why will the casualties mirror 4Ts of the past?

American societies collective behavior hasn’t changed on a linear time line. As where technology has grown linearly, our behavior has not. To address the questions, What is the effect of this on Generation X? and What are some likely future effects? I must address the following issue:  As usual, society is overlooking one very important issue. That issue is the countless amounts of data on ‘gulf war syndrome 1991’ and ‘gulf war syndrome 2003 (GWS).

There's nothing about GWS reported in the main stream yet the affects from both wars are extremely devastating. Take a look at some of the data out there on this subject. I won’t even tell you where to look, so you don’t think I’m pushing you to a certain point of view. I will say this though; one great source for information is the source that has the most to lose—the DoD. You will be shocked. I guarantee.

 It’s very hard for me to sidestep the gulf war syndrome, when addressing What is the effect of this on Generation X?” It’s so typical of society to not give this any attention. Society pretends that it doesn’t exist. If this were a hero generation the story would be different.

 Looking to the past, society behaved exactly this way during the last 3T war, when the great plague (TGP) was sweeping the world. Society and the mainstream press put on a happy face and pretended nothing was happening; yet the Lost generation was ravaged by this plague. The Lost generation's collective age was exactly the age hit hardest by the disease. But----sshhh. Don’t say anything, it really doesn’t exist.

 There are many differences between GWS and TGP. That’s obvious. However, I’m speaking directly to one issue and that’s societies response during a 3T. 

 Therefore, the effect on GenX, regarding the low casualty rate in modern 3T wars, will be typical of GenX of yore. They will have done what society asked of them, which is to serve their country. They will have given it their all and been told how lucky they were because it’s a different era of fighting wars. Low casualties and all.

 They will be told what they’ve been told their whole collective life, “You’re lucky to be here, and if anything goes wrong, it’s your fault.” 

 The collective response of GenX will be typical GenX. They will get nothing for their effort, they’ll fade into the woodwork, and history will write them into oblivion.

-jim goulding

 

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Born GenerationX

 

What a shame I was born to a generation that will never be recognized outside it’s own cohorts. I have so much to offer and I can’t seem to get people take me seriously. How many times I have been cut off in mid sentence during my lifetime is certainly measurable mathematically. However, it is not measurable within my psyche.

The damage this has done to me has paved the way for many walls of personal protection to be erected. Once I was a trusting loving human who offered love, respect, and friendship for nothing in return. That part of me was killed long ago. Killed by  the people who labeled my openness as naïve, gullible, an easy mark, stupid, and much more.

My generation is doomed to a life of, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. We are doomed to a life of futility. The choices we make will be scorned and mocked no matter which choice is taken. Countless examples are stored in some part of my brain, still fresh, still vivid always guarded by my warrior. The protector I built to guard against any others from taking advantage of me.

I am saddened and angered at the society I live in. I am a product of generations who felt that blame was the answer to soothing their feelings. For we are the red-headed-step-child generation. Not to say that there are those within my generation who aren’t guilty of the same; far from it. They do as they are taught, they do as they are told.

The projection, passive aggression, and countless blame that lives and breeds daily in our society is out of control. The saddest thing about this fact is there is nothing to be done about it. For 99% of the population is oblivious to it.

I am a product of a generation who doesn’t rest. Who’s internal drive is always in high gear. There is only fleeting moments of rest. Of peace. I am a product of others guilt, shame, anger, and sadness. A human being cannot repeat-ably be told that they are  worthless without that person coming to believe it. All the therapy and pshycopharmacuticals cannot make it go away.

I am a product of others fear. Now I will deflect it. No longer will I allow you to blame me for your fears. They are not mine. 

jim goulding

1/13/2002

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Cuspers

[Author’s note: This article was a manifestation of a reply I gave someone who emailed me asking questions about cuspers.]

 

A cusper is a person born near a generational boundary. For example, the GI and the Silent generation’s boundary is 1924, 25. The GIs stopped being born in 1924 and the Silent began being born in 1925. If a person was born in, say, 1923, 24, 25, or 26 could they be members of the other generation? Sure they could. They were born on the fence. They are cuspers.

Many people have characteristics from both generations. What has been found with cuspers is that they usually identify with one generation or the other. To identify which generation you belong to you can ask questions. The questions would pertain to your generation as a whole. More specifically, to your wave.

A generation encounters the same national events, moods, and trends. A generation maintains a specific age location in history, throughout their lives. They basically experience things from the same age location their entire lives. History affects people differently according to their specific age location. Common age location is what gives a cohort its biography and lifestyle.

 

As Strauss and Howe write, “The same cataclysm that a 10-year-old finds terrifying a 30-year-old may find empowering, a 50-year-old calming, a 70-year-old inspiring.”

Imagine the events of 9-11 seen through the eyes of an 18-year-old Millennial, 30-year-old Xer, 50-year-old Boomer, 65-year-old Silent and a 85-year old GI.

The Millennial thinks, “I hope I don’t get drafted. But if I do, I hope my friends are with me. If they’re with me we can do this together.”

The Xer thinks, “See. We’ve been telling the boomers to wake up and focus their attention to the outer world and stop looking inward. We told you the government was a bunch of idiots, but you wouldn’t listen because you were all to busy putting us in jail for the crimes you committed, while society looked on, when you were our age. You were all to busy telling us that we must live by your values and values are what makes the human being, nothing else.

"You guys are retarded!"

A Boomer thinks, “We must talk about why everyone ‘suddenly’ hates us. Perhaps we should change our values. We need to meditate on this for a while and come to some sort of decision.” While the other half of the boomers are thinking, “These people truly do not know how to worship a God correctly, let’s teach them how, by invading their country. It’s the moral, righteous thing to do.”

The Silent think, “Oh these poor poor kids. These poor families and what about these Muslims? We need to get the UN in on this and form some committees to talk this out. We must listen to every side of the story and get some research done to recommend some ‘fair’ solutions that will help and please everyone. There’s still so much work to be done, we aren’t going anywhere.”

The GI thinks, “Now they’ll know what patriotism is all about. The ungrateful little bastards got what was a comin’ to ‘em. But, now they’ll now what it’s like to be a team and be united as one. We’ll show those towel-heads what this effin’ country is made of! Nuke ‘em all!”

Pertaining to generational waves, look at this Example:

Boomers

1st wave b.1943-1947, the “Hello babies, or Victory babies”

2nd wave b.1948-1953, the “Vietnam babies”

3rd wave b.1954-1960, the “Pro-Lifer babies”

Each wave relates to the hippy era, inward soul searching, values, mothers at home, great medical care as children, and extremely strong ties to their mothers. They relate to Vietnam, Kent State, and New ageism, abortion whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice. These are just some of the things.

Waves relate to different things also. The first wave is very new ageist, conscious revolutionaries, eats right, and draft dodgers. The second wave served the most in Nam and are probably the truest type of Boomer for many reasons that I won’t get into now. The third wavers are the fire and brimstone preachers, Christian movement, evangelical, religious types, etc. Their born-again, say mealtime grace, conversionists, and constantly fight about the old argument, science v religion.

Furthermore, the 1st wavers and the 3rd wavers are constantly at each others throats and have caused havoc on society as each tries to push it’s values on society.

What’s most telling about the difference between the first wave boomers and last wave boomers is who parented them.

I just completed a study of exactly what mother gave birth to what boomer or Xer. (See excel worksheet Generations: Boom v. GenX (Excel File))

The GI’s parented the first wave and the Silents parented the last wave. The bipolarality between the two waves makes sense when you read that last sentence.

One of the questions asked by the person who emailed me was, do you relate to the boomers because you’re a cusper?

No. I’m most definitely Generation-X. I relate to everything Gen-X. The 1961-1964 first wave Xers (the Atari wave) are a very distinct cohort. From early childhood test scores to adult arrest records. They are amazing to look at. The similarities of this wave throughout their collective lives are astounding. Furthermore, you’ll find that 90% of people interviewed, who were born 1961-1964 say they are Generation-X, not Boomers. The boundaries on some generations are clear-cut and after Strauss and Howe researched the Boom and Gen-X, it was very apparent that the two generations were very clear-cut. The 1942-43 Silent-Boomer boundary is also very clear as was 1981-1982, Gen-X/Mill.

(I won’t go into all the reason’s here.) And, there are other generational boundaries that are grey.

Someone once stated to me, “I also thought it unusual to see dominant and non-dominant alternate.” [They were commenting on the archetypes alternating between dominant and non-dominant.]

Nothing fascinates me more than this attribute. Once you think about the dynamics of it, it’s easier to understand society. Especially when you begin to identify the opposite attributes of dominant and sub-dominant generations. For instance, the two dominant generations, Prophet (Boomer) and Hero (GI/Millennials) are similar in that they share the dominant trait, however, the Hero generation concentrates on the ‘outer’ matters of life while the Prophet generations looks at the ‘inner’ matters, of life. The Hero generation is connected to their fathers, while the Prophet is connected to their mothers.

Another of the questions asked by the person who emailed me was, “Life doesn't seem that perfect - is it?” [They were commenting on generational theory, and how it wraps everything in nice little packages.]

Generational theory is very much a macro science. It assists me in understanding why this society is such a mess. It defines and wraps a nice little sane bow around the chaos. It also helps me identify societal cycles, which in turn helps me identify where the stock market is going. [That’s how I found generational theory; through stock market research.] It puts a nice framework around our history, as a nation and it makes history a heck of a lot more interesting, also.

Lastly, it really allowed me understand how, why, and who parented me (this is strictly speaking from a sociological point of view). Why my Mom and Dad chose the child-rearing methods they chose. What society was doing at the time I was growing up and how that influenced their decisions. It brought me a clear understanding of how I was parented and I came to understand my Mom and Dad a lot better.

Furthermore, it sent my respect for both of them through the roof. I truly get a sense of what it was like to walk in their shoes. Not easy to do thirty or forty years after the fact. Generational theory allowed me to step back in time and experience what they were experiencing at a very precise moment. What more could I ask for?

jim goulding

4/10/2004

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Generation of Vipers

 

[Author’s note: This article was a posting on an Internet bulletin board.]

OMG! I found the book Generation of Vipers in a used book store this weekend.

Philip Wylie wrote the book. He was one of the highest paid writers from the era the book was first published, 1942. He was quite famous I've read. But, up until I found this book, I'd never heard of him.

The book is such a great insight into a 4th Turning. This guy takes-off on everyone! He leaves no one untouched. There's no doubt that many of his rants are way overboard. What I enjoyed though was the obvious parallels with today’s society.

It's also nice to read a book from the WWII era that talks about society from a non-war perspective.

However, I warn those who search this book out, this guy had many narrow-minded opinions.

Lastly, the book I bought had notes written by the author from 1955 spread throughout the book. The publishers had him do an update to the book before the zillionth printing.

From my understanding, he also did this two more times, in 1959 and 1962. What's cool about the notes are that we, the readers, get the perspective from a 4thT and 1st T. Quite fascinating.

jim goulding

5/03/2004

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Where is society as a whole?

 

When stepping back the view presents itself very logically.

We are in what I call and what some others call "The fifth wave". (TFW)

This being the final wave. Once mankind advanced far enough to free up time that was otherwise spent on life sustaining duties, a new advancement emerged.

It is logical that once we are able to have these life sustaining duties completed for us that we would move on to a higher conscious. The brain is evolutionizing to a higher state.

"What's next," the brain asks? "There must be something more"?

Just as our fore-bearers asked themselves 500 years ago when the printing press was borne.

There was a collective conscious back then asking "How can we communicate to each other on a grander scale?"

As the railroads where being built in the mid 1800's they asked "How can we get together as a society quicker?"

As electricity become commonplace in the early 1900's we asked "How can we make our lives simpler?"

As computers and the internet are reaching the critical masses we see the same thing happening that happened with every other 500 year and 80 year society propelling invention cycle; More time is being freed up to reach the final wave.

The final wave is the search for a higher self. The search for true inner peace. The move to spirituality.

We are in the early stages, the infancy, of the fifth wave. We must see, as a society that materialism is not the answer.

We have finally, truly, freed up time. We have succeeded in something that people have been asking for since the late 1400's to early 1500's; more time.

However we are choosing to spend that time collecting material things and working for material things and material experiences. We think that these things will fill the black hole that resides in 99% of the population. It is only logical that we would try this first. It is a natural state of evolution that we should stop here, and think that this is the answer. We can only get to a higher state of being through first experiencing and understanding that materialism is not the answer.

The ruins we lay across the landscape of time, as we evolutionise, are many children and people with deep emotional problems. In my opinion, many of these children and people where born ahead of there time. Many of them are the true underlying leaders in the movement to a higher conscious, constantly reminding the other 99% that there must be something more... 

When a parent is working long hours to achieve the materialism of his neighbor and to be accepted by society as a whole, that's one thing. However when both parents are trying to achieve this materialism, there can only be one conclusion; Millions of lost and unstable emotional humans walking the planet not knowing their left from their right. Then blaming every human they come to meet in life as the culprit.

When the culprit is the only person that they psychologically can’t blame, their self!

People did not have time for emotions in society until the last couple of hundred years. The only exception would be the height of the Roman Empire, when advancements reached by the masses did allow for deeper thinking and feeling. But, this was squashed by the fall of the Roman Empire.

It makes perfect sense to me that we are exactly were we are as a society. Killing, rape, robbery, brutality, drug use, et al.

Mankind can’t cope with the freed-up-time he’s so rightly earned. 

Until we allow ourselves to just be,  there can only be one answer…..emotional chaos.

jim goulding

6/25/2001

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 Crash of 1920-21 v 2001

 

There are several different reasons for the crash in 1920-21. If you were to look in-depth  into the crash of 1920-21, you'd find dozens of explanations. All of them interconnect in someway. Most of them support whatever theory the author is trying to get across.

  The modern day white papers and books I read all had one common element. The computer industry cycle and the auto cycle are very similar. They didn't all agree on the years the cycles began and ended. Or, they differed on this or that. What I wanted was, what was the main economic impact that sent us down?

  What I found was land.

  You must look past the economic theorists to get to this conclusion also. The first inkling I got, that it was about land was actually from a book I read, about ten-years ago, by the John Robbins called “Diet for a New America”. (He’s the 'Baskin-Robins' heir. http://www.foodrevolution.org/market/products1.htm). 

  In his book he identified what it took to keep the livestock in the US running as an industry. The startling fact was, over 50% of the farming land is needed to feed the livestock. I'm not talking about the place were they roam; I'm talking about the food that needs to be raised to feed them. 50% of all farmland used to grow agri-product are used to feed the animals. This astounded me.

  However, the fact I hadn’t looked at was the land that was freed up because of the demise of the Horse. Millions and millions of acres where now open to produce food. In and around 1920, 8,000,000 horses and mules were eliminated and 25,000,000 acres of land was freed. This is directly due to the auto.

  Now, let’s add that scenario (the demise of horses as transportation) to the severe export problem the US was having due to the end of WWI and the economy cascaded into a severe, but short lived crisis.

  However, there were other problems in the US. Many people think the only reason the US economy hit the skids in 1920 was because WWI ended. What these people are saying is the economy crashed because of the loss of the export business in the US. True. Partially.

