If you do not understand what is written about in this blog, then you may remain clueless about the coming events of the next dozen years; it all revolves around The Fourth Turning. The Wall Street Journal said of the book, The Fourth Turning: “One of the best efforts to give us an integrated vision of where we are going.”
[NOTE: long blog… print it out.]
President Donald Trump and (his primary strategist) Steve Bannon are integral to this story, perhaps somehow destined to be in their current positions of power… at least they believe this to be true. Half of the people in the United States hate everything about the election of Donald Trump and half of the people love everything about it. As a nation we are divided 50/50 and very few people walk the middle line between the two.
I want to begin by re-stating that I am not taking a political position on the recent U.S. election. I’m one of those dreaded moderates and therefore willing to take a hard look at the viewpoints of all political parties or candidates. Taking the middle road certainly eliminates a lot of fear and handwringing. So, despite me sounding like a Democrat, one of my favorite Presidents was Republican George H. W. Bush (Bush-41) and this is because he was a moderate (and he didn’t attempt to destroy the environment).
Below is a snippet taken from the February 26, 2017 Wall Street Journal on “economic confidence.” The euphoric Republican win in late 2016, with the economy near its peak high, is the total mirror image of late 2008 when the Democrats took office as the financial crisis was at its peak of turmoil:
I need to start this blog by saying that some recent events have me a bit concerned, such as President Trump’s February 7th 3:00 AM call to his (then) National Security Advisor, Mike Flynn, as to whether or not it is a strong Dollar or a weak Dollar that is good for the U.S. economy. I was also concerned when I recently heard Trump say that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was “below zero-percent” (which is literally impossible… it’s like saying that you got on the scale and that you weigh less than zero pounds) and again two weeks ago when he said that the un-employment rate is “currently at 42%” (>2x worse than the Great Depression). It wasn’t too long ago that Trump seriously suggested that the U.S. could borrow lots of money from foreigners and then default on its debt, keeping the cash and then declaring a national bankruptcy. And on the evening of February 22nd, he suggested that he really didn’t have tax or healthcare plans at all and would just leave it up to the Republican Congress to send him something to sign.
And then there is this: A snippet taken from an article headline on Yahoo Finance on February 21, 2017. Following President Bill Clinton’s earlier example, President Donald Trump plans to change the way that growth in the economy is calculated in order to make the U.S. economy look rosier during his term:
We seem to have entered a brave new world where literally anything that is repeated often enough becomes truth, regardless of its merits. And a celebrity (or leader) is anyone that has been viewed repeatedly on our little screens and they are worshipped at a level never before seen. They become our “friends” and we love them and want to be a part of their gang… and “when you’re a celebrity, they will let you do anything, you can grab…” and they could even “go out and shoot someone and not lose any voters.” I was not surprised to see Kid Rock recently announce that he will be running for the Michigan Senate seat in 2018… he’s certainly qualified.
? With all that is now happening at hyper-speed, we must remember that, when viewing over a longer term, stocks represent partial ownership in corporations and their price moves on fundamentals & corporate earnings and not on politics or news or beliefs or emotions or fear or even Tweets or war. Stocks have been recently moving up because of improved fundamentals and earnings. Period. Even when President Kennedy was assasinated, and I can tell you that this was terrible, the stock market went higher and higher because of strong fundamentals and strong earnings. ?
In a recent blog, I wrote that one could not understand Donald Trump’s thinking without first understanding Steve Bannon. It is equally impossible to understand Steve Bannon without understanding the book: The Fourth Turning.
Donald Trump’s thinking was formed by three prolonged experiences:
- Donald Trump was sent, by his father, to a very expensive and competitive military academy prep-school because of “bad behavior” (but he was never actually in the military since he obtained repeated draft deferments during the Vietnam War).
- He grew into adulthood and beyond while attending a “prosperity church” where the continual message was that “Jesus wants you to be rich.”
- He moved into older age by completely and totally embracing the teachings in the book: The Fourth Turning, as interpreted by his own personal version of Oliver Cromwell: Steve Bannon
The Fourth Turning is the attempt by two scholars, William Strauss and Neil Howe, to put a timeframe on cyclical world events, a sort of Generational Theory. It stems from their observation that history tends to repeat (because humans never learn) and then using pattern recognition to organize these repeating historical events. The theory is that world events constantly revolve around 80 year cycles (roughly the 80 year length of a typical human life) that can be broken into the 4 different 20 year periods (the 20 year length of time that it takes for a new generation to arrive on the scene) and then the 80 year cycle starts over again, as always. The length of the cycles actually vary, but are generally close to 80 and 20 years and they fit the pattern fairly well. The 20 year periods can be either mild or extreme, based on how we act and react. Wars are sprinkled throughout the four periods (since humans naturally form into tribes that are war prone against “other” tribes) but wars are more likely during the CRISIS period.
The four 20 year long periods are:
- HIGH… society functions as a group to create strong institutions and to restore order out of the chaos that was created by the destructive CRISIS (as in the Great Depression and WWII) that occurrred at the end of the prior 80 year cycle (IE, Greatest Generation). This is the period of Spring.
- AWAKENING… tired of the restraints, a new generation strives toward art and free thinking and the spirituality of the individual (IE, Hippie Generation. Yes, it was great!). This is the period of Summer.
- UNRAVELING… society just wants to have fun while being sick of the extremes of the two prior periods; people generally become cynics and even have a weak civic ethic and poor manners (IE, Culture Wars of the 1980s and 1990s, the Non-voting Generation). This is the period of Fall.
- CRISIS… destruction of the cycle, usually involving