The Coming Crisis 
By Walter Sorochan

Posted March 03, 2011 Disclaimer

 Purpose of this article:   Collect relevant articles under one umbrella to make it easier for you, the reader, to understand 'The Fourth Turning,' a somewhat complex and difficult concept to understand. But the fourth turning has implications for our future, including jobs, resolving the current economic crisis, the numerous financial bubbles and how we live.  It is real and is happening all over the world!  It was the original intent of this article to simplify the complex information about the fourth turning and help you understand it.  The author has briefly summarized the fourth turning as a crisis; gathered relevant articles on the subject and placed these in the references section. You can view these articles for more details. 

 We are heading into another crisis!  Strauss Howe The mainstream media, most politicians, and self proclaimed progressives are blind to historical cycles repeating themselves. Neil Howe and William Strauss have written a book: The Fourth Turning that discusses how social events in United States and the world evolve in generational cycles.  These cycles, in turn, identify four generational types and reoccurring mood eras in American history and are applicable to other countries as well. 

In the book they forecast the current era of crises-- the fourth turning-- to begin about 2005 and last until 2025.  David: What does it mean 

turnchange Turnings are not about specific events, but how generations react to the events based on their stages of life. A turning is an era with a characteristic social mood, a new twist on how people feel about themselves and their nation.  It results from the aging of the generational constellation.  A society enters a turning once every twenty years or so, when all living generations begin to enter their next phases of life. We entered this Fourth Turning between 2005 and 2008, with the collapse of the housing market and subsequent financial system implosion. James Quinn brilliantly updates the topic of the Fourth Turning.  His interpretation of how this theory impacts on all the world is one of the best articles on the subject.  This article is well worth reading: Quinn: 4th Am Rev

"According to the theory, the authors say, the crisis will be something that could not have been foreseen 20 years before, and could include [besides war], state secession from the union, tax rebellion, militia violence, a new Constitutional Convention, the president declaring emergency powers, economic depression, an epidemic and mandatory quarantines, martial law, capture of U.S. diplomats by another country, ecological distress, terrorism, altered national borders, perhaps a revolt against corporations or none of the above. All that the authors are certain about is, something is going to change life drastically soon." Lisa's site:

Introduction to Strauss and Howe:

Expansion of Strauss and Howe theory -- Boomers:

The validity of the generational theory is based on a review of the work of other historians and social scientists who had previously identified long cycles in American and European history. The Strauss-Howe cycle of Crises corresponds with long cycles of war identified by such scholars as Arnold J. Toynbee, Quincy Wright, and L.L. Ferrar Jr., William R. Thompson and George Modelski.   Wiki: Gen theory

 Generational Dynamics forecasting methodology 

The fourth turning is part of the theory attempting to explain how social events in United States and the world evolve in generational cycles [ about every 20 years ].  These cycles, in turn, identify four generational types and reoccurring mood eras in American history. 

futurepredictionJohn Zenakis took Generational Theory one step further and created Generational Dynamics as a methodology for forecasting history in 2003.  This forecasting methodology "corrected" the shortcomings in extended generational theory of Strauss and Howe so that it would be valid for all places and times in history.

“Generational Dynamics is based on a simple idea: That societies and nations make mistakes and then learn lessons from those mistakes. But generations grow older, retire and die, and are replaced by new generations who are too young to remember those mistakes and those lessons. When that happens, the mistakes are repeated,” says Xenakis.  Xenakis: Predictions

It's impossible to predict the attitudes or behaviors of any person or any group of politicians, but Xenakis made it possible to predict the attitudes and behaviors of large masses of people, entire generations of people, and how they react to events.

Hundreds of articles, containing specific Generational Dynamics predictions, have been posted on Xenakis' web site: Predictions since 2003. All of those predictions have come true, or are trending true. None has been shown to be false.