  Demand at home also dropped in a big way also. Human consumption fell-off here for a variety of reason’s.

  I would also add that the invention of the auto had another important effect on farms. That was the increased production of farm equipment because of the advances made in the engine building process and actual manufacturing productivity. (think assembly line)

  In 1787, over 95% of the population was involved in producing food supplies for the country. By 1940, it was less than 25%. Between 1850 and 1940 over 30 million people were released from the agri business due to the advancement in farming technology. But it showed it affects severely in 1920-21 because of the advances made in the auto industry. From the quicker building of the equipment and more specifically to the faster movement of food because of trucks.

Trucks were the ‘last mile’ of delivery needed to enhance the productivity of the food chain. There was now a way to get the food from the trains to the stores in highly increased speed and efficiency. This overwhelmed the market with product and agri prices crash, hence land prices crashed.

  Here’s what happened to the price of a few commodities:

Furthermore, thanks to our wonderful government, many of the farmers were in debt in a big way. The government encouraged them to buy more and more land from 1914 to 1918. The only way the farmer could afford to buy the land was to borrow. Land prices were going up rapidly at that time because Europe was demanding more and more food, due to WWI. Then, when the US entered the war in 1917, prices went up even further. More people bought at these ridiculous levels. By 1921, the farmers had nowhere to sell their food because of the facts I spoke of earlier.

Big farming businesses came in and bought up huge amounts of foreclosed farms during this period. This is evident from the size of the average farm in the US during this period. In 1920, the average size was 138 acres. By 1940 it was 190 and that was in the south, where there were numerous small cotton farms. If you look at the grain belt the size went from 190 to 258.

The number of farm owners fell drastically also. From 1910-1920 there was an increase of 87,000 farms. 1920-1930 a DECREASE of 159,000 and 1930-1940 another DECREASE of 192,000.

The crisis was not immediately evident after WWI. Europe still imported large amounts of food. This can be seen in the export figures from 1914-1920. They are pretty evenly spread throughout the years: Meat, $143mm to $353mm; Wheat, $88mm to $298mm and Cotton, $537mm to $767mm.

Europe needed these products to rebuild immediately after the war. There was a scarcity of these products in Europe, hence prices went up further after the war concluded. The increase in prices paid for food translated into the farmers in the US getting more money for their product. No one thought it would end. You can almost here them trying to rationalize paying higher and higher prices for land back in the US. “The war ended and Europe is still buying! It wasn’t the war that made the grain prices go up! This will continue forever!”

But the advancements in technology, particularly due to the auto industry set everything in motion. The market for grain products crashed. Land prices with it. But, how did we recover?

The farming industry had three distinct phases in the US.

By 1922, with the massive decline in internal buying of farm products and exports of agri products a new outlet was needed for the agri products and it was found. This is one factor for the recover, the other being the rise of the auto from 50% US household penetration in 1921 to 90% by 1928.

The new industry that agri products found was the chemical industry. Cereal grain found its way to the textile industry for sizing and finishing. Corn found starch, alcohol, glucose, and wallboard. Soybeans found the auto industry in huge amounts. Also, soybeans went to adhesives, plastics, paint, and varnish. From animal carcass came leather, glue and gelatin, soap, greases, glycerin and fertilizers. Skim milk became a hot item for preparation of wallpaper, paints, glue, and karolith was used in making combs, brushes, and buttons.

Flax found its way to carpets and cotton into the exploding clothing industry. Cotton also began being used in the making of cordage, auto tires, explosives, bags, paper, and stuffing. There’s more, but I think you get the point.

In conclusion, it is obvious that if we look into the 1920-21 crash in-depth a pattern emerges that shows the auto as the main cause of crisis.

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  Invention Cycles and Generational Theory

 I'm always trying to predict the future. The two best indicators I've found over the last 20 years have to do with society, not economics.

My studies have led me to three authors. Two of the authors write together, Strauss and Howe. Both are generational theorists. HS Dent is an economic theorist, who basically says spending waves lead the market.

The cycles that these three men have written about are undeniable. They happen with quite regularity. Lets take a look at our current situation, August 2003, and see what these authors have to say. Strauss and Howe are predicting a ‘4th Turning’. A 4th Turning can also be described simply as ‘Winter’ (as opposed to spring, summer etc.)

Winter is not good for society. It's crisis time. The kicker is, that their generational theory names four basic generations that are reborn every 80 years or so. When the 4 generations line up in a certain age order, all hell brakes loose. Those 4 generations just lined up again, this year.[2003]

About 5 to 6 years after they line up, the spark is lit. That would put us at 2008/09. This crisis would be the 7th in Anglo-American history beginning with The War of the Roses (1459-1487). The last crisis was 1929-1945.

HS Dent writes that the peak spending years of the boomers (archetype is Idealist) and first wave Gen-Xers peaks in 2008. (Gen-Xer's archetype is Nomad. Strauss & Howe also call this generation the 13ers)

HS Dent also writes about invention cycles. He states that we are currently in a 500-year cycle (printing press) and 80-year cycle (auto). In modern times, the transistor is the 500 year cycle and the Computer is the 80 year cycle. What’s important is this; the computer and the Internet reach 90% US household penetration is 2008. 90% penetration is never a good thing for the economy. Last major invention to do this was the auto. It reached 90% penetration in 1928. (Cell phones and broadband also hit 90% in 2008).

I see the catastrophe happening in Oct of 2009. I see two scenarios. First, there will be a stock break (DJIA) from 35k to 17k. It’ll happen much like 1929. Back then it happened over a 10-week period, September 10th to mid-November. The FED will encourage the US Government to devalue the dollar, for a number of reason’s. [I am not going to go into them here.]

Second scenario is the Muslim oil countries pull the trigger and switch from the US Dollar to the Euro, for oil payments. That would bring us down overnight and the economic crisis would me much more severe than a stock crash.

Please visit HS Dent at www.hsdent.com and Strauss and Howe at www.lifecourse.com and www.fourthturning.com

 

Generational Theory; Putting History in Context

 

The study of Generational Theory has helped me put life in America in context. The past was once a bunch of jumbled dates with figures of history intertwined. Trying to make sense of the past was all but impossible with out having some way to put it in context.

When I was sitting in history class, teachers tried to convey the importance of a historical figure or a date in our past. The textbooks named the people and the dates with unending repetitiveness but it was all so bland. It’s as if history was being taught from a very minute perspective. Students would open their books to the assigned chapter and read about the Civil War. I’d remember that it took place from 1860-1865. President Lincoln was there and the slaves were there. A General here and a Rebel there. From my perspective I couldn’t put it into context.

Once I discovered Generational Theory, I was able to truly step into the shoes of many of our historical figures. Generational Theory links all of us together. It weaves a basic strand back in time that connects all of us with similarities that are very simple to understand.

It wasn’t just Generational Theory itself that accomplished this. It was the two men that I came to know as the greatest generational theorists of our day. They grouped everyone into 18 generations and 4 archetypes. The archetypes are born in order, Hero, Nomad, Idealist, and Artist. The 18 generations stretch back to the first settlers in America. Nobody had done this kind of work until William Strauss and Neil Howe.

They paint a big picture of American history that is easy to understand and gives explanations for events that make better sense than our old history textbooks.

Their Generational Theory is a framework that you can place dates and people into, with simplicity. Furthermore, you’ll become connected to figures in the past that you never knew possible. When you become familiar with the four archetypes, you suddenly find that you have much in common with some of the greatest people of our past. This is due to the fact that you are also one of these archetypes and share common behavioral patterns with many people from out past.

The spreadsheets on my generation’s page are a way for you to see the theory in pictures. I’ve taken the archetypes and other terms that Strauss and Howe have written about and color-coded them. I have taken the eras they defined and put them in chronological order with color codes also, plus a lot more.

So download a spreadsheet and jump into the rich world of Generational Theory. I guarantee that you will have a greater understanding of yourself and your past when you are done.

jim goulding

9/19/2003

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Generation X in the Work Force

Understanding Traders Through Generational Theory

 

The highest percentage of traders are currently all from one generation. Every trader from 22 - 43 years old are from Generation-X.

Understanding this generation is vital to contributing to a trader's success.

I’ve studied generational theory for over nine years and have written a book  about it based on the work of two of the leading generational experts in the country.

Neil Howe and William Strauss have compiled a huge body of work on generational theory. Neil Howe is a graduate of Yale with degrees in history and economics. William Straus is a graduate of Harvard, with degrees in law, economics, and public policy. (Their main web site is http://www.lifecourse.com)

I have met Neil personally and can say, with great confidence, that he truly believes in what he writes. His passion for his work is contagious. In my conversations with him I have come to the conclusion that he is nothing short of brilliant.

Strauss and Howe’s work is extremely well researched and detailed. In their first book, Generations; The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069 (Generations) they were the first generational theorists to write about, and group every living generation in American history. What they discovered were cycles in our country’s history that explain many of our past events, both good and bad. However, it’s what they were able to tell us about the future that makes Generations so fascinating. Generations was written in 1991 and many of the events foretold have come true, with startling accuracy.

In S&H’s 1997 book, The Fourth Turning, they explore, in great detail, the coming crisis era they call ‘Winter’. Many of the predictions in The Fourth Turning have already come true, also.

Furthermore, Strauss and Howe’s book on the Millennial generation, released in 2000, is a phenomenal look into the next generation that is just beginning to enter the work force.

Their Generational Theory is a framework that you can use to place dates and people, with simplicity. Furthermore you will become connected to figures in the past that you never knew possible. When you become familiar with the four archetypes, you suddenly find that you have much in common with some of the greatest people of our past. This is due to the fact that you are one of these archetypes and you share common behavioral patterns with many people from out past.

To understand the generation that makes up the bulk of the trading workforce we will look at Generation-X (called the ‘13th Gen’ by Strauss and Howe, because they are America’s 13th born generation. Strauss and Howe’s wrote a book specifically about Gen-X called, 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail? )

However, many of us do not have the time to read a book. I’m lucky enough to have  electronic copies of ‘Generations’ and ‘The Fourth Turning’. I’m grateful that Neil Howe passed them along to me so I could index both books. Much of what’s covered in 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail? is also covered in ‘Generations’ and ‘The Fourth Turning’, so I’ll be quoting from the last two.

Let’s begin by taking brief look at Generation-X. We need to dispel some misconceptions.

Generation-X is a much bigger generation than they have been portrayed in the main-stream-media. Strauss and Howe have unequivocally proved this point in their work. [Further Reading: Chapter 3, Generations, “Belonging to a Generation”]

Generation-X is not dumb, or lazy, as the press and numerous authors have tried to portray them. Again, Strauss and Howe have proven this point in all of their books. I’ll be covering these points later. But here’s a few quick facts about Gen-X that were predicted in the books, Generations (1990), and Fourth Turning (1997). If you don’t have time to read this paper, then read these facts. You’ll have a much better understanding of Gen-X if you do. (All these facts have come true and have easily been proved through research. I will not be citing anything do to time constraints.)

[And, these facts from the book Generations...]

THIRTEENER FACTS:

* Parental divorce has struck 13ers much harder than any other American generation.  In the early 1960s, two-thirds of all adults said parents in bad marriages should stay together for the sake of the children.  By the late 1970s, two-thirds said the opposite.  A 13er born in 1968 faced three times the risk of parental divorce as a Boomer born in 1948.  From 1970 to 1980, the proportion of children living with one parent rose by two-thirds.  Four-fifths of divorced adults professed to being happier afterwards, but a majority of their children felt otherwise.
 

* No other American generation has ever grown up in families of such complexity.  In 1980, just 56 percent of all dependent children lived with two once-married parents, another 14 percent with at least one previously-married parent, 11 percent with a step-parent, and 19 with one parent.  One in five had half-siblings.  The likelihood of children receiving support payments from the noncustodial parent declined from the Boomer to 13er childhood eras.
 

* No other child generation has witnessed such a dramatic increase in domestic dissatisfaction (and surge to the workplace) on the part of mothers.  Between 1960 and 1980, among mothers with children aged five or under, the proportion with full- or part-time jobs rose from 20 to 47 percent.  Through the 1970s, the number of "latchkey" children under age 14 left alone afterschool roughly doubled.
 

* The 13th is the most aborted generation in American history.  In the first fifteen years after the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, the abortion rate roughly tripled.  Through the birthyears of late-wave 13ers, would-be mothers aborted one fetus in six.
 

* A sampling of teachers who taught Boomers in the mid-1960s and 13ers in the mid-1980s were asked to compare the two, in 43 measures of aptitude and achievement.  The score: Boomers 38, 13ers 4, with one tie.  The teachers scored Boomers higher in all academic skills, communications ability, and commitment to learning.  Thirteeners outscored Boomers in negotiating skills, consumer awareness, adult-interaction skills, and "defenses to prevent extreme dependency on parents or authorities."
 

* By a two-to-one majority, 13er men prefer military to civilian public service--in a sharp turnaround from the Boom youth era.  Starting when the first 13er cohort reached age 19, the armed forces began a dramatic three-year rise in the quality of new enlistees.  Thirteeners are the best-educated generation of soldiers in American history.
 

* Much like Michael J. Fox in Family Ties (the conservative kid of liberal parents), 13ers are by far the most Republican-leaning youths in the sixty-year history of age-based polling.  From Boom to 13th, the partisan tone of young voters has shifted strikingly--from roughly a ten-point Democratic advantage to a Republican edge that, in 1985, reached eighteen points (52 percent to 34 percent).  In fifteen of sixteen consecutive polls taken between 1981 and 1988, 13ers gave Ronald Reagan a higher approval rating than any other generation--except the Lost.
 

* The death rate (from all causes) for the 13ers' present age bracket has increased by 10 percent over the span of one generation, while the rate for Boom, Silent, and G.I. brackets all fell by 20 to 30 percent over the same two-decade period.  This is mainly attributable to sharp increases in youth suicides, homicides, and accidents.
 

* In 1976, the child suicide rate rose above the previous record, set in 1908 by the young Lost.  Through the 1980s, roughly five thousand children under age 18 have committed suicide each year, the largest number and proportion ever recorded for that age bracket.
 

* Already, 13ers have become the most heavily incarcerated generation in American history.  From Boom to 13th, the proportion of youths in jail rose by roughly one-third--for whites and blacks, women and men.  The average length of a sentence has risen by 12 percent during the first half-dozen years in which 13ers have entered the adult criminal justice system.  In 1990 (when 13ers attained a majority of the U.S. prison population), one in every four black men between the ages of 20 and 29 was in jail, on probation, or on parole.
 

* The decade of the 1970s brought a steep decline in the economic fortunes of children.  In the early 1960s, as first-wave 13ers were born, the over-65 age bracket showed the highest poverty rate; by the mid-1970s, the under-18 bracket was the poorest.  The distinction of occupying America's poorest age bracket passed directly from Lost to 13th, without ever touching G.I.'s, Silent, or Boom along the way.  Roughly one 13er in five now lives in poverty.  At the same time, 13ers report the most negative attitude toward welfare spending--and two-thirds believe that, if they ever end up unemployed, it's their own fault.
 

