Why the US Is Headed into Its Fourth Turning

Another wonderful and insightful articles from Doug Casey- With an element of prophecy as to what the future holds.. An interesting read.

Gerard O’Donovan

International Man: The economic, political, social, and cultural situation seems to have become increasingly volatile in the United States and more broadly in the West. Is this a unique situation or part of a recurring historical cycle?

Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe introduced a popular theory in their book, The Fourth Turning, outlining the recurring generational cycles that have occurred throughout American history.

What are your thoughts?

Doug Casey: I read Strauss and Howe’s first book, Generations, when it came out back in 1992. I thought it was brilliant.

Let me start off by recommending both Generations and The Fourth Turning to everybody. Both books offer quite a scholarly, readable, and prescient view of the cyclicality of history. And offer a very plausible forecast for the 2020s.

History’s best seen as cyclical, rather than a straight-line progress to some preordained end the way both the Marxists and the Abrahamic religions see it. But then, Ecclesiastes has its famous quote that there’s nothing new under the sun.

Plato in the Republic talks about how the younger generation—and we’re talking fourth century BC—can’t stand up to the moral values of their forefathers.

Older people have always thought that the younger generation wouldn’t quite measure up. In recent American history, you’ll recall, the younger generation were the beatniks in the ’50s, the hippies in the ’60s, and the yuppies in the ’80s—so it’s a passing parade. Older people have a tendency to think the world is going downhill. Nothing new there. But there’s always a rebirth.

Niccolò Machiavelli, in his Florentine Histories, said:

Virtue gives birth to tranquility, tranquility to leisure, leisure to disorder, disorder to ruin… and similarly from ruin, order is born, from order virtue, from virtue, glory and good fortune.

The bottom line is that societies arise from poverty through moral strength—and that brings them prosperity. But that prosperity brings on arrogance, and the arrogance brings on laziness, which brings on weakness and moral decline. Then they’re reduced to a condition of slavery and poverty again. Change is the only constant—except in human nature.

As I look at the United States, it seems to me the peak of American culture was the time just before Teddy Roosevelt came into office. Teddy is certainly among the top five worst presidents. And there’s plenty of competition for that title.

He was the first real “progressive” president; he wanted the government actively involved in all areas of life.

Now, that’s not to say that Teddy Roosevelt wouldn’t have been a really great drinking pal, a wonderful guy to go camping with, a fun guy to have an intellectual conversation with. He had a lot of admirable personal values. But he was a nationalist, a statist, and a warmonger. That’s why I say he was a horrible president.

The long-term trend of US overseas imperialism started with the Spanish–American War and the building of an overseas American empire in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Hawaii—followed by World War I.

The US has gone from being noninterventionist to now having many hundreds of bases around the world and trying to give orders to every other country in the world. That kind of arrogance always ends badly.

As a civilization—a culture—the US has been on an accelerating path downhill for about 120 years now. That’s true even while science and technology have greatly increased the general standard of living. It’s a mistake to conflate a higher standard of living with higher moral values—that’s what Machiavelli was talking about.

I question whether that trend will change—at least until we have a genuine crisis. Why not? Because a lot of the way a society acts comes from the way kids are brought up—the values that are inculcated in them when they’re young. And increasingly, kids are taught what I would call the wrong values.

Saint Ignatius said this in the 17th century, and Lenin repeated it in the 20th century. They both said that if you indoctrinate someone in his youth, chances are you’ve directed his worldview for the rest of his life.

Cultural Marxists are now totally in control of the US educational system, and have been for a couple of generations. That’s absolutely the case in the colleges and universities but also in the high schools and even in the grade schools. Kids are being taught to be socialists, ecowarriors, social justice warriors, and “woke” from an early age. It’s really serious.

And it’s not a cyclical phenomenon. This is one of the few areas in which I take some issue with The Fourth Turning. The trend towards collectivism and statism seems to be a secular long-term trend that’s still accelerating.

There are a few bright spots. Libertarians, for instance, are somewhat more prominent than in the past. But the fact that libertarians believe in personal freedom, in the face of a societal trend in the opposite direction, makes me tend to believe they’re actually genetic mutants. They’re just a small percentage of the population, whose nature has resisted the prevailing nurture.

I say that, only partially because of my own experience. I grew up in what could—jokingly—be called a cannibalistic death cult and was imbued with all kinds of strange notions by nuns and priests at the schools that I went to. I rejected them intuitively and intellectually, but they still stick to you like tar. It can take years to wash off the effects of early indoctrination.

