End Cycle

April 19, 2011

Human life does indeed travel in cycles — spring, summer, fall and winter — with birth, youth, middle age and the final and abrupt circuit, death.
History also appears to move in cycles and the one we’re in right now ain’t pretty, portending a future of a poorly-dressed weird.


(Illustration found here).

In 1997, generational sociologists William Strauss and Neil Howe published “The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny,” which although written nearly 15 years ago describes the current US/world situation to a T.
According to the Strauss and Howe precept, history goes through an big change every 20 years or so, when all living generations enter a new phase, “turnings,” and apparently the process has four parts: First, there’s ‘the high;’ then followed by an ‘awakening,’ when new values assert themselves; third, an ‘unraveling,’ and fourth, logically, is the ‘crisis.’
Supposedly, we’re in the fourth right now.
James Howard Kunstler made indirect note of it in his post yesterday at Clusterfuck Nation.
Money bit:

To me, the outcome of all this was clear a while ago: a world made by hand.
Incidentally, watch Japan lead the way, as they give up on the industrial meth trip and return to a traditional society.
Readers think I’m kidding about this.
We’re heading there, too.
The signs are unmistakable.
It’s not as bad you think, either.
We’ll become reacquainted with that fugitive experience, reality.
Disillusion is not the worst thing that can happen to people.
We can re-direct all the effort that we put into gaming our own asses and cast off the awful weight of pretending to be what we no longer are.

Despite this era of clusterfucked reality, Kunstler is optimistic so long as the US can turn the corner.
But can it?

The US has endured three Fourth Turnings — the American Revolution, the Civil War era, the 1929 stock market crash and WWII — and now we’re in the fourth of the Four Turnings (a mouthful), supposedly starting with the Wall Street induced housing/financial system collapse in 2007-2009.
Libertarian Jim Quinn examined the Strauss and Howe plot in a post Sunday at Nolan Chart.
The US and the world is currently in the spring-load of a big event with Quinn writing the problem appears much heavier than in the past.
A few nuggets:

The catalyst for the American Revolution was the Boston Tea Party.
The catalyst for the Civil War was the election of Abraham Lincoln.
The catalyst for the Great Depression was the 1929Stock market crash.
The catalyst for the current Crisis was the housing/financial system collapse.
The catalyst is an event that terminates the brooding mood of the Unraveling and unleashes the fury of a Crisis.
The three previous Crisis periods in American history were driven by different events, but similar generational dynamics.
By closely examining the dynamics and threats that were facing the country during these previous Crisis periods, we may be able to peer into the murky fog of the future and make out the phantoms of events to come.
What we know for sure is every previous Crisis had an economic and fairness dimension that provided the initial spark, triggering a series of events that eventually led to an all encompassing war for survival.

Walt Whitman foresaw vast armies on the march and old orders being swept away by the historic denouements that were rapidly approaching.
But even he couldn’t have foreseen the butchery and tragic deaths of over 600,000 men in the next four bloody years.
The economic dimensions of the current Crisis were foreseeable at least a decade before the Crisis arrived. The Federal Reserve, under the wise supervision of former Ayn Rand disciple Alan Greenspan, progressively blew one bubble after another through its easy money policies.
The Greenspan Put allowed the Wall Street vampire squids to suck the life out of the American economic system without fear of being harpooned for taking financial system endangering leveraged bets.
The financial oligarchs used their influence, power and vast wealth to repeal Glass-Steagall, capture and buy off the rating agencies, neuter the SEC and other regulatory agencies and place their executives in high level government positions.
The ruling wealthy elite again matched their peak take of the national income, just as they did in 1928.

Amidst the financial chaos will be the ever present peak oil issue.
The increasingly high prices and imminent shortages of supply will exacerbate the pain for the American people.
The current War on Terror is really a cover for keeping American troops in the Middle East as a forward vanguard to keep the oil flowing.
The U.S. consumes 7 billion barrels of oil per year and will use all means necessary to keep it flowing.
With a Boomer Prophet leader invoking American manifest destiny, it is likely we will intervene to protect Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait in the name of democracy.
A terrorist incident in the U.S. would provide convenient cover for further intervention in the Middle East.
As with most wars the unintended consequences will overwhelm the best laid plans of politicians and generals.
Further U.S. intervention into an already exploding Middle East will likely spur a larger conflict between Islam and Christianity.
Ground zero could shift to Europe as millions of Muslims have settled there and will not react positively to western powers siphoning oil from Islamic countries in the name of Christianity.
History has taught us that Fourth Turnings end in all out war.
The outcome of wars is always in doubt.

Quinn, however, does not factor in climate change, a game-breaker, ball-buster of an influence.

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