* Through the 1980s, the 13ers' economic distress has moved right up the age ladder with them.  In 1967, males in their young twenties earned 75 percent as much as older males; by 1986, that proportion had fallen to 50 percent.  Between 1973 and 1986, the inflation-adjusted mean income of households headed by persons under age 25 fell by 23 percent--for blacks, by 47 percent.
 

* Before 13ers came along, postwar sociologists generally assumed that hardening cynicism was a function of advancing age.  No longer.  In a late-1980s survey of "Cynical Americans," researchers noted the that "the biggest surprise" was how "cynicism now seems to defy the traditional partnership of youth and idealism."  Today, cynicism is "hitting hardest among young adolescents--more than half of those age 24 and under....  They think it's all bull."

_end excerpts_

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Let’s begin by laying some foundation with a look at Phases of Life (or age location), Generations, and Archetypes. I will be cutting and pasting from both books from this point forward. I will not be inserting exact reference pages, etc, due to time constraints. [Reminder note: Strauss and Howe call Generation-X, ‘the 13th Gen’]

Phases of Life (or age location):

“Biologically and socially, a full human life is divided into four phases: childhood, young adulthood, midlife, and elderhood.  Each phase of life is the same length of the others, capable of holding one generation at a time. And each is associated with a specific social role that conditions how its occupants perceive the world and act on those perceptions.”

Generations and Phases of Life:

“A generation, in turn, is the aggregate of all persons, born over roughly the span of a phase of life, who share a common location in history—and, hence, a common collective persona.  Like a person (and unlike a race, religion, or sex), a generation is mortal: Its members understand that in time they all must perish.  Hence, a generation feels the same historical urgency that individuals feel in their own lives.  This dynamic of generational aging and dying enables a society to replenish its memory and evolve over time.  Each time younger generations replace older ones in each phase of life, the composite lifecycle becomes something altogether new, fundamentally changing the entire society’s mood and behavior.”

 

“A generation is comprised of persons whose common location in history lends them a collective persona.  The span of one generation is roughly the length of a phase of life.  Generations come in four archetypes, always in the same order, whose phase-of-life positions comprise a constellation.”

“…each of today’s generations with a recurring sequence of four generational archetypes that have appeared throughout all the saecula of our history.  These four archetypes are best identified by the turning of their births:”

 

·        The Prophet archetype is born in a High, enters young adulthood in an Awakening, midlife in an Unraveling, and elderhood in a Crisis. [example Boomers]

·        The Nomad archetype is born in an Awakening, enters young adulthood in an Unraveling, midlife in a Crisis, and elderhood in a High. [example Gen-X]

·        The Hero archetype is born in an Unraveling, enters young adulthood in a Crisis, midlife in a High, and elderhood in an Awakening. [example Millennial's b 1982-2003]

·        The Artist archetype is born in a Crisis, enters young adulthood in a High, midlife in an Awakening, and elderhood in an Unraveling.” [example “Homeland Babies”. Believed to have began being born in 2003]

“History creates generations, and generations create history.  This symbiosis between life and time explains why, if one is seasonal, the other must be.

“Americans’ chronic failure to grasp the seasonality of history explains why the consensus forecasts about the national direction so often turn out so wrong.

“Back in the late 1950s, forecasters widely predicted that America’s future would be like Disney’s Tomorrowland.  The experts foresaw well-mannered youth, a wholesome culture, an end of ideology, an orderly conquest of racism and poverty, steady economic progress, plenty of social discipline, and uncontroversial Korea-like police actions abroad.  All these predictions, of course, were wildly mistaken.  It’s not just that the experts missed the particular events that lay just ahead—the Têt Offensive and Apollo 11, Watts and Kent State, Summer of Love and Watergate, Earth Day and Chappaquiddick.  It’s that they missed the entire mood of the coming era.

“Why were their predictions so wrong?  When the forecasters assumed the future would extrapolate the recent past, they expected that the next set of people in each phase of life would behave just like the current occupants.  Had they known where and how to look, the experts could have seen history-bending changes about to occur in America’s generational lineup: Each generation would age through time as surely as water runs to the sea.  Over the ensuing two decades, the current elder leaders were due to disappear, a new batch of kids to arrive, and the generations in between to transform the new phases of life they were entering.

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“This dynamic has recurred throughout American history.  Roughly every two decades (the span of one phase of life), there has arisen a new constellation of generations—a new layering of generational personas up and down the age ladder.  As this constellation has shifted, so has the national mood.  Consider what happened, from the late 1950s to the late 1970s, as one generation replaced another at each phase of life:

·        In elderhood, the cautionary individualists of the Lost Generation [Nomad, born 1884-1900] were replaced by the hubristic G.I. Generation [Hero, born 1901-1924], who launched America into an expansive era of material affluence, global power, and civic planning.

·        In midlife, the upbeat G.I.s were replaced by the helpmate Silent Generation [Artist, born 1925-1942], who applied their expertise and sensitivity to fine-tune the institutional order while mentoring the passions of youth.

·        In young adulthood, the conformist Silent were replaced by the narcissistic Boom Generation [Prophet, born 1943-1960], who asserted the primacy of self and challenged the alleged moral vacuity of the institutional order.

·        In childhood, the indulged Boomers were replaced by the neglected 13th Generation [Nomad, born 1961-1981], who were left unprotected at a time of cultural convulsion and adult self-discovery.  Known in the pop culture as “Generation X,” its name here reflects the fact that it is literally the thirteenth generation to call itself Americans.”

“…forecasters missed the target because they failed to look at lifecycle trajectories.  They failed to realize that all the generations were poised to enter new phases of life—and that, as they did, people up and down the lifecycle would think and behave differently.  In elderhood, the confident G.I.s [b1901-1924], were due to be replaced by the more hesitant Silent [b1925-1942], who would prefer a more complex, diverse, and individuated social order.  In midlife, the conciliatory Silent were ready to give way to the more judgmental Boomers,  who would enforce a confrontational ethic of moral conviction.  In young adulthood, the passionate Boomers were set to vacate for the more pragmatic 13ers, whose survivalism would be borne of necessity.  In childhood, the neglected 13ers were about to be replaced by the more treasured Millennials amid a resurgent commitment to protect and provide for small children.  As a result of all these lifecycle shifts, the national mood would change into something new.  Back in the 1970s, the experts could have envisioned what this mood would be.  How?  By looking at an earlier Awakening era with a similar generational constellation—and inquiring into what happened next.

 

“And what about today?  Forecasters are still making the same mistakes.  Best-selling books envision a post-millennial America of unrelenting individualism, social fragmentation, and weakening government—a nation becoming ever more diverse and decentralized, its citizens inhabiting a high-tech world of tightening global ties and loosening personal ones, its web sites multiplying and its culture splintering.  We hear much talk about how elder life will improve and child life deteriorate, how the rich will get richer and the poor poorer, and how today’s kids will come of age with a huge youth crime wave.

 “Don’t bet on it.  The rhythms of history suggest that none of those trends will last more than a few years into the new century.  What will come after that can be glimpsed by studying earlier Unraveling eras with similar generational constellations—and inquiring into what happened next.”

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Let’s just concentrate on Generation-X.

 “…consider the 1970s-era debate over declining Standard Aptitude Test (SAT) scores among U.S. high-school seniors.  For 17 straight years, from 1964 through 1980, the average SAT score declined.  In 1976, the federal Wirtz Commission attributed roughly half the fall to the growing share of all high-school seniors who chose to take the test and the rest to such vague "period" effects as permissiveness and less homework.  But in 1988, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) looked again at the SAT numbers and compared them with the standardized test-scores of younger students. 

“CBO researchers discovered a very close diagonal match--at all grades--between scores and birth cohorts.  In other words, the SAT trend could have been predicted, in each year, by looking at the lower-grade test scores in earlier years for each cohort.  Even as the Wirtz Commission agonized in 1976 over the SAT decline, 12-year-olds were already scoring higher than their next-elders--which (had anyone been looking) could have foretold an SAT reversal five years in the future.  Test scores in the third grade showed improvement by the early 1970s; in the sixth grade by the mid-1970s; and in junior high school by the late 1970s.  Once these same kids (the 1964-65 cohorts) reached 12th grade in 1981, SAT scores did indeed begin rising again.

“Are these SAT scores linked to any other important cohort shifts?  Let's hunt down the "generational diagonal" among a handful of age-bracketed indicators for violent crime and drunk-driving.  These indicators, of course, always show a marked life-cycle pattern--rising sharply through adolescence, peaking in the early twenties, and falling at higher ages.  If we tabulate these rates by age, however, we can control for the age effect and focus on how the rate changes, year by year, at any given age. 

“In Figure 2-1, we summarize data on average grade-school test scores (from ages 8 to 17); per-capita consumption of alcohol (17 and 18-year-old students only) and marijuana (17-year-old students only); per-capita arrest rates for arson, robbery, and assault (from ages 15 to 24); and per-capita arrest rates for drunk driving (from ages 18 to 24).  In a format we use throughout this book, we show age on the vertical axis, calendar year on the horizontal.  For each age, we mark the calendar year at which the indicator reached its negative extreme (the lowest test score or the highest rate of crime or substance abuse) since such statistics have been compiled.

“No one will have any trouble identifying the diagonal.”

 Figure 2-1:

Aptitude Tests, Substance Abuse, Violent Crimes, and Drunk Driving:
The Cohort Diagonal


   YEAR
        1970   71   72   73   74   75   76   77   78   79   80   81   82   83   84   85
                :    :    :    :    :    :    :    :    :    :    :    :    :    :    :    :
AGE

24-                                                                 B/R/S            D

23-                                                                 B/R/S  D   

22-                                                         R        B/S   D

21-                                                         R        B/S   D        

20-                                                         R        B/S   D   

19-                                                         R       B/D/S 

18-                                                   R/S   B    A    D

17-                                               B/M/R/S/T      A

16-                                          T         R    B         S

15-                                          T    B    R    S

14-                                          T   

13-                                           T   

12-                                T   

11-                           T   

10-                           T

 9-       T             

 8-       T        

       
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   KEY:            "A" =   highest per-capita alcohol consumption for that age
                        "B" =   highest per-capita robbery conviction rate for that age
                        "D" =  highest per-capita drunk-driving arrest rate for that age
                        "M" = highest per-capita marijuana consumption for age 17 only
                        "R" =  highest per-capita arson conviction rate for that age
                        "S" =  highest per-capita assault conviction rate for that age
                        "T" =  lowest average aptitude test score for that age
 

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“The portrait that emerges of the 1961-1964 cohort-group is vivid and unflattering.  Over the postwar period, at each age through 24, this group has generated all of America's lowest aptitude-test scores; the highest high school senior drug and alcohol abuse; all but one of America's highest drunk-driving rates; and most of America's highest rates for these three violent crimes.  Very likely (though detailed age-bracketed data remain unavailable), it has also generated record rates for many other social pathologies, including suicide.  Since most of the high-crime years cluster around the late 1970s and early 1980s, we might at first glance suspect that part of the story is an historical trend affecting all age groups.  Yet the behavior of older age brackets rules this out entirely.  From the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, while the rates for drunk driving, suicide, and most violent crimes were accelerating swiftly for 15-to-24-year olds, they were stabilizing or falling for all age brackets over age 35.

“By 1991, the men and women born from 1961 through 1964 have reached their late twenties.  They are no longer taking aptitude tests and have left their high-crime and high-drinking ages behind them.  We would be naive, however, to assume that the collective personality of these individuals will simply disappear as they grow older.

“Plainly, America is dealing with a troubled cohort-group.  To know why, we must again ponder age location.  Individuals born in 1962, for example, were year-old infants when Jack Kennedy was assassinated; age 5 during the "long hot summer" of urban rioting; age 7 at the time of anti-Vietnam marches, the moon landing, Chappaquiddick, and a sudden leap in divorce rates; age 13 when the Watergate trials ended and the poverty rate for youths rose steeply (just when it was plummeting for the elderly); and age 17 when Americans parked in gas lines and saw angry Iranian mobs cursing America every evening on TV.  We might reflect on what these youngsters saw in their elder brothers and sisters, heard from their teachers, or sensed from their parents.”

 

This next section is from the book Generations and specifically concentrates on the 13ers.

THIRTEENTH GENERATION

Born: 1961-1981

Type: Reactive

Age Location:
Boom Awakening in youth

 

"In November of 1979, just after an Iranian mob had swarmed into the American Embassy in Tehran, a University of Georgia student center gave a special screening of the movie Patton.  The students gave the film a standing ovation, hanged an effigy of the Ayatollah, and then marched through the streets chanting anti-Iran slogans.  In 1979, a new breed of college freshman came to America's campuses.  Previously, faculty members had lined up to introduce themselves.  Suddenly, as a Georgetown campus minister put it, "students began lining up to introduce themselves to us."  Meet the smooth opening wedge of the THIRTEENTH GENERATION--what Washington Post writer Nancy Smith pointedly calls "the generation after.  Born after 1960, after you, after it all happened."  These were the babies of 1961, 8-year-olds of Woodstock, 13-year-olds of Watergate, 18-year-olds of energy crisis and hostage humiliation.  In 1979, just as these kids were making life-pivoting decisions about schools and careers, older generations sank into an eighteen-month abyss of national pessimism.  For Silent parents, Thinking Small was a midlife tonic.  But never having had their own chance to Think Big, the high school Class of 1979 saw this grim mood very differently.  From the Vietnam hysteria to Nixon's 1973 Christmas without lights, from Watergate to Three Mile Island--at every turn, these kids sensed that adults were simply not in control of themselves or the world.  Annual polls of high-school seniors show that those born just after 1960 came of age much more fearful of national catastrophe than those born just before.  These early '60s babies (as we saw in Chapter 2) grew up as the kids whose test scores, and rates of crime, suicide, and substance abuse, marked a postwar low for American youth."

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"Unlike the Boomer kids-in-jeans of the 1960s, "13ers" present, to elder eyes, a splintered image of brassy sights, caustic sounds, and cool manner.  Moviegoers know them as Tom Cruise as Top Gun, breaking a few rules to win; as The Breakfast Club, a film about how teachers try to punish a hopeless and incorrigible "Brat Pack" of teenagers; as Steven Soderbergh's sex, lies, and videotape; and as Rob Lowe playing the ultimate Bad Influence.  In city life, they have become America's kamikazi bicycle messengers, speeding Domino's and Federal Express drivers, murderous inner-city "crack" gangs, computer hackers, and would-be novelists--guys who, as John Schwartz (author of Bicycle Days) puts it, like to "live a little faster."  In high schools, 13ers are Asian-American valedictorians and Westinghouse science finalists, more than half of them immigrants or the children of immigrants.  Fresh from college, they are the Yale class of 1986, 40 percent of whom applied for investment banking jobs with the First Boston Company--the lucky ones becoming the dealmakers who "age like dogs" in Michael Lewis' game of Liar's Poker.  In athletics, they are young Olympians leading chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!", or "Air Jordan" and "Neon Deion" Sanders with their "in-your-face" slam dunks and end-zone spikes, or one-armed Jim Abbott winning against impossible odds.  In the army, 13ers are the invaders of Panama, whose boomboxes may have helped persuade Manuel Noriega to surrender--one of whom said, on receiving a warm goodbye from the Panamanians, "to them it's everything, to us it's just a battle.""