I’m more of a maverick than most people are, however. Most just continue to believe what they’re taught as kids, reflexively and automatically—right or wrong. So I don’t think there’s really much hope of a serious change in the direction of American culture. At least until a major crisis—and the outcome of that is in doubt


International Man
: OK. That’s the long-term trend. Where are we in the generational cycle now? Are we moving into the fourth turning and headed for a crisis?

Doug Casey: Strauss and Howe take a cyclical point of view over the course of roughly 80 years, four generations.

To very briefly summarize their theory, there are four “turnings”: a “high,” an “awakening,” an “unraveling,” and a “crisis.”

Over the last couple of decades, we’ve been undergoing the unraveling, where old values fall apart. Next, Strauss and Howe predicted a crisis, starting about 2015, which tests the very existence of the society. Or at least the way it’s run.

They go beyond seeing generations as being simply “liberal” or “conservative.” According to Strauss and Howe, there are four generational archetypes that last over a cycle of 80 years—20 years per generation—corresponding to the “turnings.”

Without going into all the details, they see the baby boomers as being a “Prophet” Generation. The authors are ideologically oriented—fire and brimstone types—very much like Bernie Sanders on the left and Donald Trump on the right. Kind of biblically apocalyptic by nature.

They were quite correct in defining the Generation X types as the so-called “Nomad” Generation. These are kids who learned to take care of themselves—and are not so ideological in the way they think.

The Millennials are who are relevant at the moment. They correspond, in Strauss and Howe’s view, to the World War II generation. They’d be the frontline soldiers in the coming crisis and conflicts.

International Man: What happens after a crisis? Is there a positive way forward?

Doug Casey: Historically, the answer is, “Almost never”—in the short run. The best recent example is the French Revolution. It got worse with Robespierre—a Bernie Sanders of the era—followed by Napoleon. Or take the case of the Russian revolution. As necessary as it was to get rid of Nicholas II, it got worse with Lenin, and then it got even worse with Stalin. But even in those cases, France and Russia recovered.

If it all comes unglued in the US over the next decade, those two revolutions could be templates. Look at the way leading Democrats think, and listen to what they’re saying. They’re echoing Robespierre and Lenin.

The Republicans aren’t much better, because although they sometimes talk the talk of peace and personal freedom, they almost never walk the walk. The two major US parties—and people in the Red counties and the Blue counties—seem to really hate each other.

It’s quite ugly sociologically. There are irreconcilable differences. They’re exacerbated by the fact we’re headed for a financial blow up. There’s no doubt about that.

Some years ago, there was a poll taken among Generation X types. It turned out that more of them believed that space aliens were going to invade than that they were ever going to collect Social Security. People have very little faith in “the system” anymore, the society, or the government.

If we go back to the beginning of the 20th century, the country really wasn’t very political at all. People worried about their own lives, their own families, and their own local communities. Americans shared a common culture, beliefs, and values—that’s no longer true. Now the country has become very politicized—everybody has a loud voice and they use votes as weapons against their neighbors. It’s become a nation of nasty busybodies.

That makes me think the next upset will be something like a revolution. It’s likely to be really ugly, because we’re looking, simultaneously, at an economic catastrophe, political chaos, and a social and demographic upset—and probably a military situation as well. Government often sees war as a way to unite the country.

So, what’s going to happen?

I’ll hazard a guess that 50 years from now, the United States and, for that matter, most countries are not going to exist in anything like their present form. The best solution is a peaceful break up into smaller political subdivisions. As opposed to a civil war—which is a contest between one or more groups for the control of a central government.

Editor’s Note: Economically, politically, and socially, the United States seems to be headed down a path that’s not only inconsistent with the founding principles of the country but accelerating quickly toward boundless decay.

It’s contributing to a growing wave of misguided socialist ideas.

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Going the Way of the Denarius

Another insightful and prophetic articles from Geoff Thomas highlighting what may be coming down the line regarding digital currencies and of course the endemic failures and corruption of most governments.

Gerard O’Donovan

History repeats. (Or it rhymes, depending on your choice of words.)

Throughout history, there has been an extraordinary tendency for governments (and cultures) to follow similar paths. Even regarding eras thousands of years apart, we see people behaving in much the same way, over and over. This is particularly true in the case of “wrong moves.” Over and over, people and their governments make the same mistakes, seemingly never learning from past errors.

