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The End of the Beginning or the Beginning of the End?

The End of the Beginning or the Beginning of the End?

I don’t consider myself superstitious or paranoid, but this past week I’ve had a rare combination of bad omens, sleepless nights (I *never* have sleep issues), and intuitions that have left me convinced we may truly be at the cusp of “The Fourth Turning” – a sort of generational reset – where the coronavirus serves as the catalyst that sparks mass societal changes which were already in motion thanks to federal government dysfunction, never ending global monetary stimulus, and declines in traditional media.

The Fourth Turning in Strauss-Howe’s generational theory, or the “Crisis”, is an “an era of destruction, often involving war or revolution, in which institutional life is destroyed and rebuilt in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s survival. After the crisis, civic authority revives, cultural expression redirects towards community purpose, and people begin to locate themselves as members of a larger group.”

I’ll concede there is probably a heavy confirmation bias in paying any attention to Strauss-Howe, given that those who have already gravitated to crypto are much more likely to hold deep personal levels of distrust in our institutions. Still, I find the model a bit eerie in its predictive power given it was proposed 20 years ago. Though it was (is?) derided as pseudo-science by scholars, I find it worth reading up on.

The trillion dollar macro question seems to be whether we are at the “beginning of the end” or the “end of the beginning” of this Fourth Turning, a trite way of considering whether and how big global events like elections, terrorist attacks or wars, massive technological breakthroughs, pandemics, etc. will spark much bigger changes beyond their local peaks.

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