 Significance of the fourth turning: 

Neil Howe believes we are headed into what he refers to as a “fourth turning,” a period that is invariably marked by great turmoil and crisis [ for example, fourth turning periods and crises similar to the Great Depression and World Wars I and II. ]

The jury is still out on what exactly will tip the U.S. and global economy over the edge and into the fourth turning – though Casey and Howe speculated in 1997 that a disastrous financial condition of sovereign countries would play a major role.

Generational Dynamics is very important at this time in America’s history because we’ve entered a new “Crisis period.” Ten years ago, all the nation’s senior government, business and educational leaders and managers were from the generation that grew up during World War II, and experienced the trauma of seeing homelessness, starvation and death all around them.  That risk-aversive generation dealt with problems using compromise and containment.

Today, those risk-aversive leaders are gone, retired or dead. Today’s leaders are from the “Baby Boomer generation,” born after World War II with no personal memory of that war. The people in this generation are not risk-aversive. The people in this generation are more likely to be risk-seeking, arrogant, hubristic, narcissistic, and self-assured. That’s why America’s attitudes have changed so much in the last ten years.

Once you understand Generational Dynamics, then you’ll understand how the world works, and about America’s future for the next thirty years. 

There are other happenings in the world that give credibility to Straus and Howe theory and also Xenakis's prediction model.  Special attention should be given to the alarm about Four simultaneous crises peaking at the same time in the world  and the US dollar losing purchasing power.  

The Strauss and Howe theory is based upon the life phases of populations. It is not just applicable to America.  The theory can be applied to all countries and cultures. Xenakis provides information about turnings in many countries. Xenakis: country studies  For example, Moore does an excellent job detailing the Chinese thought process and providing a chart showing the Turnings in Chinese modern history versus the American turnings. Moore: China 4th turning  Based on this research, both China and the US are in a Fourth Turning now. Moore: China 4th turning  Xenakis: China study

 Strauss-Howe generational theory:  Historians William Strauss and Neil Howe, found recurring generational cycles in American history. Strauss and Howe lay the groundwork for the theory in their 1991 book Generations, which retells the history of America as a series of generational biographies going back to 1584.

They noticed that people differed dramatically based on what generation they were in. They found that people who fought in World War II were quite different from people who were raised during World War II, and that those were quite different those who grew up after World War II.  Xenakis: Generational Dynamics

They found that the similarities among people in the same generation outweighed the individual differences, and the differences between people in different generations were usually enormous compared to differences between individuals in the same generation.  Xenakis: Generational Dynamics

Strauss and Howe initially began their book by reading biographies, histories and diaries written throughout American history, passing through colonial times, going back to the original English settlers.

After reading these histories and diaries they came to a startling conclusion that generations following historical "fourth turnings" follow the same pattern as generations of previous turnings; like the sequence of world War I lead to the next world war II crisis.  Xenakis: Generational Dynamics

The authors identified four distinct generational types that are repeated over and over, and are similar to the generations they had studied:  Xenakis: Generational Dynamics  Wiki: Gen theory

  • Artists, who begin their lives during times of political, moral and spiritual upheaval, become sensitive to society and contribute most via methodical and specialized processes. The Artists are the “Silent Generation,” born in the early years of the Depression, approximately 1925-1942.

    Prophets, marked by vision, values and religion, who are “principled moralists, summoners of human sacrifice, and wagers of righteous wars,” having been “nurtured with increasing indulgence by optimistic adults in a secure environment.” Mssrs. Strauss and Howe assign this archetype to the Baby Boomers, the post WWII generation of 1943-1960.

    The Nomads follow, familiar to most as the Generation X-ers of 1961-1981, entering adulthood with hands-on pragmatism, zest, independence and a preference of simplicity over the consumptive dispositions of their predecessors.

    Heroes succeed the Nomads as they are “nurtured by increasingly pessimistic adults in an insecure environment.” As society unravels and institutions decay, the strengthening of collective social environments is undertaken. In Western culture, this Hero generation is familiar as the Millennial Generation, continuing from the early 1980’s until present-day.