 

"Older generations see them as frenetic, physical, slippery.  Like the Public Enemy rap group, 13ers can appear shocking on the outside, unknowable on the inside.  Elders find it hard to suppress feelings of disappointment over how they are turning out--dismissing them as a "lost," "ruined," even "wasted" generation in an unrelenting (and mostly unanswered) flurry of what Ellen Goodman has termed "youth-bashing."  Under the headline "Hopes of a Gilded Age: Class of 1987 Bypasses Social Activism to Aim for Million-Dollar Dreams of Life," a Washington Post article complained how "the fiery concerns of many of their predecessors over peace and social justice are mementos from a dimming past."  People magazine has coined the phrase "Rettonization of America" to describe how young stars now sell their names and reputations to the highest bidder.  Boomers are shocked by the 13er chemical-of-choice (steroids, which augment the body and dim the mind, just the opposite of Boom-era psychedelics.)  Soft-drink commercials do not show 13ers chanting and swaying on some verdant hillside, but instead careening (like Michael J. Fox for Pepsi) through some hell-house and winding up on a pile of junk.  "What he needs," said a recent Ad Council caption of a confused-looking teenager, "is a good swift kick in the pants."  "This is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night," says one Boomer teacher in The Breakfast Club, "that when I get older, these kids are gonna take care of me."  "Don't hold your breath," answers another."

 

"Every year through the 1980s, new reports of their academic scores have triggered harsh elder assessments of their schooling and intelligence.  The barrage began in 1983 when A Nation at Risk despaired of a "rising tide of mediocrity" emerging from America's schools.  Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind declared the 13ers' minds quite closed, and Diane Ravitch and Chester Finn's What Do Seventeen-Year-Olds Know? answered their own question by saying, in effect, not much.  And "just when you think America's students can't get any dumber," reported Jack Anderson in 1989, out comes another book like Steve Allen's Dumbth, or another critical report (like Worlds of Difference) putting 13ers on the bottom of the global heap.  Right or wrong, and whatever the purposes of these critiques, their message to 13ers and their would-be employers is clear: 13ers got an inferior education and are equipped with inferior skills--that they are (to quote one Boomer college president) "junky.""

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"Thirteeners find these criticisms overblown.  They look upon themselves as pragmatic, quick, sharp-eyed, able to step outside themselves to understand the game of life as it really gets played.  And whatever they are, 13ers insist, they have to be.  Because of the way they were raised.  Because of the world into which they are coming of age. Older critics seldom acknowledge the odd twists that have so far plagued the 13er lifecycle.  In the early 1970s, Norman Lear produced All in the Family-style television shows that bred child cynicism about the competence of the adult world--then, in the late 1980s, Lear's "People for the American Way" whipsawed the grown-up kids thus nurtured with a stinging report rebuking their "apathy and disengagement from the political process."  When 13ers were entering school, gurus (like Charles Rathbone) said there was no single body of knowledge they needed to learn, so their schools didn't teach it--then, upon finishing school, they heard new gurus (like E. D. Hirsch, in Cultural Literacy) say yes, there was such knowledge, and they hadn't learned it.  Thirteeners were told, as Rathbone (and many others) had urged, to be "self-reliant, independent, self-actualizing individuals."  So they learned to watch adults carefully and emulate how they behave--finally becoming, like Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon, the kind of kids adults have a hard time finding adorable."

"Imagine coming to a beach at the very end of a long summer of big crowds and wild goings-on.  The beach bunch is sunburnt, the sand shopworn, hot, and full of debris--no place for walking barefoot.  You step on a bottle, and some cop cites you for littering.  That's exactly how 13ers feel, following the Boom.  Like River Phoenix in the film Running on Empty, first-wave 13ers have had to cope and survive in whatever territory Boomers left behind, at each phase of life.  Their early access to self-expression and independence stripped them of much of the pleasure of discovery and rebellion--leaving them, in Brett Easton Ellis' words, "looking up from the asphalt and being blinded by the sun."  By the time Ellis' peers came of age, the symbolic meanings--of sex, drugs, student rights, whatever--had all faded.  What they found, instead, were the harsh realities of social pathology.  One by one, 13ers have slowed or reversed these trends--the SAT decline, the youth crime, the substance abuse, the early sex--but they have felt the full brunt of them, and they have all borne the ensuing adult criticism."

 "Thirteeners, not Boomers, were America's true "children of the 1960s."  And, especially, the 1970s.  An awakening era that seemed euphoric to young adults was, to them, a nightmare of self-immersed parents, disintegrating homes, schools with conflicting missions, confused leaders, a culture shifting from G- to R-ratings, new public-health dangers, and a "Me Decade" economy that tipped toward the organized old and away from the voiceless young.  "Grow up fast" was the adult message.  That they did, graduating early to "young adult" realism in literature and film, and turning into what American Demographics magazine has termed "proto-adults" in their early teens (where, two decades earlier, Boomers had lingered in "post-adolescence" well into their twenties)." 

 "At every phase of life, 13ers have encountered a world of more punishing consequence than anything their Silent or Boom elders ever knew.  Consider the 13ers' matter-of-fact approach to sexuality, yet another trait that has brought adult complaint.  First-wave 13ers were just coming of sexual age when adults were emitting highly-charged sexual signals in all directions.  At the time, sex education was unabashedly value-neutral, empty houses provided easy trysting spots, and the 13ers' parents were, like Ellen Goodman, "equally uncomfortable with notions that sex is evil and sex is groovy."  With the adult world having removed attitudinal barriers against promiscuous sex, 13ers have begun re-erecting age-old defense mechanisms: platonic relationships, group dating, and a youth culture (reminiscent of Lost-era street life) in which kids watch out for the physical integrity of their own circle of friends.  The 13er attitude, as Redlands College's Kim Blum puts it, is that "the sexual revolution is over, and everybody lost."

"The 13er lifecycle experience has, so far, been the direct inverse of the Silent.  Where the Silent passed through childhood in an era of parental suffocation and entered young adulthood just as barriers to youth freedom began to loosen, 13ers have faced exactly the opposite trends.  Where the Silent had grown up with a childlike awe of powerful elders, 13ers acquired an adult-like fatalism about the weakness and uncertainty of elders--and questioned their ability to protect them from future danger.  When the first Silent were children, America was in the skids of depression--but, by their twentieth birthday, public confidence was vast and rising.  When the first 13ers were born, America was riding high and G.I. leaders seemed to be achieving everything at once--but then, as they reached adolescence, the nation mired itself in doubt."

 

Confronted with these youthful facts-of-life, 13ers have built a powerful survival instinct, wrapped around an ethos of personal determinism.  In the 13er world, what a person is, what he looks like, and whether or not he succeeds depends less on what a person is inside than on how he behaves.  Thirteeners are constantly told that whatever bad things strike people their age--from AIDS to drug addiction, from suicides to homicides--are mainly their fault.  In this sort of youth environment, staying alert to the physical is an assertion of virtue.  Unlike Boomers at like age, a low-income 13er probably comes from a world of splintered families and general hopelessness--and has little in common with some "Richie Rich" out in the suburbs.  And so kids feel obliged to dress up (at an age when most Boomers dressed down) to preserve self-esteem in a world of success-fixated peers.

"Doing what they feel they must, knowing it brings adult criticism, 13ers have come to accept, even to take a perverse fun, in what a young rapper would call "Attitude," in being "BAAAAD."  They tend to agree with their elders that, probably, they are a wasted bunch.  From the standpoint of an individual 13er, weak peer competition isn't such bad news.  Their own cultural artifacts make half-comic reference to their own garbagy quality.  Chris Kreski, the 26-year-old lead writer for Remote Control, a 13er-designed TV quiz-show parody, admits his show is "stupid."  (In 13er lingo, words like "stupid," "bad," "random," and "radical" are words of praise.)  The Bon Jovi song You Give Love a Bad Name became an instant hit among the teens of the 1980s.  In River's Edge, a film evoking how many 13ers look at life, one teenager mockingly says to his buddies "You young people are a disgrace to all living things, to plants even. You shouldn't even be seen in the same room as a cactus."" 

"As they struggle to preserve what optimism and self-esteem they can, 13ers have developed what psychologist David Elkind calls the "patchwork self."  Two decades ago, older generations saw national purpose in youth.  Not now--not these youths, anyway.  As first-wavers [1961-1964] find themselves elbowed aside by Boomers seemingly at every turn, last-wavers [1974-1981] lock their radar onto Nintendo and join the Spurtlegurgles in singing the lyric of a missionless childhood: "We're here because we're here because we're here because we're here."  Lacking the ego-strength to try to set agendas for others, they instead react to the world as they find it.  They're proud of their ability to poke through the hype and the detail, to understand older people far better than they are understood themselves.  They take some solace in the privacy that affords them.  In general, they like but don't respect the Silent, and respect but don't like the Boom.  Some day, some way, they'd love to get those Boomers on life's equivalent of Remote Control, swivel their yuppie chairs around, and dump them in a vat of greenish goo."

"My generation was born on Friday the Thirteenth," insists Bowdoin College's Gregg Linburg.  "That's a day you can view two ways.  You can fear it, or you can face it--and try to make it a great day in spite of the label.  That's what my generation is going to do."  Counting back to the Awakeners, Linburg's peers are, point of fact, the thirteenth to call themselves American citizens.  Demographers have so far given them a name at once incorrect and insulting: "baby busters."  Population is not the issue: Thirteeners outnumber Boomers by five million in 1990, a gap widening by the year, and their first-wave (1961-1964) cohorts are among the biggest ever.  "Baby bust" theorists see in the name some new youth advantage in a world of easing youth competition--but try telling that to collegians born in the smallish late-1960s cohorts.  If demographics were key, college would be a buyer's market right about now.  Instead, tuitions keep rising above inflation, and the proportion of applicants getting into their first choice is falling.  Yet the worst aspect of this "bust" nomer, and why 13ers resent it, is how it plants today's 25-year-olds squarely where they don't want to be: in the shadow of the "boom," and negatively so--as though wonder has been followed by disappointment." 

"To a generation uninterested in labels, we assign a number: 13.  The tag is a little Halloweenish, like the clothes they wear--and slippery, like their culture.  It's a name the 13ers can see as a gauntlet, a challenge, an obstacle to be overcome.  The thirteenth card can be the ace, face down, in a game of high-stakes blackjack.  Kings and queens, with their pompous poses and fancy curlycues, always lose to the uncluttered ace, going over or going under.  The ace--like this generation--is nothing subtle, but it's nice to have a few around when you're in a jam."

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THE THIRTEENER LIFECYCLE:

"YOUTH: The years of the "Consciousness Revolution" were among the most virulently anti-child periods in American history, producing a childhood world Tom Cruise recalls as "kind of scattered."  Sacrificing one's own career or conjugal happiness became passe--even, by the logic of the era, bad for kids themselves.  As the 1960s wore on, Silent mothers and fathers increasingly looked at their children as hindrances to self-exploration.  By the 1970s, they cast an envious eye at young Boomers--who then mainly looked upon babies like headaches, things you take pills not to have.  Adults ranked autos ahead of children as necessary for "the good life," and the cost of raising a child (never much at issue when Boomers were born) became a hot topic.  A flurry of popular books chronicled the resentment, despair, and physical discomfort women were said to endure when bearing and raising 13er children." 

"In Ourselves and Our Children (whose priorities revealed themselves in the juxtaposition of its title), "consider yourself" was ranked ahead of "benefiting our children" as a principle of sound parenting.  Popular parental guides emphasized why-to-dos over what-to-dos, concluding that doing the right thing was less important than parent and child each feeling the right thing.  To accomplish that, authors like Thomas Gordon (in Parental Effectiveness Training) advised parents to teach children to understand behavioral consequences at very young ages.  Popular books by T. Berry Brazelton and Burton White stressed the determinism of the early childhood years, suggesting a child's lifetime personality might be substantially sealed by the time he entered school.  As Marie Winn would later note, "early-childhood determinism appeared to be a gift from gods" for parents with new wanderlust or careerism who could thereby conclude that their six- or ten-year-old children could cope with family trauma well enough, given how carefully they had been tended as tots."

"Divorce, and its attendant confusion and impoverishment, became the central fear of the 13er childhood world.  In It's Not the End of the World, Judy Blume offered children the tale of a once-happy family disintegrating amidst shouting, slapping, and crying.  Hearing these messages, even kids in stable families felt vulnerable and reacted by hardening their shells against adversity.  While parents tried to persuade themselves (like Kyle Pruett in The Nurturing Father: Journey Toward the Complete Man) that family dissolution "freed" parent and child to have "better" and "less constricted" time together, these kids saw things differently.  (Asked about his own divorced dad, Breakfast Club actor Anthony Michael Hall said: "No comment, but yes, he lives.")  Thirteeners knew that where Boomers had been once worth the parental sacrifice of prolonging an unhappy marriage, they were not.  Coping with the debris, America's 1970s-era children went from a family culture of My Three Sons to one of My Two Dads, encountering step-thises, half-thats, significant-others, and strangers at the breakfast table beyond what any other child generation ever knew.  In Norma Klein's It's OK If You Don't Love Me, a child could ponder the fate of an adolescent girl who juggled a sex life with two boyfriends while sorting through a relationship with her mother's lover, her mother's former second husband, and her father's second wife and their two children."

"In homes, schools, and courtrooms, America's style of nurturing children completed a two-decade passage from Father Knows Best to the tone of self-doubt in Bill Cosby's Fatherhood: "Was I making a mistake now?  If so, it would just be mistake number nine thousand, seven hundred, and sixty-three."  Alvin Poussaint noted the dominant media image of the parent as "pal," who was "always understanding; they never get very angry.  There are no boundaries or limits set.  Parents are shown as bungling, not in charge, floundering as much as the children."  This was not inadvertent.  Parents who admit to being "many-dimensioned, imperfect human beings," reassured the authors of Ourselves and Our Children, "are able to give children a more realistic picture of what being a person is all about."  On the one hand, Silent parents were, like Cosby's Cliff Huxtable, gentle and communicative; on the other hand, they expressed ambivalence where children sought clear moral answers, abandoned a positive vision of the future, and required children to respond very young to sophisticated real-world problems.  Like father and son in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, adults became more childlike and children more adultlike."

"Through the 1970s, the media reinforced the growing view among children that adults were not especially virtuous, competent, or powerful.  Adult life held no secrets.  From TV sit-coms to "breakthrough" youth books, older generations made little effort to shield children from any topic, no matter what the effect on a child's sense of security and comfort.  "I hate the idea that you should always protect children," wrote Judy Blume, in defense of her books.  "They live in the same world we do."  Mad magazine's Al Feldstein put it more bluntly: "We told them there's a lot of garbage out in the world and you've got to be aware of it.  One "Self-Care Guide" for latchkey children advised kids of "ways you can protect yourself from mugging and assault: Always pay attention to what is happening around you when you are on the street."  And so 13ers were deliberately encouraged to react to life as you would hack through a jungle: keep your eyes open, expect the worst, and handle it on your own."