Why should this be? In fact, how is this even possible? Surely, if a government in the 21st century were to make egregiously bad decisions, they are unlikely to be the same bad decisions that were made in, say, Rome, in the 4th century.

The reason, in two simple words, is “human nature.” Human nature remains the same throughout time. Two thousand years ago, governments were typically made up of egotistical, self-centred dictatorial types, who were far more concerned with their own power than in the general welfare of their people. Today, politics remains a magnet for such people. They therefore will revert to type when faced with the very same problems.

Should we cut spending to give the taxpayers a break? No, we should increase taxation and give more to ourselves.

If we spend more than we receive in taxes, should we cut back our expenditures, or should we go into debt? We’ll go into debt, and put the debt on the shoulders of the taxpayers.

If the debt grows to be beyond what can ever be repaid, should we cut back expenditures, or should we allow the economy to collapse? Well, we’re sorry to see the economy collapse, but rather than deny ourselves, get out the fiddle and let Rome burn.

The denarius was the coin of the realm during the centuries when Rome was a republic. Although the gold solidus was used as a storage of wealth, the silver denarius was equal in value to a day’s wages for a common labourer and, as such, was more useful as the primary unit of exchange. During this time, it was a stable currency. However, as Rome turned into an empire, all that conquest in foreign lands became extremely costly and it was decided that one way to offset such costs was to devalue the denarius. Each successive emperor added a bit more base metal than the previous one and, by the time of Diocletian, there was no silver in the coin at all, only bronze.

During this same period, Rome experienced dramatic inflation – a predictable outcome when the coin of the realm is degraded. The population was in decline as well.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Modern governments have a tendency to make precisely the same mistakes with regard to currencies. First, empire-building drains the coffers to the point that maintaining a sound economy is no longer possible, then successive “emperors” make the decision to debase the currency in an effort to keep the party going a bit longer.

Of course, “inflating the problem away” never actually works. Just as Rome went into an irreversible decline, so the empire of today is self-destructing, due, in part, to monetary debasement.

So, is the present-day situation identical to fourth-century Rome? Well, not quite. It’s probably safe to say that, had Diocletian figured out that the coin of the realm could be done away with entirely; that is, had he realised he could replace it with paper notes with his picture on them, he might well have done so. Certainly, modern “emperors” have first created redeemable silver certificates, then subsequently supplanted those certificates with notes that were backed by nothing. (At least Diocletian issued bronze coins, whose value, whilst small, was at least real.)

But the modern-day monetary magician has one more rabbit left to pull out of the hat.

Those who believe that the dollar (as well as the euro and other fiat currencies) is on its last legs are inclined to say, “At least, after the collapse of the dollar, there will be no choice but to return to a gold standard. That will put an end to any inflation, plus put the world back on a solid monetary footing.” But this may be wishful thinking.

The U.S. Federal Reserve remains steadfast in its position that precious metals are a barbarous relic. Certainly, from their point of view, this is true. After all, it’s difficult to fiddle with the value of gold, as it retains its intrinsic value. Two thousand years ago, the purchasing power of an ounce of gold was roughly what it is today. And, whilst the average person may prefer the stability of precious metals, governments have a strong dislike for the limitations that this places on them. Governments prefer to be able to fiddle with the value of currency for their own purposes just as the emperors of old did.

What I believe is most likely to occur as the dollar collapses is that the Federal Reserve will “come to the rescue” with a new currency. Not a paper one, that has obvious problems, but one that “solves all the problems of paper currency.” The new currency may well be more of a credit card – to be used for literally all monetary transactions. And the electronic currency will have an added feature (at least from the point of view of the government). Since it’s electronic, every time the user purchases so much as a candy bar, the purchase is registered in the government data centre. No monetary transaction of any kind can be made, except through the use of the card. (This latter requirement will no doubt be justified as being necessary to control terrorism.)

And the electronic dollar may only be the first of its kind. It should not be surprising if other governments see the benefit of an electronic currency as their sole form of currency and create their own.

So, does this mean that precious metals truly may become the barbarous relic, as governments tell us? Not necessarily. After all, many countries have taken a painful hit as a result of the dollar being the world’s default currency. When the dollar crashes, they will take a further hit. They will not want to recreate that problem by allowing the U.S. to simply begin dealing in a new “ultra-fiat” currency.

