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What belongs exclusively to the current Fourth Turning?
#1
This was a fun topic over on facebook and I thought I would bring it here as well.

Assuming that the Fourth Turning began in 2008, what are some things that belong wholly to this era? Here are some which I can think of.


Smartphones. Specifically, the large touchscreen form factor smartphone that made its famous debut with the first iPhone in the summer of 2007. I remember seeing people that summer that had one. They were few and far between, but they looked like the happiest people I had ever seen, delighted beyond belief with their shiny black rectangles. I got my black mirror in 2014 and I can’t imagine life without it.

Social media. Yes, there were social media sites back in the early 2000s. I am willing to admit that I had a MySpace page. But the big wave of near universal adoption began when Facebook became open to all adults in 2006. It was 2008 when I noticed everyone around me was joining, and I jumped right on that bandwagon. With smartphones making it ever easier to share immediate experiences, there are now multiple services in widespread use.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe. This one belongs squarely in the current era, as Iron Man was released in 2008. Only a few months later, the leaders of the free world were struggling to prevent global economic collapse. Things keep getting messier and messier in the real world, but in the MCU films the good guys always manage to avert catastrophe. At least until the after-credits sequence sets up the next plot twist.
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

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#2
Other people thought of:

Streaming video services. Well of course. In 2009 I bought a house. I got basic cable along with the other utilities. A little later, a got Netflix streaming. I had been using their disc-at-home model for some time. It wasn't long before I cut the cord on that cable. Now I have Hulu and Amazon Prime Video as well. Might as well count Spotify in there. There's never enough time for it all but it is affordable so who cares?

The sharing economy. Platforms like Uber, Lyft, AirBnB. There's not a lot of good data on its extent, but it certainly has been facilitated by the smartphone.

The Occupy Movements. It all started right after the Global Financial Crisis with Occupy Wall Street. And their flip side, the Tea Party-types. Now we have Black Lives Matter, Anonymous and the #resistance versus the alt-right and MAGA deplorables on the other.
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

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#3
1. Acceptance of same-sex marriage. Obergfell v. Hedges  establishes the practical equality of homosexuality and heterosexuality in marriage and effectively sexuality. LGBT rights have become mainstream, and with amazing speed -- and apparently finality.

2. The Tea Party movement. Like it or loathe it, it has been the spearhead of economic reaction that has culminated in the Trump ideology. It is possible to see this as the Wave of the Future, a Gilded ethos with teeth. We get feudal inequity with teeth -- plutocracy or death, basically.

3. Decline of a big chunk of traditional retailing, probably never to return or to be consigned to a fringe. Department stores once dominant in non-food retailing may be dying. Montgomery-Ward is no more. Sears is dying. JC Penney is on life support. The shopping mall, the expression of post-WWII consumerism based upon the tastes of the white suburban middle class, has failed to accommodate a changing America. High-cost, immobile, inflexible, and unimaginative, it has become an anachronism. What survives is Big Box retailing (as with groceries and hardware).

4. The decline of humanism and liberal education. Economic pressures have mandated that education become little more than training of people for fixed (but expendable) roles in a plutocratic society devoid of any humane virtue.

5. Internet retailing. Instead of bringing the merchandise to the shopper, the shopper brings his requests to a website such as Amazon.com, E-bay, Overstock, etc. There will be more. The idea of a giant retailer imposing its tasters upon customers (think of the now-defunct record club Columbia House) is no more.

6. the demise of regional banking. The bank tied to one metro area is no more.  Although small-town banks seem to be holding on, banks tied to even small metro areas have been gobbled up by entities such as PNC, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Regions Bank, SunTrust, etc. This may mark a trend toward monopolization.

7. The public-private partnership, an arrangement in which the government (meaning taxpayers) assume the entrepreneurial risk and well-connected entities privatize a built-in profit.

8. Political polarization a level unknown in American public life since the time just before the American Civil War. I can easily imagine one side prevailing and dictating that the rest of America, and possibly the world, exists solely for the indulgence of that elite and is expendable if it fails to serve that elite with adequate competence and cheer. (That is a nightmare, and if it ever prevails in America, then the best thing that could happen to the world would be the defeat of an America that sold its soul for vague promises of prosperity, even if such forces Americans to start off with new political institutions and with a level of economic development characteristic of the mid-19th century. If Benjamin Franklin could say that people who would give up their basic freedom for a little temporary safety lose their freedom and get no safety, then people giving up their basic freedom for vague promises of prosperity will lose their freedom and get no safety. This polarization will either implode or lead to some political nightmare as vile as fascism, Bolshevism,  Apartheid, or Ba'athism complete with torture chambers and killing centers.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#4
The retail "apocalypse" as Mr. Howe terms it - yes, we've had recessions, and iconic brands disappear before, but I have a feeling those were almost trivial compared to the economic sinkhole brick & mortar retail is turning into, as rents climb, but revenues fail to keep pace. Obamacare will get a lot of the public/political blame, but stagnant (or falling) revenue is the arterial wound that keeps bleeding.

