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Neil Howe is a renowned author and speaker on economic, demographic, and social change in America. He is the nation’s leading authority on social generations—who they are, what motivates them, and how they will shape America’s future. Howe is the originator of the term “Millennial Generation” and has written over a dozen books on generations and generational research, a field of research he single-handedly invented. His landmark 1997 book The Fourth Turning (co-authored with the late William Strauss), has become an indispensable lens for viewing world political history.

Howe is also a recognized authority on global aging, long-term fiscal policy, and migration. He served as Senior Policy Advisor to Blackstone Group and has testified on entitlement reform many times before Congress.

Howe is currently the Managing Director of Demography at Hedgeye Risk Management and a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he helps lead the Global Aging Initiative.

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About James Howard Kunstler

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James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

9 Responses to “KunstlerCast 295 — Chatting with Neil Howe: How Is “The Fourth Turning” Turning Out?”

  1. Walter B September 13, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

    Another great discussion, thank you for sharing. Your original question of what is happening to our nation and where are we going was never really answered, at least IMHO. And since you asked, har, har, I will venture a guess and say that just like the 100′ tall tulip poplar tree on the mountainside, we have grown to our limit and will soon be uprooted by foul weather and then slam into the forest floor with a great crashing sound. It is the way of this plane of existence. Birth from seed, growth, maturity, senility and then death. Everything here is subject to the same cycle of life including the institutions of man.

    Yes, everyone has become fat and happy. The Baby Boomers, of which I am a tail ender, who are the first American generation to have had far too many have everything handed to them without effort, have decayed into incompetent rulers that have no solutions to any problems (PC), who have spent the assets of their own spawn in their attempts to keep the happy train running, and who are soon to see that incompetence results in failure. Yes Jim, there is nowhere to go but down.

    There will be NO champion to save US, and if it even appears that one may have arrived some day in the future, I must remind us all that it was even so when Herr Hister appeared on the scene was it not? If we do in fact see the emergence of a Maebus, well I for one shall run to the hills. Oh wait, I am already there. Good luck people, history is unfolding before us and it gets a lot worse before it gets better.

    • routersurfer September 14, 2017 at 9:26 am #

      Enjoy the hills. History is a bitch beyond control.

    • Doug October 16, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

      Trump is clearly the Grey Champion. Duh!

  2. routersurfer September 14, 2017 at 9:18 am #

    This podcast left me cold. At Jim’s urging I have read The Fourth at least three times. Will pick it back up again in a year or two. I am a firm believer one must be ready for a book and with this work– I may not be. I see no way to overcome oil. At this time a switch to nuclear would rank as a bigger mistake than Global Warming . Fried by carbon or fried by RADS who cares? China is looking to end the age of oil trading in US dollars and it looks like Russia, Iran, Iraq, India and all of Africa agree. Some of the gold bugs are still on a rant about the strong dollar. I think they do not see what they are not looking for. My house in Florida is still standing, but I am not sure Western Civilization will be for long. The rot is from within. As a nation we refuse to see the changes coming and act in a way to protect our citizens–the first order of any sane government. The vultures overhead are real and not black swans. Peak Oil info hit us in the 1950’s. I was a late comer to this fact but had it on my mind since 1967. To say it hit America’s collective mind in the early 2000’s shows we should all read the great book ENTERTAINING OURSELVES TO DEATH by Neil Postman.

  3. Bro Jobe September 15, 2017 at 7:35 am #

    Howe offers a rebuke to JHK’s stereotyping Millennial college kids dominating campus life as “Maoists.” Yes, campus activists are more vocal and radical than anyone from my Generation, X. But these Millennials are a minority.

    I see more fragility and cowering among the college populace. I don’t, however, teach at Berkeley.

    As an Xer, I appreciate Howe’s damning-with-faint-praise approach to us. Yeah, we are tired out now but we are used to being ignored. Let the kids try to sort it out. They are going to have their communitarian hearts broken.

  4. notthere56 September 29, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

    I greatly appreciate your wisdom and insight into humanity, culture, technology, and history. Your knowledge far outstrips mine. However, I was quite disappointed at your smug, appalling, ahistorical equivalence between nazi sympathizers and those protesting them. Do you really think there’s no difference? I oppose violence as a way of achieving change, and I do not support the TINY number of so-called “antifa” who seem bent on disrupting peaceful protest. But to claim that protesting fascists is no different from the fascists is to ignore the warnings of history. Fascism is on the march NOW, and we ignore it at great peril.

  5. Ken S October 13, 2017 at 10:30 pm #

    Thank you, Mr. Howe, for reviving the ‘thinking class’ meme; those who uniformly oppose Pr. Trump. Hard to remember now. Calls to mind a forgotten time, now receding into the shadows, before the Clinton sell-out, the yawning void left in the wake, before the slow birthing of a media icon, spawned by same morally rudderless boob-tube media conglomeration now blaming Russian infiltration of Pokémon for Hillary Clinton’s flame out. Oh yes, that same ‘thinking class’, busy punishing other academics with the vengeful wrath of sensitive ‘liberal’ harassment, those who dare to speak in opposition to any of the ideological nonsense being pedaled to students as truth.

    Mr. Howe, ignorantly underestimating, and insulting, half the electorate with a falsely superior air is a prima fascia overestimate of your own ability to think clearly. By chance, did you have any part in the Clinton campaign? The political bumbling of the Democratic establishment is directly responsible for the ascendency of Donald Trump. He is filling the vast void left where substantive liberal thought forms once resided; before being replaced with an array of ineffectual liberal fashion statement causes, now used as cover for blatant ‘pay to play’ corruption. Stop blaming the mirror Mr. Howe.

    I appreciate the interview Jim, as it provided great insight into the anti-Trump psychosis. It revealed the perceptual distortion at the root of the resulting cognitive dysfunction. But most of the conclusions were vacuous and not particularly useful or actionable. Can we get a legitimate, true centrist, strategic ‘thinker’ like yourself on next time?

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  6. drdream October 16, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    I love words, wordplay, and painting with words. At one point in the discussion JHK reflects on the “machinations and interventions of banking authorities [amounting to] a massive swindling of the public.” Afterwards, Howe explains what the CAPE ratio is, CAPE of course being acronymical for CYCLICALLY ADJUSTED PRICE EARNINGS, an influential valuation metric formulated by Robert Schiller. Today due to the FED the CAPE ratio is very high, primarily due to FED meddling.

    So, I can’t help but think, doesn’t CAPE expose a caper which Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines as “an illegal or questionable act or escapade?” Shouldn’t we rename CAPE to more accurately reflect what’s really going and call it CAPER (CYCLICALLY ADJUSTED PRICE EARNINGS RATIO)?” Can’t we be honest and say that CAPER, the metric, reveals the naked emperor for what he is, a swindler hell bent on mischievous capers? Just askin.


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