Many of the world’s governments are stocking up on yellow metal like never before. It remains to be seen whether they, too, will create their own electronic currencies, whether they will switch to gold-backed currencies, or whether they will attempt a combination of the two.

If, in fact, electronic currency becomes the norm, of one thing we can be sure: The emperors will devalue it, as needed. It will, ultimately, fail and, perhaps sooner, perhaps later, the world will return to the barbarous relic as it has done countless times for the last 5,000 years. The only uncertainty will be when.

Editor’s Note: Wealthy Americans are concerned because the US government is injecting unprecedented amounts of money into the economy.

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This is a Great Example of the CDC’s Real Priorities

Another wonderful article by Simon Black highlighting the dystopian world we currently live in-and the fact that organisations like the CDC are really not fit for purpose.

Gerard O’Donovan

This is a Great Example of the CDC’s Real Priorities

If you haven’t read Michael Lewis’s new book The Premonition: A Pandemic Story, I’d say it’s probably been best described by National Public Radio (NPR) as a “sweeping indictment of the CDC”.

Lewis’s book starts off years before COVID-19, and it tells an extraordinary tale of the CDC’s inner culture: spineless, bureaucratic, and completely out of touch.

I came across a great example of this recently when I was doing some research on autism.

You may be aware that autism– a severe developmental disorder that affects children– has been rising at alarming rates.

The CDC is keenly aware of this; in fact they even set up a special division more than 20 years ago to track autism prevalence in the United States.

According to the agency’s data, for example, autism prevalence back in the year 2000 was about 1 in 150 children. By 2008, autism prevalence had increased to 1 in 88 children.

Then, by 2014, prevalence had increased to 1 in 59 children.

And finally, last year they released the most recent data from 2016 (they seem to be four years behind…) showing a prevalence of 1 in 54 children.

[Plus a 2018 report from the federal government’s Health Resources & Services Administration estimated autism prevalence at 1 in 40 children.]

You don’t need a degree in public health to understand the trend: this is a five alarm fire.

It seems safe to assume that an agency called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be all over this. After all, helping to prevent such a debilitating disorder is sort of in the agency’s name.

But you would be completely astonished to read their most recent ‘Community Report’ on autism.

The report acknowledges, for example, that autism prevalence in the United States has soared. And they state plainly that, even between 2014 and 2016, prevalence increased dramatically.

What is their explanation for this surge in autism among America’s youth?

They say it’s “unclear” and “could be due to a combination of factors”. Yet they don’t bother to list any of those factors or suggest what they might be.

But there is one thing they’re certain about with respect to autism: social justice. Yes I’m serious.

The CDC actually devoted several pages in its report to explain how, for the first time ever, autism rates in 2016 were virtually the same in black children versus white children.

VICTORY FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE!

Honestly I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Even the headline in the press release was about social justice: “CDC finds same autism prevalence in black and white children.

Incredible. There was hardly a mention of how autism is skyrocketing out of control. Nope. To the CDC, the important headline here is that black and white kids both get autism at the same rate.

And this way of thinking really highlights the culture that Michael Lewis describes in his book: they’re completely out of touch.

To put this in a financial context, the CDC announced earlier this year that they were allocating a whopping $16 million… over a five year period… to autism research.

By comparison, the agency spent more than $100 million on a visitor center, complete with waterfalls and a Japanese garden.

Yet despite being so out of touch, no one is allowed to question the CDC’s infinite wisdom. Anyone who does is accused of disinformation. You’re censored. Deplatformed.

In fact I imagine Google’s algorithms have already buried this heresy under an avalanche of propaganda.

But censorship never changes the truth. And the truth is that, at least with respect to autism, the CDC doesn’t appear to be doing its job.

It’s extremely difficult to look at this autism trend and to read these reports, and then conclude that the CDC has a firm grasp of the situation.

But I’m sure autism is the only example…

To your freedom,

Simon Black,
Founder, SovereignMan.com

Does anyone honestly believe that inflation is ‘transitory’ anymore?

Another great article by Simon Black highlighting the fact that we live in a dictatorship world-with governments determined to wreck small businesses- we literally are right now Starting the —Fight of Our Lives-

Gerard O’Donovan

In the early summer of 1514, Spanish conquistador Ponce de Leon returned home to the court of King Ferdinand as a hero.

