Proviso: I don’t of course agree with everything–or maybe even most of the things–Jim Quinn says. But I do love the passion and intensity and texture of his analysis. He is definitely a worthy contributor. I don’t know his age, but I guess like the rest of you he’s Boomer-Xer cusp.
On the starting date for the Fourth Turning (Crisis) (4T), I believe Bill and I did a column on the 4T site several years ago detailing all the reasons why we thought it did not begin with 9/11. We got some flak at the time, because there were lots of people who *wanted* it to begin then. But to our eye, it was clearly too early. Typically, a new turning begins after all of the living generations begin to move into their new phases of life. In 2001, clearly that hadn’t happened yet: Boomers were not yet retiring, Generation X (born 1961-1981) were not yet taking over any institutions as midlife leaders, Millennial (born 1982-200?) were barely graduating high school, and so on. We predicted that the Third Turning (Unraveling) (3T) mood would yet have an Indian Summer… and so it did. Keep in mind that on the “Hero clock” of the last 4T, we are still not quite due for the 4T to begin. The ’29 Crash happened 28 years after the first G.I. (born 1901-1924) birth year. We will hit that same year for Millennials in… 2010.
All that being said, many are asking me if I think the 4T has yet started. I’m with Mr. Cooper. For nearly a year now, I’ve been saying that a strong case can be made that it started in 2008–with the beginning of an epic financial crash (a 60% decline in the global Dow from peak to trough) and an extraordinary national election that may signal an enduring political realignment and that has, for the time being, put government on a sort of permanent emergency fiscal footing (with 10% of GDP deficits that may only come down slowly if at all). And yes thanks to 911 everyone knows that we are engaged in seemingly endless Asian wars–but now, thanks to the election, they are *bipartisan* wars… and *bipartisan* showdowns over nuts with nukes. We’ve got plenty of moving parts. I think one could say we’ve got sufficient or “critical” mass to call this the beginning of a 4T. The next two or three years must be watched closely. The crucial question, if indeed the 4T is underway, is determining when the “regeneracy” phase of the 4T will begin.
On the question of dating the Homelanders. Let’s assume the Millennials are a 23-year-long generation (perfectly plausible: one year shorter than the GIs, one year longer than the Xers). That would put their last birth year at 2004. Which means the first Homelander birth year is 2005. Let’s now assume that 2008 marks an extended period (ten “lost years” or more) of very poor economic performance–with high unemployment, low capacity and consumer confidence, stagnant global trade, etc.. That would precisely mark the Homeland Generation as the generation having no memory of the Great Boom. All Millennials will recall at least some childhood during the zany ’90s and early oughts; Homelanders not. Exactly in the same manner that all G.I.s could later recall at least some childhood during the Roaring Twenties–but the Silent (born 1925-1942) (born starting in 1925–the oldest were turning four at the Great Crash) could not.
In presentations I do for K-12 teachers and administrators, I am starting to spend more time talking about the Homelanders (they may now be in preschool–and will soon be entering grammar school). And yes they have all the early markings of the Artist archetype. They are heavily protected by their Gen-X moms and dads, who overwhelmingly believe they are raising their kids in a more hands-on, interventionist, kid-safety-comes-first style than they themselves were raised. Just like the Lost Generation, who discovered the behavioralist child-rearing guru John Watson, so too are Xers parents deep into the behavioralism of child-care guides filled with “do’s and dont’s” rules. In our recent book “Millennials and K-12 Schools” (2008), we have a small chapter on the Homelanders. Every day we are expanding our insights. I hope sometime soon to write a longer column on them for all of you.
It’s getting late. Anyway, thanks again for being here. Last weekend I did a three-hour radio show on Coast-to-Coast AM (11 PM to 2 AM Pacific Time), and I was extremely grateful, in the last hour, to get a great number of phonecalls from Boomer (born 1943-1960) and Gen-Xers around the country who first read our books in the early ’90s and have been following us ever since. This was my fourth or fifth show for them–and they will probably soon have me on as a regular (rough hours I know!). I hope to meet you on one of these show. In any case, I can truthfully say that it’s your curiosity, your enthusiasm, and the sharing of your own experiences that has always made this worthwhile for both of us–Bill, while he was still with us, and myself for as long as I am around.