"APPROACHING RISING ADULTHOOD: Even as first-wavers reach their late twenties, this generation cannot be said to have "come of age."  Nothing yet cements them as a generation.  To date, the 13th remains a splintery generation; people can (and do) find almost anything they want in these kids.  Far more than older generations, 13ers come with myriads of regional subgroups and ethnic minicultures, each thinking its own thoughts, listening to its own music, laying its own plans, and paying little heed to each other.  Yet the first signs of bonding are beginning to appear--a common alienation visible in 13er art and writing, and in their growing awareness of their own economic vulnerability."

"Through the last two decades, 13ers have been suffering what amounts to a one-generation depression.  In inner-cities, this 13er impoverishment has caused adult alarm; elsewhere, it has been less noticed, thanks to a veneer of family-subsidized teen affluence.  Even in the suburbs, 13ers entering the labor force are bearing much of their nation's new burden of foreign competition and debt.  In industries where productivity is stagnant, two-tier wage systems hold elders harmless while making the new hires pay.  Where high interest rates bid up the price of real estate, current homeowners profit, but would-be young homebuyers pay.  Even as the 1980s-era spurt of tax reform lowered the tax rate on high-bracket incomes, FICA taxes on after-school wages kept going up.  Spurred by real economic need, youths are working younger and longer (and at more dangerous jobs) than any child generation since the Lost.  They are having to evaluate their college and graduate-school plans in a colder, less sentimental light than the Silent or Boom ever did.  After leaving school, they often find themselves doing the low-wage counter, delivery, and cleaning jobs Boomers have always found demeaning.  In most professions--law, medicine, business, the media--13ers are encountering far less promising (or stretched out) promotion paths than the Boom knew at like age, and a smaller likelihood of ever getting a second chance if they fail the first time.

So far, they have concealed their plight thanks to the distinctly 13er habit of calling as little attention as possible to what they are feeling.  In life, as when they walk down the street with their "walkmen" and designer shades, they know how to keep others from knowing what they're hearing, watching, or thinking.  They leave their troubles behind when they come to work--and take their minds off the job when they leave.  Ask them how they're doing, and as long as life stays reasonably patched together, "no problem" is their answer.  Thirteeners have learned to adjust by moving quickly into and (when they see a dead-end) out of jobs.  They look for quick strikes ahead of long-term promises, the Wall Street Journal describing them as "more willing to gamble their careers than... earlier generations."  While some hit it big, most don't.  And those who don't run smack into their deterministic ethos--that failure means something must be wrong with you.  A rising number are masking their economic problems by "boomeranging" back into the parental house after a few years of trying to make it on their own. 

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Having no place to "boomerang" to, inner-city 13ers inhabit an especially grim world that does not like them, does not want them, and (as they see it) has nothing to offer them.  "There's a growing malaise that young people suffer from," observes Victor Herbert, director of New York City high schools. "They feel they're not to be trusted, they're not good people, and they don't have to follow whatever inhibitions have been built up, especially when they're moving in a crowd."  Urban kids have begun reacting with a Clockwork-Orange nihilism that older generations consider proof of their worthless ruin.  A new, reactionary style of sexism, racism, and soulless violence has seeped into 13er-penned song lyrics.  As "Ice Cube" raps about "bitches," young thugs commit what elders call "hate crimes" targeted against gays, women, and high-achieving ethnic groups.  A new breed of young criminal shows a remorseless bent toward killing and maiming for material profit--or just for fun.  Prizefighter Mike Tyson has admitted to having "shot at a lot of people....  I liked to see them run.  I liked to see them beg."  Where Boomer youths who assaulted Silent victims were said to have mitigating reasons for their antisocial behavior, 13ers who attack Boomer victims (as in the Bernhard Goetz and the Central Park "wilding" case) are condemned, in the Boom-led media, as "evil" thugs deserving only of execution or, at best, a stiff term in some boot-camp prison.  Back in the late 1960s, Boomer crime was associated with rage and betrayed expectations; today, the young 13er criminal strikes elders as emotionally detached--even insensible.

 

"We can arrest them, but jail is no deterrent," reports Washington Long, Chief of Police in Albany, Georgia.  "I've had kids tell me 'Hell, I ain't got nowhere else to go no how.'"  "For them, it's just a matter of fact," agrees Washington D.C.'s Police Chief, Isaac Fulwood.  "Often times, they don't say anything.  They just sit there and say 'Officer, do what you gotta do.'"  As Terry Williams describes it in Cocaine Kids, what is new about 13er criminals is their all-business attitude: their use of calculated violence to protect inventory (smugglers), market share (competing gangs), customer service (safe houses), accounts receivable (addicts), employee relations (runners), and risk management (cops).  A young drug-runner, says Chief Fulwood, "navigates in a world where most of us couldn't function, a world where you've got to be cunning, slick, and mentally and physically tough."  And, of course, a world in which other choices seem even more hopeless.  "I got no plans I ain't going nowhere," sings Tracy Chapman, "So take your fast car and keep on driving." 

 

"When you get beneath the surface of their cheerfulness," observes Christopher Lasch, "young people in the suburbs are just as hopeless as those in the ghetto... living in a state of almost unbearable, though mostly inarticulate, agony.  They experience the world only as a source of pleasure and pain."  Like a whole generation of Breakfast Clubbers, 13ers face a Boom-driven culture quick to punish them but slow to take the time to find out what's really going on their lives.  By one count, the 13th generation has included a half-million family "throwaways"--a word coined just for them.  While they blast their ears with boomboxes and "Boom" cars, 13ers know what they're doing.  "They tell me it will hurt me down the line," said one 20-year-old Ohioan with a $35,000 sound system in his car, "but I don't care.  I'm young and stupid, I guess."  Thirteeners know life holds no special favors, for them at least.  "I keep hearing this is the best time of our lives," says Harvard student Mandy Silber.  "And I wonder--is it all downhill?"  Where the Silent and Boom at like age had every reason to expect someday to nestle into law partnerships, tenured professorships, and seats on the stock exchange, 13ers see very clearly the dead-end traps of a "McJobs" economy.  American Demographics predicts that the five fastest-growing job fields of the early 1990s will be cashiers, nurses, janitors and maids, waiters and waitresses, and truck drivers.  Anytime they see others celebrate, 13ers watch their wallets--believing, as in the Bangles lyric, "Trouble is, you can't believe that it's true/ When the sun goes down, there's something left for you."

"In Less than Zero, an Ellis novel touted by its publisher as heralding a "New Lost" generation, two 13ers have this exchange:  "Where are we going?"  "I don't know, just driving."  "But this road doesn't go anywhere."  "That doesn't matter."  "What does?"  "Just that we're on it, dude."  Hemingway and Fitzgerald would have liked these kids, so open-eyed behind those Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses.  "Pre-war," Scotty would have called them.  Not yet lost, but traveling down that road."

*     *     *

"Late in 1989, as East German students poured over the Berlin Wall, a Washington Post article described high school kids as "left flat" and "utterly unmoved" by events that brought their teachers tears of joy.  The youth attitude that strikes elders as blase is, from the 13er perspective, sharp-eyed and real.  They have already tramped through the dirty beach where idealism can lead.  Remembering how the "freedom" of open classrooms produced noisy chaos and gave them what others constantly tell them was a bad education, 13ers have learned to be skeptical about what happens whenever barriers are broken down.  Maybe there will be new wars, maybe bad economic news--at the very least new competition.  Amidst his Silent peers' euphoria over the dismantling of the Iron Curtain, pollster Peter Hart published a highly critical report about "Democracy's Next Generation," noting that only 12 percent of 13ers mentioned voting as an attribute of good citizenship.  Then again, 48 percent mentioned personal generosity.  Having grown up in an age of anti-institutional feeling, 13ers look at it this way: When you vote, maybe you'll waste your time--or, worse, later feel tricked.  But when you do something real, like bringing food to the homeless, you do something that matters, if only on a small scale.  The President of M.I.T. has likened the 13er civic attitude to that of the Lone Ranger: Do a good deed, leave a silver bullet, and move on."

"In The Disappearance of Childhood, Neil Postman observes that, when 13ers were little, adults gave children "answers to questions they never asked."  That problem still plagues 13ers--except now the questions are, in effect, what made you the way you are and how can we fix it?  Blue-ribbon Silent committeemen (like Paul Volcker) anguish over how to change their attitude about government, and inner-city Boomers (like Washington, D.C.'s Health Commissioner, Reed Tuckman) "look internally" to understand "how we produced these children."  But 13ers consider such efforts a waste of time and energy.  From their angle, there's the temptation to play Max Headroom, turn into plastic man, and say a computer-programmed "I'm sorry-sorry."  Mostly, they figure it's time to move on--like aspiring opera singer Marie Xaviere, who says "even if you didn't want us, you made us.  But we're here, and we're going to make the best of it."  What 13ers ask, maybe hopelessly, is to lend an unjaundiced ear and check out what Nancy Smith calls "our 'attitude,' a coolness, a detachment,... and the way we speak: ironic, flip, uncommitted, a question mark at the end of every other sentence."  "Dial into our style," invites Miles Orkin in his essay, Mucho Slingage by the Pool.  "It's not like some fully bent tongue from hell or anything.""

"Their elders don't yet see it, 13ers themselves only dimly sense it, but this streetwise generation does indeed bring a bag of savvy tricks their elders lack--skills that may come in handy when a debt-laden America someday gets into real trouble.  More than anyone, they have developed a seasoned talent for getting the most out of a bad hand.  Take note, Beaver Cleaver: Thirteeners may never have glimpsed Nirvana, but they know how to win."

 _end excerpt_

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 I’d like to place a few more excerpts from both books in before ending. They are important.

 “Economic threats loom heavy on the 13er horizon.  To begin with, the first 13er college class graduated from college in 1983--which means that this generation's aspiring elite has yet to confront even mildly harsh economic conditions.  Second, never before in American history have public-benefit "safety nets" been tilted so heavily toward retired elders (no matter how affluent) and away from rising adults (no matter how poor).  The great majority of 13ers in poverty, for example, are not eligible for a penny in subsidized health care.  Finally, many 13ers are starting off with unprecedented financial burdens.  No previous American generation has come to the workforce paying such high tax rates on their first dollar of earnings, bearing such large, high-interest student loans, facing so many anti-youth "two-tier" wage and benefit scales, or encountering such high housing costs relative to income.”

 

“Young workers will find themselves perceived, and treated, as the most expendable employees.  To keep their jobs, 13ers will have to show not just promise, but bottom-line results.  In sharp contrast to the 1950s-era experience of the rising Silent, many 13ers will pass through their twenties unable to sustain the quality of life--and, especially, the level of consumption--they enjoyed as adolescents.  Many of those from affluent families will "boomerang" back to parental homes, dragging out their child-era dependency.  Those from harder-pressed families will fall into an unsupported poverty.  As the year 2000 approaches, the worries of today's 13ers will crystalize into bleak reality: Theirs may be America's first generation since the Gilded to reach age forty with a lower standard of living than their parents had enjoyed at like age.”

 

“…These setbacks will send shock waves through the most market-oriented rising generation since the circa-1920 Lost.  Unlike the Silent and Boom, 13er self-esteem rests heavily on hopes for economic success--a fact confirmed by countless youth polls over the past decade.  Once they perceive themselves failing in the marketplace--amidst continuing criticism of their cultural and moral deficiencies--13ers are likely to react in the same hard-bitten manner as the Lost did when they encountered the Missionary Vice Squads.  Many will quietly blame themselves.  Others will lash out against midlife Boomers, who will remain contemptuous of 13er ideas and aspirations (in stark contrast from how rising-adult Boomers were treated by their own next-elders).  Boomers, by then standing in the way of the jobs, pay, and promotions, will require 13ers to "prove themselves" in a hotly-contested marketplace--in effect, forcing 13ers to move in precisely the "wrong" direction in order to survive.  The Boomers' midlife quest to impose moral judgments on grown-up Breakfast Clubbers will strike a growing chorus of thirty-year-olds as pitiless and Scrooge-like.”

 

“Once alienation sets in, 13ers will accentuate behavior patterns that many of today's Americans already find frenetic, soulless, and physically shocking--confirming elder judgments that this truly is a "wasted" generation.  Thirteeners will then put their own stamp on the American mood.  There will be no mass movements or organized plans; instead, 13ers will burst forth with a hedonistic cross-culture that will look, taste, smell, sound, and feel anti-Boom.  It will be defiantly noncerebral, probing the physical devil where the like-aged Boom once probed the spiritual sublime, seeking pleasure where next-elders once sought beatitude, evoking the black prankishness of Halloween where the Boom culture once evoked the image of a spring rainbow.  As 13er trends splinter forth, the fun they generate may hinge on just how deeply the prototypical Boom "yuppie" viscerally dislikes them.  Young novelists, filmmakers, songwriters, and columnists will produce works that will seem interesting if puzzling to the aging Silent, wholly inarticulate to Boomers, and keenly expressive to 13ers themselves.  This clash of jaundiced rising adults with righteous midlifers will resemble the 1920s--not the 1960s.”

 

“By the late 1990s, professional athletics will offer an exaggerated example of what will be happening to 13ers throughout the economy and culture.  Pay will be increasingly market-driven and disconnected from the bargaining power of organized labor.  Year-to-year results will be rewarded more than lifetime achievement.  The stars who can win, show Ruthian bravado, and fill arenas will make fantastic sums (enhanced by international bidding).  At the other edge, non-star journeymen will lose ground, suffer worst from any franchise bankruptcies, and attract little public sympathy.  The "fun" in sports will have a brassy quality, more akin to pure entertainment than civic ritual.  Boomers will look upon 13er athletes as gladiators and pointedly urge Millennial children to look elsewhere for role models.

 

“Throughout the economy, the 13ers' preoccupation, indeed their need, will be personal economic survival.  For many, the clearest path to success may be to leave elder-led institutions and strike out on their own.  They will seek market niches where quick deals matter more than lofty words, and will take care of tasks Boomers may find useful if a bit distasteful (delivery services or solid waste disposal, for instance).  Such businesses will bring fortunes to a lucky few, but will be poorly-paid on the whole.  Looking for a lightning strike at success, 13ers will dart from job to job.  Their mobility will discourage employers from investing in job training--or from offering pensions to new hires.

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“The international marketplace will offer 13ers their most promising economic frontier--and a way to take advantage of their now-underappreciated linguistic and computer skills.  At times, young entrepreneurs will engage in global business activities their elders will look upon as piratical, opportunist, even traitorous.  Many will seek their fortune in the service of America's creditors, helping them purchase, manage, or liquidate American assets.  Some of the 13ers' most lucrative opportunities may arise in nations with fledgling capitalist economies--in enterprises like fast food, fashion, and entertainment.  Boomers will regard video stores in Prague as a symptom of decadence, and the Silent will despairingly contrast their own Peace Corps days spent teaching English in Nigeria with 13ers who set up Golden Arches in Vladivostok.  Thirteeners will never be widely attracted to public service or the nurturing professions (teaching, medicine, the ministry) in the manner of the G.I.'s, Silent, or Boom.  Whatever their careers, 13er realism will strike many elders as unfeeling, selfish, or even reactionary.  But, over time, 13ers will shrug off these complaints.  Like all rising-adult Reactives before them, they will see themselves as nomads driven by necessity in a world whose economic harshness is not their fault.

