Neil Howe, managing director of demography at Hedgeye, is a renowned authority and leading thinker on social change. He is the author of bestselling books, including The Fourth Turning, and his first book, Generations, was praised by former US vice president Al Gore as the most stimulating book on US history that he’d ever read.
Howe is a regular on USA Today, CNN and CBS, while throughout his career, he has worked as a consultant and advisor for organisations including Blackstone, the Concord Coalition, the Global Aging Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
In this week’s episode of the Opto Sessions, Howe turns his expertise on generations to the question of cyclicality, and explains how this theory and its understanding can be applied to financial markets.
Listen to the interview:
“The idea that there’s cyclicality in great civic events, great wars and great cultural upheavals is not a new one,” Howe told Opto Sessions.
“What we do is tie it to a mechanism that explains it, which is generational ageing.”
He says that the timing of these long cycles is more or less governed by generational ageing. That, he says, is what really gives these cycles “determinant rhythm, rather than just being random”.
“The idea that there’s cyclicality in great civic events, great wars and great cultural upheavals is not a new one... What we do is tie it to a mechanism that explains it, which is generational ageing”
Howe goes on to explain how these generational theories and mechanisms apply to the key concepts explored in his book, The Fourth Turning, which Howe co-authored with the late William Strauss. His ideas provide a way for us to segment the world and understand our recent history as a society — and crucially, it also gives us a way to frame our current time period.
“It's been kind of a long human lifetime since the Great Depression and World War II, the New Deal and all of the incredible public sector innovations, the redefinition of citizenship, that really went on in the 1930s and early 1940s,” Howe explains.
“And here we are again, and I think everyone feels that we're entering something larger.”
To find out how Howe applies these generational theories to the markets, and what this means for investment strategies, listen to the full episode on Opto Sessions.
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