WIRED Book Review Reveals Telling Prediction

19th June 2005 · Last updated: 5th October 2016

In WIRED Issue 5.04, dated April 1997, Peter Schwartz reviews The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe. The book deals with a "fourth great crisis" due in American history. Of course at the time this was yet to occur. Only I would like to now add emphasis to four words in a quotation from the review below, which I think you'll agree proved rather telling:

"Looking ahead, the authors predict a coming fourth turning, an era of secular upheaval in which the 'values régime' will overthrow the old order (around 2005).
     The form and outcome of this coming crisis are uncertain, according to Strauss and Howe. Its trigger could be a domestic economic collapse, a war on terrorism, a plague, or international political chaos, and the US response will be in the hands of the boomers and Generation X."

I assume "boomers" means "baby boomers". What's also interesting is how the authors perceive the outcome of this crisis:

"'Imbedded in the Crisis climax,' they write, 'will lie a great entropy reversal, that miracle of human history in which trust is reborn.'"

The review mentions that Strauss and Howe base their predictions on a theory of repeating historical cycles. The review ends in an optimistic light, which of course in retrospect now makes it look inaccurate.

"So are we inevitably headed for a crisis in the next decade? The jury is still out. Conditions are there to make it happen. But even Strauss and Howe acknowledge that cycles are imprecise and that the crisis might not come for another few decades. You don't need to seek shelter from the coming storm just yet."