 

“Even as they scramble after new opportunities, 13ers will react with skepticism to world events that elders may hail as promoting human freedom.  To 13ers, the euphoria of elder Silent over "breaking down barriers" reminds them of their chaotic childhood--something that felt good to every generation but their own.  If nationalism or revolution abroad leads to conflict, they know it will be their job, not their elders', to fight any war necessary to clean up the mess left behind.  They will suspect it will be the sort of "modern war" (as Hemingway put it) in which "you die like a dog for no good reason."  Life's hard knocks will have taught these "Don't Tread on Me" 30-year-olds to stay away from the complicated abstractions of the aging Silent and high-minded crusades of midlife Boomers.  As the Boom rises to power, 13er voters will turn even more anti-government than they are today--and will, like 1920s-era Lost, take pleasure in revealing elder "lies."  They will be drawn to blunt, no-nonsense candidates.

 

“Thirteener culture will be far more ethnically diverse than the Boom's.  Where the Lost catapulted Eastern and Southern Europeans to prominence, 13ers will do the same for Hispanics and Asians.  The Chinese democracy movement and political controversies in Latin America will provide the grist for poignant intragenerational clashes.  With this new ethnic diversity will come a new, youth-propelled racism and a propensity for what elders have lately come to call "hate crimes."  Lacking a cultural center-of-gravity, 13ers of all backgrounds--including the white middle-class--will feel at risk in ways their Boomer and Silent parents did not.  The most stellar young ethnic achievers among the 13th will encounter a festering racial hostility from their own peers, much as the Jewish Lost did in the 1920s.

 

“Most of the children allowed to grow up poor or unskilled in the 1970s and 1980s will carry their incapacities and pathologies with them into adulthood.  Through the 1990s, unmarried mothers and the undereducated of both sexes will remain just as unemployable (and dependent) in their thirties as they were in their teens.  Efforts at adult remedial education will be half-hearted and ineffectual.  Worse, many of today's youth gangsters will ripen into their adult facsimile, waging Capone-style wars with police (who, by then, will be canny 13ers themselves).  Older generations will blame the nation's problems of crime, drugs, and disintegrating inner cities on the 13er attitude of treating life as a game.  By the late 1990s, as 13ers wholly fill the crime-prone phase-of-life, street crime will be perceived as evil, and the criminal beyond rehabilitation except through the sternest of regimens.  Once Boomer judges go to work, 13ers may well become the most permanently warehoused (and executed) generation in American history.  Nor will many 13ers to rise to defend their criminal peers.  By their ethos, if you're bad and are caught, you don't complain about your punishment.

 

“Through their twenties and thirties, 13ers will sense they will never gain much collective esteem from other generations.  Their greatest skills will go relatively unnoticed: the capacity to observe, to identify unmet needs, to be "smooth" and conceal feelings when necessary, to move quickly when the moment is right, and to make sure that whatever people try does in fact work as intended.  Likewise, 13ers will come to believe that the best way to win individually is by taking incredible risks.  They will figure that those who play by the (mostly Boom) rules probably won't get anywhere--so why play by the rules?  Many will embrace what might be called the "lottery ticket" mentality: A 13er will be prepared to risk a loss (since he'll already be losing) for a tiny chance to win big.  Their career paths will take on a kinetic frenzy.  Thirty-year-olds will jump at opportunities their elders will find inconsequential and take on long odds their elders will find incomprehensible.

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“Economic risk-taking and cultural alienation will drive 13ers to seek stability in family life.  First-wave 13ers may continue the Boom trend toward late marriage--not out of any quest for post-adolescent self-discovery, but rather out of economic necessity and an unwillingness to repeat the mistakes of the 13ers' early-marrying, heavily-divorcing Silent parents.  Seeing the dual-income household as a necessary condition for affluence while knowing from personal experience the perils of a latchkey childhood, 13ers of both sexes will look upon working mothers as a temporary necessity to be overcome later in life when income permits.  Many will begin marriage and parenthood in the homes of their own parents, enabling them to receive substantial elder help with child care.  Once they begin to tire of risk-taking (as did the Lost in the late 1920s), 13ers will become more conservative in their private lives.  Turning away from marital infidelity and divorce, they will make a great effort to shield their offspring from the less pleasant facts of life.  As parents of small children, 13er moms and dads will combine the Boom's protectiveness with a greater capacity for fun.

 

“Despite their economic problems, 13ers will blossom into America's leading generation of shoppers, thanks largely to purchases they will make for others (in extended families, or as part of new shopping-oriented services 13ers will run).  Accordingly, they will have a huge influence on products, styles, and advertising--much as the Lost had in the 1920s.  Once marketers realize this, the American media will be barraged with messages stressing bluntness over subtlety, action over words, the physical over the cerebral.  The most successful of these messages will hint at 13er alienation and their well-developed sense of dark humor.  Many ads that effectively target 13ers will be pointedly anti-Boom.  For example, a 13er copywriter might hit back at the 1990 Coca-Cola ad showing fortyish jeans-clad Boomers on a verdant hillside, teaching their Millennial children the Woodstockian chant "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony."  A retaliatory ad might run a clip of that euphoric Boomer scene, jerk it fast forward, then end with a metallic clang and a message (draped in black): "Drink Pepsi... the Anti-Coke."

 

“Two sets of questions will haunt the 13ers' young adulthood.  First, will their Silent and (especially) Boom elders learn to appreciate that this rising generation does indeed offer something that America will find important, even essential, in the decades ahead?  Will the Silent stop despairing over how 13ers are turning out so unlike what they had envisioned--and will they instead see a generation that knows how to compensate for some of the Silent's own worst mistakes?  Will Boomers come to realize that the 13ers' very different childhood environment has endowed them with valuable talents--or will they continue to look on 13ers not just as juniors, but as inferiors?  The answers to those questions will affect the depth of 13er alienation and the surliness of their forthcoming clash with Boomers.

 

“The second set of questions has more to do with 13ers themselves.  By the spin of the cycle, whatever phase of life they happen to occupy will be (as it has already been) tempest-tossed, laden with perhaps the wrong kind of adventure for people their age.  Over four centuries, Reactive generations have been assigned the thankless job of yanking American history back on a stable course--and, afterwards, they have gotten few rewards for their sacrifices.  Will this realization prompt 13ers to burn out young--or will it harden a gritty self-confidence around an important generational mission?  As America's most perceptive living generation, 13ers can recognize a few crucial facts of life that Boomers will not--for example, that without a little "bad" pragmatism, even the most noble Boomer dreams will never get off the ground.  More to the point: Without a few black sheep to slow the shepherd, those aging Boomers might really do something crazy."

End excerpts

I encourage you to buy the book Generations, by Strauss and Howe. Learn about your generation and Generation-X.

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  Color Code Key

 

 I've color coded the main subjects Strauss and Howe use in their work. Those subjects are Turnings/Seasons (they are interchangeable). Turnings, can be defined as eras.

 The other subjects of Strauss & Howe (S&H), that I've color coded are, Cycles, Generations, and Age Locations.

 Why would I do this? Color coding makes it easier to identify similar Generations and Turnings. The coding began with Generations and then I moved to Turnings. Cycles, and Age Locations. Generations was as simple as picking a color for each of the 4 archetypes. Then, as I read and re-read S&H's work I felt that the Turnings, Cycles, and Age Locations could be color coded, to link them to each archetype. Example: a 1st Turning is color coded as yellow. It is a high era. I consider this era very similar to the Hero/Civic archetype. The 2nd Turning is an Awakening era and is the color purple. I find the awakening era tied to the Artist/Adaptive archetype. Although the era appears on the surface to be an era defined by the Prophet/Idealist collective actions, you must look at what is going on with the Artist/Adaptive archetype to truly identify the era. I'll save these arguments for a different section though.

A 3rd Turning is an Unraveling and is tied to the Prophet/Idealist archetype.

A 4th Turning is a Crisis era and is tied to the Reactive Nomad archetype.

The Cycles are similar. I've found that the Reformation Cycle had a distinct Reactive/Nomad feel to it.

The  Civil War Cycle had a Prophet/Idealist ring to it.

There's another reason that I color coded the Cycles. I wanted a way to measure the intensity of the crisis eras. Why? Because we are a few short years away from another crisis era. I wanted to know how bad it would get. I'll cover that in the Turnings section of this web page.

What about Age Location? Again, after reading S&H for the millionth time, it was easy to color code the Age Locations. The Age Location called 'Youth' had a Civic/Hero/Spring feel to it. The Age Location 'Midlife' had a Prophet/Idealist/3rd Turning feel to it. The Age Location 'Rising Adult' had a Adaptive/Artist/2nd Turning feel to it. And finally, the Age Location 'Elderhood' had a distinct Nomad/Reactive/Crisis feeling to it.

Lastly, what about the generations? I simply picked a color for each archetype, as I said before. This color coding scheme is my work, not S&H's.

Turnings
4th Turning / Crisis / Winter
3rd Turning / Unraveling / Fall
2nd Turning / Awakening / Summer
1st Turning / High / Spring
Cycles
Late Medieval (1435-1487)
Reformation (1487-1594)
Colonial  (1594-1704)
Revolution (1704-1794)
Civil War (1794-1865)
Great Power (1865-1946)
Millennial (1946-2024)
Generational Archetypes
Nomad-Reactive
Prophet-Idealist
Artist-Adaptive
Civic-Hero
 
Age Location
Elderhood 63-83
Midlife 42-62
Rising Adult 21-41
Youth 0-20

 

 

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  Generations; Tables and Graphics

 

            [ All data is from Strauss & Howe  ]

 

   Chronological list of Generations born 1433-present

 

GENERATION

Birth Years

Archetype

Arthurian

1433-1460

Hero-Civic

Humanist

1460-1482

Artist-Adaptive

Reformation

1483-1511

Prophet-Idealist

Reprisal

1512-1540

Nomad-Reactive

Elizabethan

1541-1565

Hero-Civic

Parliamentary

1566-1587

Artist-Adaptive

Puritan

1588-1617

Prophet-Idealist

Cavalier

1618-1647

Nomad-Reactive

Glorious

1648-1673

Hero-Civic

Enlightenment

1674-1700

Artist-Adaptive

Awakening

1701-1723

Prophet-Idealist

Liberty

1724-1741

Nomad-Reactive

Republican

1742-1766

Hero-Civic

Compromise

1767-1791

Artist-Adaptive

Transcendental

1792-1821

Prophet-Idealist

Gilded

1822-1842

Nomad-Reactive

Progressive

1843-1859

Artist-Adaptive

Missionary

1860-1882

Prophet-Idealist

Lost

1883-1900

Nomad-Reactive

G.I.

1901-1924

Hero-Civic

Silent

1925-1942

Artist-Adaptive

Boom

1943-1960

Prophet-Idealist

Thirteenth

1961-1981

Nomad-Reactive

Millennial

1982-2003?

Hero-Civic

Homeland 2004?-2024? Artist-Adaptive

 

  You can click on any of the generations above, except Homeland, and you'll be taken to Strauss & Howe's web site for their explanation of that specific generation.

 

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  Generational Archetypes side by side

The following graph takes the generations that are similar and places them side by side.

Generational Name Born Archetype Name
Thirteenth (or Gen-X) b.1961-1981 Reactive-Nomad
Lost 1883-1900 Reactive-Nomad
Gilded 1822-1842 Reactive-Nomad
Liberty 1724-1741 Reactive-Nomad
Cavalier 1618-1647 Reactive-Nomad
Reprisal 1512-1540 Reactive-Nomad
Homeland babies 2004?-2021? Artist-Adaptive
Silent 1925-1942 Artist-Adaptive
Progressive 1843-1859 Artist-Adaptive
Compromise 1767-1791 Artist-Adaptive
Enlightenment 1674-1700 Artist-Adaptive
Parliamentary 1566-1587 Artist-Adaptive
Humanist 1460-1482 Artist-Adaptive
Boom 1943-1960 Prophet-Idealist
Missionary 1860-1882 Prophet-Idealist
Transcendental 1792-1821 Prophet-Idealist
Awakening 1701-1723 Prophet-Idealist
Puritan 1588-1617 Prophet-Idealist
Reformation 1483-1511 Prophet-Idealist
Millennial 1982-2001 Hero-Civic
G.I. 1901-1924 Hero-Civic
Republican 1742-1766 Hero-Civic
Glorious 1648-1673 Hero-Civic
Elizabethan 1541-1565 Hero-Civic
Arthurian 1433-1460 Hero-Civic

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  Age Location and Generations:  

Location Name Age Purpose
Youth 0-20 Social role: Growth (Receiving nurturing, acquiring values)
Rising 21-41 Social role: Vitality (Serving institutions and testing values)
Midlife 42-62 Social role: Leadership (Leading institutions, transferring value)
Elderhood 63-83 Social role: Dependence (Receiving comfort from institutions, remembering values)

 

   The following is from the Strauss and Howe's book, Generations:

"Now imagine a sudden historical shock--a "social moment"--such as a major war or revolution.  And add a third assumption: Any social moment affects an individual's personality differently according to his current phase of life.  It does so by triggering a behavior response conditioned by the phase-of-life role.  For youths, the response might be dependence (keeping out of the way); for rising adults, activity (arming to meet the challenge); for midlifers, leadership (organizing the troops); and for elders, wisdom (what exactly are we fighting for?).  The stress of responding to the social moment leaves a different emotional imprint and memory with each group according to the role called upon.  These differences, furthermore, are reinforced by the social interaction within each group.  Youths might mirror each other's dread and anxiety, for example, while rising adults might collectively encourage each other's valor and sense of duty."

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  Generational Diagonal & Cohorts

"At any given moment, members of a cohort generation can all be found in a common age bracket.  They all share both a special history and a special type of personality and behavior shaped by that history.  And cohort generations can follow each other, cohort-group after cohort-group, without any loss of historical definition over time." - Generations

  The following graphs show how society is affected when specific generations line up at specific age locations. This is called the Generational Diagonal, invented by Strauss & Howe.

Age location 1924 1942 1960 1981 2003
Elderhood 63-83 Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist
Midlife 42-62 Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet
Rising Adult 21-41 Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad
Youth 0-20 Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero

 

  Now, lets add the age locations of a Generational Archetype in a Turning

 

Age location of Generations in Turnings

Name/Age range

1st Turning  (High/Spring) 2nd Turning (Awakening/Summer) 3rd Turning (Unraveling/Fall) 4th Turning (Crisis/Winter)
Elderhood 63-83 Prophet-Idealist Nomad-Reactive Hero-Civic Artist-Adaptive
Midlife 42-62 Nomad-Reactive Hero-Civic Artist-Adaptive Prophet-Idealist
Rising Adult 21-41 Hero-Civic Artist-Adaptive Prophet-Idealist Nomad-Reactive
Youth 0-20 Artist-Adaptive Prophet-Idealist Nomad-Reactive Hero-Civic

       Strauss and Howe have many different explanations for the Generational Diagonal. The following are excerpts from Generations. They helped me understand the theory of the generational diagonal.

