Forecasting With Generational Dynamics

March 03 2008 / by JanetDCohen
Category: Economics   Year: 2008   Rating: 11

This piece was cross-posted from BabyBoomerBlog .

I am writing today about the method of forecasting that has guided my thinking since I discovered it in 2004. This method is called Generational Dynamics developed by John J. Xenakis on his premier Website and Web Blog, Generational Dynamics.

Generational Dynamics is based on Generation Theory, developed by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe , in their ambitious work, The Fourth Turning (1997). They look at 400 years of Anglo-American history against a template of four twenty-year generational groups, The Artist, Hero, Nomad, and Prophet, in four twenty-year cycles of Eras, the length of a human lifespan.

The Eras are Crisis, Austerity, Awakening, and Unraveling. Each generation has characteristics and themes that propel them diagonally through their place in history, along with their generational cohorts. In the chart on his blog, the Artists are the Homelanders, age 8 and younger, the Heroes are the Millennials, ages 9 to 28, the Nomads are Gen X, ages 29 to 46, and the Boomers, ages 47 – 65 are the current Prophets. Oldsters would be on the previous chart, the Artists of the last cycle are the Silent Generation, and the few remaining oldster Heroes are from the Greatest Generation, who fought in WWII.

Xenakis took Generational Theory and created Generational Dynamics as a methodology for forecasting history. His blog looks at news events that depend on generational changes in attitudes and beliefs of large masses of people.

What is Generational Dynamics?

“Generational Dynamics is based on a simple idea: That societies and nations make mistakes and then learn lessons from those mistakes. But generations grow older, retire and die, and are replaced by new generations who are too young to remember those mistakes and those lessons. When that happens, the mistakes are repeated,” says Xenakis.

This is important today, because one of those mistakes is to have a major war. There are certain wars called “Crisis Wars” that are so violent that they actually put the nation’s survival, or at least the nation’s way of life, in danger.

America’s last crisis war was World War II, and the previous one was the Civil War. (World War I was never a crisis war for America.)

Generational Dynamics is very important at this time in America’s history because we’ve entered a new “Crisis period.” Ten years ago, all the nation’s senior government, business and educational leaders and managers were from the generation that grew up during World War II, and experienced the trauma of seeing homelessness, starvation and death all around them, while they lived in fear of German and Japanese bombers. That risk-aversive generation dealt with problems using compromise and containment.

Today, those risk-aversive leaders are gone, retired or dead. Today’s leaders are from the “Baby Boomer generation,” born after World War II with no personal memory of that war. The people in this generation are not risk-aversive. The people in this generation are more likely to be risk-seeking, arrogant, hubristic, narcissistic, and self-assured. That’s why America’s attitudes have changed so much in the last ten years.

Once you understand Generational Dynamics, then you’ll understand a very great deal about how the world works, and about America’s future for the next thirty years.”

*The Generational Dynamics Website and Blog

On the Website, Xenakis has an information packed Home Page and Weblog. Also, there are links to his two books. His first, Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America’s Destiny, is available for purchase. His second, Generational Dynamics for Historians, is online for free.

The online book explains the theory in detail, including the Interdisciplinary nature of Generational Dynamics. Chaos Theory and advanced mathematical theories compose the background, along with the influence of Strauss and Howe.

Xenakis explains his motivation:

“Since 2002, we’ve been using Generational Analysis to make specific, hard predictions about worldwide events, politics, culture, technology, economics and international finance, and with much better accuracy than private analyst firms. If you’re paying big money for high-priced newsletters from private analyst firms, and all you’re getting is vague “that might be a problem” forecasts, then check this website regularly to get really useful, accurate forecasts—FOR FREE.

We believe that this site is providing a public service by providing information about America’s future which is not available anywhere else, and cannot be learned by any methodology other than Generational Dynamics.”

Xenakis updates his weblog frequently, with clear explanations for the general reader.

I highly recommend this site for anyone interested in forecasting.

Comment Thread (1 Response)

  1. The concept of generation dynamics makes a great deal of sense and is totally counter-intuitive from an individual standpoint. It’s important for all futurists and social theorists to digest and consider the lessons taught by Strauss and Howe and Xenakis. The context of time and mass social behavior is essential to figuring out what we are, what we are doing, where we are going and why.

    For good measure one should also check out Jared Diamond’s work which addresses the concept of human culture interacting with physical spaces and weather.

    Very cool post.

    Posted by: Alvis Brigis   March 05, 2008
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