The podcast re-invention of the medium formerly known as "radio" - and without a scintilla of government oversight, for good or ill. Like the sharing economy, this is an outgrowth of the smartphone revolution you already mentioned, but it's also matured into its own industry. This will contribute to a decline in OTA listenership, especially as that space gets flooded with political advertising for the mid-terms and next presidential election.
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#5
(07-01-2018, 11:06 PM)AarG Wrote: The retail "apocalypse" as Mr. Howe terms it - yes, we've had recessions, and iconic brands disappear before, but I have a feeling those were almost trivial compared to the economic sinkhole brick & mortar retail is turning into, as rents climb, but revenues fail to keep pace. Obamacare will get a lot of the public/political blame, but stagnant (or falling) revenue is the arterial wound that keeps bleeding.

The podcast re-invention of the medium formerly known as "radio" - and without a scintilla of government oversight, for good or ill. Like the sharing economy, this is an outgrowth of the smartphone revolution you already mentioned, but it's also matured into its own industry. This will contribute to a decline in OTA listenership, especially as that space gets flooded with political advertising for the mid-terms and next presidential election.

Social media can make one his own broadcaster, at least of radio-style reach. The technology of radio broadcasting is now inexpensive except for over-the-air broadcasting, the latter highly regulated for the protection of existing broadcasters. But could one be one's own disc jockey, especially if one has an automated website? Self-broadcasting on the Internet could become as inexpensive as ham radio -- so long as one ignores re-broadcast rights. So suppose that for most of the time my Internet channel plays classical music (ideal for automation, as I could pre-record music introductions and exits) and decide to be the "new Larry King" in prime time. I hope, of course, that I do not become the new Allan Berg, the confrontational radio host who riled up neo-Nazis and was assassinated.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#6
I can't find the original post on the other site.

Off hand, I think the housing bubble and derivatives trading based on it was the chief trait of this 4T, and regulation meant to prevent this bubble from bursting again is being watered down, so the bubble that still exists could burst again.

I disagree that the Tea Party movement and political polarization are unique to this 4T; they go back to the 2T, and the tea party and Goldwater campaign are virtually identical and composed of some of the same people, especially since tea party types are silents and boomers for the most part. The same people staffed the Reagan and moral majority counter-revolutions of circa 1980, the Gingrich counter-revolution in Nov.1994, and the culture war election of 2004. The same ideology, moneyed interests and prejudices are behind all of these movements. What is true is that the polarization and the extremism on the right is getting worse, and so far, more powerful.

What is the clearest trait about this 4T is the global refugee crisis. It is affecting virtually every country including the USA, and was sparked by climate collapses and the Arab Spring revolutions linked to it. Those revolutions, which happened worldwide within about 4 years, and their violent aftermath, is another trait of this 4T. The Occupy movements were a rather pathetic example of the Arab Spring movements, and was directly linked to them.

The climate crisis has existed since about 1988, but it is ramping up and it will be in this 4T that the decisions will be made and are being made that will determine the fate of the planet's sustainability for civilization and many species for centuries or millennia to come.

The social media and smart phone changes are certainly characteristic of this 4T, and it has opened media to more voices and artists, helped mobilize social and political movements and increased alienation from life, disinformation, and fake news campaigns.

Another trait is the shake-up in the Catholic Church, consisting of the scandals surrounding Pope Benedict and the reign of Pope Francis. How far it will go is still undetermined.



"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#7
the most intractable feature, and the biggest problem that this 4T will either amplify or solve, is the power we've given belief over demonstrable fact. The crash of 2008 should have been the example that finally get our attention enough to stop the practice, but it was, at most, a short hiccup on our way to doing it all again: wash, rinse, repeat. As a society, we're addicted to the Kool-Aid. Add to that the tribalism that makes changing minds an act of tribal treason, and the problem persists unabated. It's the basis for my belief that this 4T more likely to fail than not.

Nothing else can be addressed until this problem is solved. We can either advance or stagnate in place, and stagnation is the current winner.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#8
(07-10-2018, 09:47 AM)David Horn Wrote: the most intractable feature, and the biggest problem that this 4T will either amplify or solve, is the power we've given belief over demonstrable fact.  The crash of 2008 should have been the example that finally get our attention enough to stop the practice, but it was, at most, a short hiccup on our way to doing it all again: wash, rinse, repeat.  As a society, we're addicted to the Kool-Aid.  Add to that the tribalism that makes changing minds an act of tribal treason, and the problem persists unabated.  It's the basis for my belief that this 4T more likely to fail than not.

Nothing else can be addressed until this problem is solved.  We can either advance or stagnate in place, and stagnation is the current winner.

All too often it is not so much obvious success that forces change -- but instead, spectacular failure. This time the (unlike the Crisis of 1940) spectacular failure will more likely appear near the end and be repudiated with huge realignments of politics, economics, and culture. This President can give us catastrophic war, civil  unrest, or an economic meltdown to rival that of 1929-1932.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#9
Here's a song from the heart of the 2T that still seems every bit as relevant here in the 4T.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5znh58WITU8
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#10
Music 
(07-10-2018, 11:35 AM)beechnut79 Wrote: Here's a song from the heart of the 2T that still seems every bit as relevant here in the 4T.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5znh58WITU8

 "Turn your back on humanity..." You mean like a First Lady wearing a Zara jacket?   Dodgy
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

Saecular Pages
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#11
(07-11-2018, 07:07 PM)sbarrera Wrote:
(07-10-2018, 11:35 AM)beechnut79 Wrote: Here's a song from the heart of the 2T that still seems every bit as relevant here in the 4T.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5znh58WITU8

 "Turn your back on humanity..." You mean like a First Lady wearing a Zara jacket?   Dodgy

She effectively mooned the souls of so many of us.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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