The authors also identified four distinct generational types that are repeated over and over, and are similar to the generations they had studied.  Wiki: Gen theory

  • The Hero Generation. Like America's G.I. generation, these are the young men and women that fight in a crisis period. After the crisis ends, they become society's powerful civic leaders who build new institutions that promote social order and productive activity. They become hubristic, and in their elder years, they're attacked politically by their children in the Prophet generation.
  • The Artist Generation. Like America's Silent generation, they grow up as children during the crisis period, come of age as sensitive young adults, and grow old becoming indecisive but empathetic leaders.
  • The Prophet Generation. Like America's Baby Boomers, they're born after the crisis period, and grow up in the glow of success. In the case of the Boomers, they grew up at a time when America had beaten the Nazis and had beaten the Depression. The Prophets grow up into narcissistic adults who challenge the authority of their parents, the Heroes. In midlife they become moralistic, and end up as the wise elders leading the society into a new crisis period.
  • The Nomad Generation. These people grow up in the shadow the Prophets, and don't get along with them very well. They become alienated young adults, with a high incidence of crime and drug abuse, but mellow into pragmatic midlife leaders during a crisis period.  Xenakis: Generational Dynamics

 Theory background:  

The validity of the generational theory is based on a review of the work of other historians and social scientists who have similarly identified long cycles in American and European history. The Strauss-Howe cycle of Crises corresponds with long cycles of war identified by such scholars as Arnold J. Toynbee, Quincy Wright, and L.L. Ferrar Jr., William R. Thompson and George Modelski.   Wiki: Gen theory 

Generational Dynamics, founded by Xenakis, is based on Generation Theory  developed by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, in their ambitious work, The Fourth Turning (1997). They look at 400 years of Anglo-American history against a template of four twenty-year generational groups, The Artist, Hero, Nomad, and Prophet,  in four twenty-year cycles of  Eras, the length of a human lifespan.  The Eras are Crisis, Austerity, Awakening, and Unraveling. Each generation has characteristics and themes that propel them diagonally through their place in history, along with their generational cohorts. The Artists are the Homelanders, age 8 and younger; the Heroes are the Millennials, ages 9 to 28; the Nomads are Gen X, ages 29 to 46; and the Boomers, ages 47 - 65 are the current Prophets. 

Value crises in America's past:  Each of the past three Crises resolved aggravating value struggles that had been building up over the prior saeculum [100 year cycle]. The American Revolution resolved the eighteenth-century struggle between commerce and citizenship. The Civil War resolved the early-nineteenth century struggle between liberty and equality. The New Deal resolved the industrial-era struggle between capitalism and socialism.  Savich: 4th Turning & Corporations

Length of crises:  The duration of the crises is approximate and not fixed. Peter Savich shows that history is indeed "speeding up". But speeding up to where?   A student of The Fourth Turning, Peter Savich, predicts that the coming crisis will be between people and corporations.  Savich: 4th Turning & Corporations

Doug Casey did an interview with Neil Howe in 2010 and you can download and read more about the about the contents of Strauss-Howe book.

Conclusion:  Numerous looming crises may be incubating now in many parts of the world, like the revolutions in Egypt, Libya and other parts of the world and the economic-derivatives crash of 2008.  We may be somehow linked [ e.g. oil ] to the mid-east crises, be part of the crisis and not be aware of it. One thing is for sure ... our fossil dependent life style is unsustainable. We are spending money we do not have!   We are headed for a crisis that is sounding a siren warning that we can hear, but as yet, cannot see the car [ crisis ] about to crash into us!"  Smith: We're in trouble 

There are at least four potential crises unfolding since 2010 throughout the world. For more info about this go to:   Major crises in world


Atkinson Gerald L., "Chaos Theory and the Fourth Turning," 11 September 2001  Atkinson: Chaos and fourth turning

David, "The Fourth Turning: What Does It Tell Us About The Future?"   David: What does it mean

Diamond Jared, "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," Wikipedia.  Diamond: survival of socities

Diamond identifies five factors that contribute to collapse: climate change, hostile neighbors, collapse of essential trading partners, environmental problems, and failure to adapt to environmental issues.