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Generational Diagonal II 

 

The following graphs expand Strauss and Howe's original generational diagonal to include all 18 American generational archetypes at their age location at specific years within a cycle. Note the colors. 1946 is colored yellow because that year fell in a Summer era or 1st Turning. 1946 was the first year of the 1946-1963 1st Turning/Summer cycle.   The graph is from a Turning point of view. Meaning, at the beginning of a Turning, how old were the generations at the time? For 1946, I put the Artist adaptive archetype at the youth location, even though the youngest was 3-years old. The boomers first birth year was 1943, but the bulk of the youth age location was taken up by the artist generation, the silents. Note the Millennial cycle color, yellow. This denotes the fact that I think the Millennial cycle (1946-2024?) is a 'Spring' cycle. Lastly, note the "(1st T)" next to the year. '1st T' means, 1st Turning.

  The Millennial Cycle (Summer Cycle)

Cycle = Millennial 1946 (1st T) 1964 (2nd T) 1984 (3rd T) 2009?(4th T)
Elderhood 63-83 Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist
Midlife 42-62 Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet
Rising Adult 21-41 Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad
Youth 0-20 Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero

  Great American Power Cycle (Winter Cycle)

 [note: the Civil War Crisis (1860-1865) was the only anomaly since the cycle began in 1435.]

Great American Power Cycle 1866 (1st T) 1886 (2nd T) 1909 (3rd T) 1929 (4th T)
Elderhood 63-83 Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Adaptive-Artist
Midlife 42-62 Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet
Rising Adult 21-41 Reactive-Nomad Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad
Youth 0-20 Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero

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Civil War Cycle

Civil War Cycle 1794 (1st T) 1822 (2nd T) 1844 (3rd T) 1860 (4th T)
Elderhood 63-83 Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist
Midlife 42-62 Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet
Rising Adult 21-41 Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad
Youth 0-20 Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Adaptive-Artist [anomaly]

Revolutionary Cycle

[note: In the beginning of this cycle, the reactive-nomad generation took up all of the midlife and elderhood age location . This was the Cavalier generation, b1618-1647. The Puritan generation (b1588-1617) had mostly died off by the time 1704 came around.]

Revolutionary Cycle 1704 (1st T) 1727 (2nd T) 1746 (3rd T) 1773 (4th T)
Elderhood 63-83 Reactive-Nomad Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist
Midlife 42-62 Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet
Rising Adult 21-41 Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad
Youth 0-20 Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero

Colonial Cycle

[note: In the beginning of this cycle, the reactive-nomad generation took up all of the midlife and elderhood age location . This was the Reprisal generation, b1512-1540.]

Colonial Cycle 1594 (1st T) 1621 (2nd T) 1649 (3rd T) 1675 (4th T)
Elderhood 63-83 Reactive-Nomad Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist
Midlife 42-62 Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet
Rising Adult 21-41 Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad
Youth 0-20 Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero

Reformation Cycle

Reformation Cycle 1487 (1st T) 1517 (2nd T) 1542 (3rd T) 1569 (4th T)
Elderhood 63-83 The Civic-Hero box below is the  first   Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist
Midlife 42-62  generation S&H cover, the Arthurian Generation Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet
Rising Adult 21-41 Civic-Hero Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad
Youth 0-20 Adaptive-Artist Idealist-Prophet Reactive-Nomad Civic-Hero

   Go to my Generations II page for a further look at the Generational Diagonal and why the &$%! is about to hit the fan.

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  Archetypes

The following is from Strauss and Howe’s web site, www.fourthturning.com. These capsules are also in the book The Fourth Turning (See chapter four.)

 

Artist /Adaptive

We remember Artists  best for their quiet years of rising adulthood (the log-cabin settlers of 1800, the plains farmers of 1880, the new suburbanites of 1960) and during their midlife years of flexible, consensus-building leadership (the "Compromises" of the Whig era, the "good government" reforms of the Progressive era, the budget and peace processes of the current era). Overprotected as children, they become under protective parents. Their principal endowment activities are in the domain of pluralism, expertise, and due process. Their best-known leaders include: William Shirley and Cadwallader Colden; John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson; Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson; Walter Mondale, and Colin Powell. These have been sensitive and complex social technicians, advocates of fair play and the politics of inclusion. With the single exception of Andrew Jackson, they rank as the most expert and credentialed of American political leaders.

 

A lifecycle outline:

Hero / Civic

We remember Heroes best for their collective coming-of-age triumphs (Glorious Revolution , Yorktown, D-Day) and for their hubristic elder achievements (the Peace of Utrecht and slave codes, the Louisiana Purchase and steamboats, the Apollo moon launches and interstate highways). Increasingly protected as children, they become increasingly indulgent as parents. Their principal endowment activities are in the domain of community, affluence, and technology. Their best-known leaders include: Gurdon Saltonstall and "King" Carter; Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. They have been vigorous and rational institution builders. All have been aggressive advocates of economic prosperity and public optimism in midlife; and all have maintained a reputation for civic energy and competence even deep into old age.

 

A lifecycle outline:

Nomad / Reactive

We remember Nomads best for their rising-adult years of hell-raising (Paxton Boys, Missouri Raiders, rumrunners) and for their midlife years of hands-on, get-it-done leadership (Francis Marion, Stonewall Jackson, George Patton). Underprotected as children, they become overprotective parents. Their principal endowments are in the domain of liberty, survival, and honor. Their best-known leaders include: Nathaniel Bacon and William Stoughton; George Washington and John Adams; Ulysses Grant and Grover Cleveland; Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. These have been cunning, hard-to-fool realists—taciturn warriors who prefer to meet problems and adversaries one-on-one. They include the only two Presidents who had earlier hanged a man (Washington and Cleveland), one governor who hanged witches (Stoughton), and several leaders who had earlier led troops into battle (Bacon, Washington, Grant, Truman, and Eisenhower).

 

A lifecycle outline:

Prophet / Idealist

We remember best for their coming-of-age passion (the excited pitch of Jonathan Edwards, William Lloyd Garrison, William Jennings Bryan) and for their principled elder stewardship (the sober pitch of Samuel Langdon at Bunker Hill, President Lincoln at Gettysburg, or FDR with his "fireside chats"). Increasingly indulged as children, they become increasingly protective as parents.  Their principal endowments are in the domain of vision, values, and religion. Their best-known leaders include: John Winthrop and William Berkeley; Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin; James Polk and Abraham Lincoln; and Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. These have been principled moralists, summoners of human sacrifice, wagers of righteous wars. Early in life, none saw combat in uniform; late in life, most came to be revered more for their inspiring words than for their grand deeds.

 

A lifecycle outline:


 

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  Turnings 

 

 The Cycles Strauss & Howe define, encompass a total of four turnings:

 Turnings Explanation:

Each Turning represents the following 1st Turning  (High/Spring) 2nd Turning (Awakening/Summer) 3rd Turning (Unraveling/Fall) 4th Turning (Crisis/Winter)
"…an upbeat era of strengthening institutions and weakening individualism, when a new civic order implants and the old values regime decays. "…a passionate era of spiritual upheaval, when the civic order comes under attack from a new values regime. "…a downcast era of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions, when the old civic order decays and the new values regime implants. "…a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with the new one.

 

 

As with generations, a Turning also has a name, as well as an archetype.

Here's an example:

Generational Archetype: Prophet/Idealist

Generational name: Baby Boomer.

The Baby Boomers are a Prophet/Idealist generation.

Turning Archetype: 2nd Turning

Turning name: Conscious Revolution.

The Conscious Revolution was a 2nd Turning that took place from 1964-1984.

 

There are 4 turnings to a complete cycle.

The current cycle looks like this:

             Turning           Years                     Archetype                              Cycle

American High

1946-1964 1st (High) Spring Millennial Cycle

(1946-2024)

 

Conscious Revolution

1964-1984 2nd (Awakening) Summer

Culture Wars

1984-2003? 3rd (Unraveling) Fall

Millennial Crisis

2004?-2020 4th (Crisis) Winter

 

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 The following is a list of all cycles and the Turnings within those cycles, 1435-2020(?)

 

Turning Name Year Turning Cycle
Retreat from France 1435-1459 3rd (Unraveling) Fall Late Medieval (1435-1487)
War of the Roses 1459-1487 4th (Crisis) Winter
Tudor Renaissance 1487-1517 1st (High) Spring Reformation (1487-1594)
Protestant Reformation 1517-1542 2nd (Awakening) Summer
Intolerance and Martyrdom 1542-1569 3rd (Unraveling) Fall
Armada Crisis 1569-1594 4th (Crisis) Winter
Merrie England 1594-1621 1st (High) Spring Colonial   (1594-1704)
Puritan Awakening 1621-1649 2nd (Awakening) Summer
Reaction and Restoration 1649-1675 3rd (Unraveling) Fall
Glorious Revolution 1675-1704 4th (Crisis) Winter
Augustan Age of Empire 1704-1727 1st (High) Spring Revolution (1704-1794)
Great Awakening 1727-1746 2nd (Awakening) Summer
French and Indian Wars 1746-1773 3rd (Unraveling) Fall
American Revolution 1773-1794 4th (Crisis) Winter
Era of Good feeling 1794-1822 1st (High) Spring Civil War(1794-1865)
Transcendental Awakening 1822-1844 2nd (Awakening) Summer
Mexican and Sectionalists Wars 1844-1860 3rd (Unraveling) Fall
Civil War 1860-1865 4th (Crisis) Winter
Reconstruction and Gilded Age 1865-1886 1st (High) Spring Great Power(1865-1946)
Third Great Awakening 1886-1908 2nd (Awakening) Summer
World War I and Prohibition 1908-1929 3rd (Unraveling)
Great Depression & WW II 1929-1946 4th (Crisis) Winter
American High 1946-1964 1st (High) Spring Millennial(1946-2024)
Conscious Revolution 1964-1984 2nd (Awakening) Summer
Culture Wars 1984-2008? 3rd (Unraveling) Fall
Millennial Crisis 2009?-2024? 4th (Crisis) Winter

 

(Measuring the Intensity of Turnings)

 Why all the colors? Two reason's. However, before I explain, it may help to look at the Color-Code Key.

 They main reason I wanted to color the master cycles was to measure the intensity of each cycle. This way I could measure how bad the coming crisis cycle would be. As you can see above, the coming crisis will be as good as a crisis can be. The last crisis era was as bad as it gets. Again, you may want to look at the Color-Code Key for an explanation of the colors.

Let's delve deeper. Here's S&H's writing about age location. Age location has everything to do with the way I've color coded the Master Cycles, Generations, and Turnings.

 *  ELDERS (age 66-87).  Central Role: Stewardship (supervising, mentoring, channeling endowments, passing on values).

 *  MIDLIFE ADULTS (age 44-65).  Central Role: Leadership (parenting, teaching, directing, institutions, using values).

 *  RISING ADULTS (age 22-43).  Central Role: Activity (working, starting families and livelihoods, public service, settling on values).

 *  YOUTH (age 0-21).  Central Role: Dependence (growing, learning, accepting protection and nurture, avoiding harm).(1)

 (1) From Generations, "A Journey to Cohortia" Appendix

 

4th Turning [Crisis Cycle]

4th Turnings in History

Turning Years 4th Turnings in History Cycle

4th Turnings in History (Crisis / Winter cycles)

1459-1487 War of the Roses Late Medieval (1435-1487)
1569-1594 Armada Crisis Reformation (1487-1594)
1675-1704 Glorious Revolution Colonial or New World (1594-1704)
1773-1794 American Revolution Revolution (1704-1794)
1860-1865 Civil War Civil War(1794-1865)
1929-1945 Great Depression & WW II Great Power(1865-1946)
2009?-2024? The Great Devaluation

(2009? / 2010?)

Millennial(1946-2024?)

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  Characteristics of Turnings

 

 

1st Turning

  2nd Turning

  3rd Turning

  4th Turning

Subject

POLITICAL, SOCIAL

Immigration Low Rising High Declining
Politics Stasis Awakening Realignment Stasis Crisis Realignment
Voter turn-out /   Party loyalty High Falling Low Rising
Foreign Policy Extroversion (imperial focus) Awakening Introversion Extroversion (commercial focus) Crisis Introversion
Wars restorative controversial inconclusive total
political/economic institutions reinforced attacked eroded founded
Crime bottoming rising peaking falling
Substance Abuse rising peaking falling bottoming
social structure unified splintering diversified gravitating
social priority maximum community rising individualism maximum individualism rising community
birth rates post-crisis boom awakening bust echo boom crisis bust

ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS

Productivity & Real Wage Growth

Relatively fast  (relief)

Relatively slow (disappointment)

Relatively fast (relief)

Major disruption & redefinition

Wage equality

High

Falling

Low

Rising

Unions / Cartels

Strong

Weakening

Weak

Strengthening

Entrepreneurship & Free agency

Low

Rising

High

Declining

Overall power of state policy / regulations

strong

under attack

weak

reconstructing

Main focus of state policy / regulation

toward producers

reform era

toward consumers

reform era

New Technology

infrastructure: old tech becomes institutionalized, part of new political economy

discovery: old tech peaks & is repudiated; new tech invented

experimentation: old tech atrophies; new tech grows with max diversity, and niching

critical mass: new tech applied and produced in scale; diversity declines

Commercial values

oriented toward group-loyalty; noncontroversial

Under attack

oriented toward self-promotion; noncontroversial

Under attack

 

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     What Happens During a Turning?

 

Much of what is listed is from the book "Generations" and "The Fourth Turning". This graph gives a snapshot of what happens during each turning.