De Leon was among the first of Spain’s conquistadors to discover gold– right here in Puerto Rico. And that was enough for him to be knighted and bestowed all sorts of royal honors.

By that time, Europe had been suffering a shortage of gold and silver for nearly a century; mines and mints had closed down all across the continent, triggering what economic historians call ‘The Great Bullion Famine’ in the mid 1400s.

So the supply of money, i.e. gold and silver, was essentially stagnant. Technically European money supply was falliwhich you can download hereng, because most European kingdoms ran a trade deficit with Asia and the Middle East.

Yet at the same time, European economies were finally starting to grow again following the consequences of the Black Plague and the Hundred Years War.

English wool production, for example, nearly tripled between the mid 1400s and the early 1500s.

So with more goods and services being produced at a time that money supply was falling, prices declined. This is essentially what deflation is.

Wages, rents, and food prices in Spain, for example, dropped 25% over a century, according to economic historian E.J. Hamilton.

Now that actually sounds pretty good. But to Europe’s rulers, this deflation was a total catastrophe. And it sparked a number of international expeditions to find more gold.

Ponce de Leon was just one of many conquistadors to discover rich mineral deposits in Latin America… and then enslave the local populations to mine them.

The end result was a veritable mountain of gold being transported back to Spain, triggering a flood of new money into Europe’s economies.

Suddenly there was a surge in the money supply… yet roughly the same amount of goods and services being produced.

You can probably imagine what happened next: inflation.

These are clearly simple concepts; it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in economics to understand that, when you flood the financial system with money, it’s going to have an impact on prices.

That was true in Spain in the 1500s. And it’s true today as well.

Earlier this year when the government announced sharply higher inflation for the month of March, the Federal Reserve deemed the inflation to be ‘transitory’.

That was six months ago. Inflation has surged even higher since then.

It’s not hard to understand why.

First off– the Fed expanded the money supply last year more than in any other year in US history except for 1943. That’s obviously going to have an impact.

At the same time, the government forced businesses to close… and then paid people to stay home and NOT work.

So essentially we had a LOT more money in the system, but far fewer goods and services being produced.

This has predictably created substantial inflation.

Here’s what’s really interesting, though. In its announcement yesterday, the Fed tacitly acknowledged this big inflation problem.

They understand that their zero interest rate policy and their bonanza of money printing are both driving prices higher.

They also understand that inflation is a MAJOR concern.

But then they essentially said, “Yeah, we’ll get to it in a couple of months.”

This was astonishing.

To give you an example, the Fed has been engaged in a ‘bond buying’ program… which means that they’re flooding the financial system with $120 billion per month in new money.

This is definitely a major factor that contributes to inflation.

Yet according to its announcement yesterday, the Fed is not even going to START the process of terminating this program until November. And even then, it will take them until the middle of NEXT YEAR before it’s been fully wound up.

What’s more, the Fed suggests that they might start raising interest rates by the end of 2022… and only HALF of the voting members think that’s a good idea.

Unreal. Inflation is surging near multi-decade highs. But they won’t even start the process to fix it for a couple of months, and might not do anything meaningful at all.

There are other factors as well to consider.

Competition, for example, is a great counterbalance to inflation.

Vigorous competition encourages businesses to deliver the highest quality products at the lowest possible price. And this is how the free market helps keep inflation in check.

But take a moment to reflect on US economic priorities:

They put a Socialist in charge of the Senate Budget Committee. They forcibly closed countless businesses during the pandemic.

They fanned the flames of hysteria to make people terrified to go to work. They spent hundreds of billions of dollars to pay people to stay home and NOT work.

And now, even though so many companies are struggling to find employees willing to work, they’re forcing businesses to lay off 90+ million unvaccinated workers.

If that weren’t enough, they’re trying to raise taxes on business and investment income, creating even more disincentives.

Hunter Biden’s dad insists that he’s a capitalist. But these are all EXTREMELY anti-competitive, anti-capitalist policies.

Stifling competition chips away at one of the last major counterbalances to inflation… at a time when the Federal Reserve is in absolutely no hurry to reverse its inflationary policies.

Does anyone honestly believe inflation will be transitory?

Ironically, even the Fed doesn’t believe it. Because in their updated economic projections, they quietly revised their 2022 inflation forecast notably higher.

If you’d like to hear more about this, take a listen to our Freedom Podcast today, which you can download here.

To your freedom,

Simon Black,
Founder,  Sovereign Man