Diamond: Why societies collapsed:

Film, "Generation Zero: The Truth About the Financial Meltdown," [documentary film written and directed by Stephen K. Bannon and produced by David Bossie for Citizens United], The film examines the causes of the economic collapse of September 18, 2008. Film: Gen Zero

Galland David, "Dirty Jobs and Fourth Turning," Casey's Daily Dispatch,  Galland: future jobs

Inman Phillip and Patrick Kingsley,"The Film “Inside Job” : on how bankers caused the financial crisis,", February 19, 2011.  Inman: bankers caused meltdown 2008 "The film Inside Job brilliantly exposes the corruption in US banking that led to the 2008 crash. We ask four bankers for their verdict on this damning indictment of their world." 

Kavanagh Michael, "Jared Diamond’s Collapse traces the fates of societies to their treatment of the environment," Grist, February 8, 2005.   Kavanagh: Info about Diamond

McLoughlin William G., Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform, [Paperback] ( History of American Religion) University of Chicago press, 1980.  McLoughlin  McLoughlin:Third awakening

"In Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform, McLoughlin draws on psychohistory, sociology, and anthropology to examine the relationship between America's five great religious awakenings and their influence on five great movements for social reform in the United States. He finds that awakenings (and the revivals that are part of them) are periods of revitalization born in times of cultural stress and eventuating in drastic social reform. Awakenings are thus the means by which a people or nation creates and sustains its identity in a changing world."

Moore L.E., "China's Fourth Turnings," The Burning Platform, January 23, 2011.   Moore: China 4th turning

Quinn James, "The Fourth American Revolution," The Market Oracle," January 20, 2011.   Quinn: 4th Am Rev

Quinn James, "The Fourth Turning - Skies Darkening," Financial Sense, September 01, 2010.  Quinn: dark skies

Savich Peter, "Fourth Turning predicts People vs. Corporations," Scribed, 2003  Savich: 4th Turning & Corporations

Smith Charles Hug, "4 CYCLES CONVERGING = WE’RE IN BIG TROUBLE11," The Burning Platform, February 19, 2011.   Smith: We're in trouble

Strauss William and Neil Howe, "The Fourth Turning," Life Course Associates, Broadway Books, 1997   Strauss: Book summary

van Leeuwen Dean and Graeme Codrington, "Generations in Crisis," November 2008.  van Leeuwen

Wikipedia, "Generations (book)."  Wiki: Generations book

Wikipedia, "William Strauss and Neil Howe," Wikipedia. Wiki: Info The fourth turning

Wikipedia, "Strauss-Howe generational theory."   Wiki: Gen theory

Xenakis John J., "Chapter 10 - Strauss and Howe's Fourth Turning Model," Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's," General Dynamics,  Xenakis: Generational Dynamics

Xenakis John J., "Generational Dynamics Country Studies," Generational Dynamics.   Xenakis: country studies

Xenakis John J., "Generational Country Study: China," Generational Dynamics.  Xenakis: China study

Xenakis John J., ,"List of major Generational Dynamics predictions," 2003.  Xenakis: Predictions

Crisis length: There is evidence that the length of crises may be speeding up [ as compared to the earlier posting listed as the major American crises, including the beginning and ending years of those crises, as identified by Strauss & Howe ]. Also, these authors predict that the next crisis - the "Millennial Crisis" - will start around the year 2005. Assuming that this prediction proves correct, and then subtracting the ending year of one crisis from the beginning year of the next crisis, Savich arrived at the following crisis duration list:  Savich: 4th Turning & Corporations
82 years from the War of the Roses to the Spanish Armada Crisis
81 years from the Spanish Armada Crisis to the Glorious Revolution
69 years from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution
66 years from the American Revolution to the Civil War
64 years from the Civil War to the Great Depression and World War II
59 years from Great Depression and World War II to the Millennial Crisis