Spring 1st Turning - High  Summer 2nd Turning - Awakening Fall 3rd Turning- Unraveling Winter 4th Turning - Crisis
Strengthen Institutions Spiritual Upheaval Strengthening Individualism Secular Upheaval
Society still fears wars and crisis "Bearing witness to histories noisiest showdowns between the kingdoms of Caesar and Gods" Clearing away Institutional Detritus  
Equinox era (transition to shorter nights and longer days) Secular Solstice Equinox era of shortening days and lengthening nights Solstice era of maximum darkness
Guard against threats New tone for politics is angry Consume off the past Not much will seem to change even after the first catalyst hits. It will appear that everything is still the same even though we had this monumental event. Politics will be vilified and a division is borne within the country over an event (catalyst). Everything will feel more jittery. People will focus on how poorly their government has planned for the future.
Conformity Demand for order is falling Pursuit of Individual ends Demand for order is rising
Racism to Sexism Mood shift is deceptive Heroes weaken Pleasures recede, pretense is exposed
Gather, Nest, procreate and Build Lay siege to the old order (Institutional) Age and climax of inner Power Toughness rewarded
Community strengthens Society's inner life strengthens Lowest point of public or outer power Time of fire and ice
Crime rate declines Outer life quiets Social disintegration Fundamental shifts in social momentum
Divorce rate declines Rights over duties People are inner immersed Community instinct regenerates
Unlocked front doors Self over Society Atomize over gathering People resolve to do more than alleviate symptoms
Nicely groomed youths Ideals of Institutions Harvesting not Sowing Address root causes, rediscovery of the value of unity, teamwork and social discipline
Gap between rich and poor narrow Creativity over conformism new values regime grows and spreads People comply with authority (but not everyone, will until the spark that transforms society into a coalition)
Season of Hope Spiritualism over Science Large entities continue to weaken People will accept the need for public and personal sacrifice
Innocent joy Rage over friendliness Small groups revitalize (Families, volunteer, neighborhoods) Era begins with a catalyst which is a startling event that shakes everyone and the mood begins to shift.
Children are indulged Negatism over positive Era Begins With A catalyst can be a spark (single event) or a series of sparks that signals the complete change in society.
Strengthening Families Self over Community Society settles core issues Each of the sparks can be linked to a specific threat that society knew about but didn't protect itself from.
Hero's raise children to be inner-directed Declining loyalty among Athletes Self defined values have triumphed over older group-defined values Once catalyzed society will reach a degeneracy that reunifies all in society
To resist peer pressure In the beginning Confidence is eroding (but slowly) No overall social direction Society propels towards a climax that confirms the death of the old order and the birth of something new.
Parents apply democratic discipline Contrasting extremes Good cheer and new confidence that will sour quickly into the turning The climax culminates in resolution either triumphant or tragic
  Values clash Satisfaction with personal and spiritual life Catalyst can be a spark or series of sparks, what's important is HOW society reacts to them.
Academics founded Hero's build massive structures in the Can-Do Society (Construction) Trust in secular and public life declines In an unraveling there is anxiety, in a crisis there is a fierce new public determination
Soldiers knighted Hero's Achieve huge things (Moon Walk, Curing Childhood disease) Rules and Manners erode Once the new mood is fully felt and has effected all of society, we will all draw together.
Kings crowned Children vilified (Nomads)   New civic attitude is born
Science escalates Fertility declines Weakening Institutions Weakness of institutions are no longer tolerated now is splintering of culture and individualistic daily behaviors.
  Media turns against kids Old Civic order decays Spiritual curiosity abates and manners traditionalize.
Suppression of bad news Parents spend less time with Kids New Value Regime Implements Threat and response takes hold
Majoritarian Culture Divorce rate skyrockets Very few strong leaders produced No longer defer problems, we accelerate them.
Mood is dynamic Mind altering Drugs taken  by Idealists Very few public works built Diversity is no longer tolerated and consensus is demanded
Projecting optimism onto Children Cultural Upheaval Era of Artists, Moralists, enterprises and reckless celebrities People are summoned to maximum sacrifice and they will answer the call.
Marketing High becomes unfulfilling, Illegitimate and Unjust Social mood is personal, pragmatic and insecure Leaders energize all available institutions and direct them towards community survival.
Design average things to the average man Civic order attacked from new regime values (Idealist youth) Time of buccaneers and barnstormers The public will let leaders lead and allow them mistakes.
Dress alike Declining Standards of Public Decorum and Private Virtue Time of bad alliances civil unrest and boom and bust markets Private life transforms. Individuals are expected to and will gladly comply for the sake of the community.
Live in similar houses Social Order is Challenged by youth (Idealists) Contrasts abound Family order strengthens
Read same magazines Multilateralism and interdependence enters foreign policy Gap between rich and poor begin to widen Personal violence and substance abuse decline
Watch the same TV shows America learns from other societies instead of their own People act out and want conflict Social sharing is popular
Celebrate similarities Life seems to get more complicated with new tech gadgets Relationships are in flux Who does what is settled on survival, not fairness.
Predictability Idealist youth rage against their fathers and fight for Spiritualism over science, gratification over patience, fractiousness over conformity Negatism over positives and self over community. This is exactly the opposite of what their parent (hero's) grew up believing in. Loyalties in doubt Children are expected to be protected by parents when danger looms. Women are protected next.
Mass goods to mass tastes Less concern about economy as much as people stop believing in it. Society fragments Pace of daily life will slow
High trust in Government and authority Productivity Declines Pace of life quickens Political and social change accelerates
  Nation is fed up with public grandiosity Time horizons begin to shorten Public fury is justified and individual fury frowned on.
Great for the Middle class Culture turns inward Secular problems mount but are deferred Wars become more likely and are fought to the end.
Ideal man is hard striver Look at the future more inwardly Public trust of government begins to sink to new lows The risk of revolution is high.
Ideal woman is nurturer From think big to think small America is individually awash in self-esteem As is the risk of Civil War.
Feminism declines Climax's when just after civilized progress reaches a secular high Era of  cultural diversity, interactive technologies and new age spiritualism Leader define enemies in moral terms and refuse compromise.
Weakening Individualism Near the End Self discovery abounds Leaders commit large forces to defend and impose heavy sacrifice
Civic Order Inner Yearnings Surge Niche groups strengthen The push towards the climax will gather steam due to unmet needs, unpaid bills and unresolved problems.
Old Regime Decays Outer discipline decays Begin erasing old universal worldviews Value regime propels the replacement of the old Civic order with a new one
Children (Raised Idealists) Ends when the new consciousness converts it enemies and new values regime overwhelms the oppressors Every act (individual) has meaning, every meaning a right or wrong, every victim a victimizer The climax shakes society to its roots. Transforms institutions, redirects purpose and makes everyone.
Raising Idealistic Children Gender roles start to narrow There is no such thing as important public opinion Society will then pass through a great gate in time either in triumph or tragedy.
Mom's Task is to tend to their every Complaint   Paranoia is fed  
    National parties weaken politically and incumbents derided  
Dad Makes the Money and children don't know from where.   Attack ads show up everywhere (political)  
Resist Peer Pressure   Civility in America declines  
Democratic Discipline   Personal security becomes bigger  
End to ideology   Evil creeps into the lexicon  
Declines in adult mortality   Ideologies argued  
    Old political alliances crumble  
Mood shifts towards optimism and energy   Political leaders begin to acknowledge that the system is broken  
Public order   Conspiracy theories begin to abound  
Family stability   Institutions adapt to marketing to the individual  
Conformity   In the middle an era of last purpose and shattered consensus  
Institution building   Rediscovery of moral standards  
Belief in Secular Progress   Near the End  
Sum is greater than the Parts   Divorce declines  
Macroeconomics   The old order becomes more corrupt and useless  
Prod consumers to spend and they will   Children and pre-teens become  every increasingly important  
Income gap begins to shrink   Rediscovery of moral standards towards children  
Near the End   Natural child is represents absolute good and crimes against children are absolute evil.  
Energy is shifted from depression or crisis to the new wonderful future   Adult nagging returns to the child's world  
America is functional   Rules are stricter and enforced around children  
    Good habits are demanded of children and poor attitude is less tolerated  
    Movies will be made that center on wholesome teenagers  
    Any provocative ads in media that include teens will bring swift and harsh action  
    Deadbeat dads will be punished and publicly vilified  
    Reduction in Teen drugs, drinking, sex and abortion rate  
    Teens are completely different than prior era. They are praised in this era, especially in the media  
    Youth groups form  
    Youth volunteers rise  
    Rising aptitude scores  
    Democrats will use children as the issue to expand government  
    Republicans will use them as a reason to clean up culture  
    Youths will produce massive voter turn out  

 

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Strauss and Howe predict another trend a decade before it happened

 In the July 15-17, 2005 weekend edition of the USA Today there was a front-page article titled, “Math for 13-years olds rose sharply but reading did not.”

 Every few years, The National Assessment of Educational Progress administers two Congressional standardized tests on a national level. One of them covers math while the other covers reading.

 The USA Today article is about how 2004’s, 9,13, and 17-year old children compare in math and reading too similar aged children from 1971 though 2000.

 Politicians are using the results, from the tests, to show the nation that every program they have put in place (no matter what the cost) has worked!

 What a snow job.

 Take a closer look at the data and you’ll see Strauss and Howe’s (S&H) Generational Diagonal, which tells the true story of our 9,13 and 17-year-olds from 1971-2004.

 The politicians have nothing to do with the advance in Math. The Millennial generation (b1982-2003?) is responsible for that. The Millennials are a Hero/Civic archetype. In S&H’s theory they state that every 4 generations the archetype repeats. Simply put, the Millennials are similar to the GI generation (b1901-1924). They carry the same Hero/Civic type traits.

 Let’s take a look at what S&H have to say about the GI’s aptitude ability, and then we’ll look at the National Assessment of Educational Progress results.

 Prediction from the book “Generations”, published in 1991.

“Around the year 2000, a wave of very different freshmen will descend on America's campuses, showing a knack for student politics, organization, and peer discipline--and, in the classroom, an extraordinary gift for math and science.”

 

Basically, S&H state that a Hero/Civic generation excels in math and science. The GI generation (b1901-1924) is a Hero/Civic generation. The Millennial generation is also a Hero/Civic generation. The GIs already proved this theory; one only needs to look at their collective achievements over the last 75 years. For instance, Alfred Loomis’ “Tuxedo Park” and MIT laboratories teamed with the nations brightest GI physicists that practically won WWII for us.

 S&H put this theory into concise context in their book Generations, “Nobel laureates; builders of Minuteman missiles, interstate highways, Apollo rockets, battleships, and miracle vaccines…”

 Furthermore, they write, “The 1907-1927 cohort-groups has done very well in overall ‘intellectual ability’ and has clearly outperformed all other groups in "numbers skills."” 

 And this:

“G.I.'s produced by far the largest one-generation jump in educational achievement in American history.  From Lost to G.I., the average length of schooling rose from the 9th grade-level to the 12th, and math and science aptitudes rose sharply. “

 Also:

“No other generation this century has felt (or been) so Promethian, so Godlike in its collective, world-bending power.  Nor has any been so adept in its aptitude for science and engineering.  G.I.'s invented, perfected, and stockpiled the atomic bomb, a weapon so muscular it changed history forever.  This intensely left-brained generation looked upon their Apollo 11 moon landing as (in Ayn Rand's words) "the embodied concretization of a single faculty of man: his rationality."  Rand's peers became the consummate mid-20th-century "technocrats" (a word then connoting unrivaled American competence).

 

So, here come the Millennials. The first Hero/Civic generation to be born since the GIs. If S&H's theory is true, that generations repeat every 80-85 years in an archetypal pattern, then the Mills should be adept at math and science.

 Let’s take a look at the National Assessment of Educational Progress results.

 I’ll present the data in an easy to reference generational grid-style and then explain the data.

 Table 1

Math

Age

Age

Age

Year

9

13

17

1973

GenX

Boom

Boom

1978

GenX

GenX

GenX

1982

GenX

GenX

GenX

1986

GenX

GenX

GenX

1990

Mill

GenX

GenX

1992

Mill

GenX

GenX

1994

Mill

Mill

GenX

1996

Mill

Mill

GenX

1999

Mill

Mill

Mill

2004

Mill

Mill

Mill

Math

Age

Age

Age

Year

9

13

17

1973

(gx) 219

(b) 266

(b) 304

1978

(gx) 219

(gx) 264

(gx) 300

1982

(gx) 219

(gx) 269

(gx) 298

1986

(gx) 222

(gx) 269

(gx) 302

1990

(mil) 230

(gx) 270

(gx) 305

1992

(mil) 230

(gx) 273

(gx) 307

1994

(mil) 230

(mil) 274

(gx) 306

1996

(mil) 231

(mil) 274

(gx) 307

1999

(mil) 232

(mil) 279

(mil) 308

2004

(mil) 241

(mil) 281

(mil) 307

The Millennial’s (mil) numbers, in the lower table, clearly show that they are indeed well- to-do in math. The 9-year old group crushed Generation-X (gx), who were born 1961-1981, by a gigantic margin. They also beat-up the Boomers (b) pretty well. Furthermore, the 13 and 17-year old groups did the same.

 That’s enough evidence for me! However, many remain skeptical. For those skeptics I’ll take it one step further.

 Strauss and Howe also wrote about the archetype Reactive/Nomad and their ability for reading (word fluency). The Lost generation (b1883-1900) and Generation-X are of the Reactive/Nomad archetype.

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Again, S&H are stating that there is a generational cycle that repeats.

  The Lost generation and Generation-X are similar. They have the same traits. We can see this in the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam.

 Here’s another quote from the book Generations:

 “The 1886-1892 cohort-group [the Lost generation] has scored the highest of all groups in "word fluency" (vocabulary), but the lowest in everything else.”

 If the theory is correct then Generation-X should be similar.

Table 2

Reading

Age

Age

Age

Year

9

13

17

1971

 GenX

Boom

Boom

1975

GenX

GenX

Boom

1980

GenX

GenX

GenX

1984

GenX

GenX

GenX

1988

GenX

GenX

GenX

1990

Mill

GenX

GenX

1992

Mill

GenX

GenX

1994

Mill

Mill

GenX

1996

Mill

Mill

GenX

1999

Mill

Mill

Mill

2004

Mill

Mill

Mill

Reading

Age

Age

Age

Year

9

13

17

1971

(gx) 208

(b) 255

(b) 285

1975

(gx) 210

(gx) 256

(b) 286

1980

(gx) 215

(gx) 258

(gx) 290

1984

(gx) 211

(gx) 257

(gx) 290

1988

(mil) 212

(gx) 257

(gx) 290

1990

(mil) 209

(gx) 257

(gx) 290

1992

(mil) 211

(mil) 260

(gx) 290

1994

(mil) 211

(mil) 258

(gx) 288

1996

(mil) 212

(mil) 258

(mil) 288

1999

(mil) 212

(mil) 259

(mil) 288

2004

(mil) 219

(mil) 259

(mil) 285

 

Table 2 reveals an interesting statistic. That is, the Millennials are not better readers than Generation-X. There isn’t a huge gap between the Mills and Gen–X.

The mean average for Gen-X, 9-year-olds, is 211, and 212 for the Mills.

The 13-year old group’s mean averages are Gen-X,  257, Mills 259.

The 17-year old group’s mean averages are Gen-X,  290, Mills 287.

As a side note, we can see the Boomer’s scores are lower than both Gen-X and the Mills which backs up the fact that the Boomer’s took the SAT scores lower for 17 consecutive years before Gen-X brought them back up. Plus Gen-X trounced the Boomers in reading.

The Millennial generation is an average reading generation. They excel in math, not reading. If anything, the reading goes to Generation-X. Why?

The next table answers that question. The jump between math and reading is very large for Gen-X. In fact, it’s the largest between the 3 generations.

 

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 Table 3

Math

Age group

Age group 

Age group 

 Generation

9

13

17

Gen-X v Mil

95%

97%

99%

Gen-X v Boom

 

101.1%

99.9%

Mil v Boom

 

104.1%

101.0%

Reading 

Age group

 Age group

 Age group

Generation 

9

13

17

Gen-X v Mil

99%

99%

101%

Gen-X v Boom

 

100.8%

101.5%

Mil v Boom

 

101.5%

100.5%

 If we look at the biggest percentage leap from math to the Reading table Gen-X wins hands-down with the 9-year-old group moving from 95% to 99%, the 13-year-old Gen-X group moving from 97% to 99% and the 17-year-old Gen-Xers jumping another 2% from math to reading. This is by far the biggest % difference between the math and reading tables, showing that Gen-X does have great skill in word fluency, as predicted by Strauss and Howe.

 The evidence is there in black and white. Many of Strauss and Howe’s predictions keep manifesting. To which I say, “Winter is Coming.” Are you ready for the next Crisis Era?

 -Jim Goulding

07/31/2005 

 

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 Who's in Charge?

 Congress 2004

 

 

 

 

Generations II