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Generations & Crisis Cycles

Date: 05-17-08
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Neil Howe, Tudor Parfitt, Kristi Piehl, Galen Cook

Historian and economist Neil Howe discussed his work on generations and how they shape history as well as cycles of crisis. According to Howe, there are four different types of generations -- Boomers, Generation X, Millennial and Lost -- that have tended to recur in the same order in America from the 17th century onward.

Boomers belong to the Prophet archetype, he explained, and typically come along after a reshuffling of the institutional order. They are culture warriors with a focus on reshaping the inner world. Howe said Generation X is made up of individualists who define resiliency, while the Millennial generation is comprised of community builders who seek to develop a sense of belonging.

Howe talked about the next phase of history, what he calls the Fourth Turning -- a period of historical acceleration, crisis and upheaval. Ian suggested this period may have been triggered by 9/11. Howe identified certain themes to look for during a fourth turning period, including civic sacrifice (bigger government, higher taxes, end of openness), dominance of a single political party, rapid structural change, shift back to middle class, and extreme market turbulence.

Howe predicted the financial problems America is facing will continue, ultimately building along with other issues into a large crescendo of problems. Howe also commented on the 2008 presidential race, noting that each of the three current candidates, John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, come from different generations. Howe believes the only way McCain can win is if he becomes a "maverick against his generation," and labeled Obama "a real 'fourth turning' candidate" because if elected, he will cause history to move faster.

D.B. Cooper Update

In the first half hour, attorney Galen Cook provided an update to his continuing investigation of the D.B. Cooper case. During his 3/29/08 appearance, Cook commented on the discovery of a parachute found buried in a field about 100 miles south of Seattle. Cook has since spoken with the man who originally packed Cooper's parachute and he determined that it was not one used by the infamous hijacker. Cook also announced that he will be breaking a story about his Cooper suspect in a small Oregon newspaper on May 28th.

Ark of the Covenant Update

During the second half hour, professor Tudor Parfitt (Book Link) talked about the lost Ark of the Covenant, which he believes was a wooden drum-like object that eventually ended up in Africa. Parfitt commented on a report that said this object had recently been stolen from the Harare Museum. According to Parfitt, a colleague with connections in Zimbabwe has informed him that he knows where the object is located.

Smiley Face Killers Update

Investigative reporter Kristi Piehl appeared briefly in the second half hour. Piehl said detectives Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte have been asked to consult on a drowning death in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania to see if it could be related to their investigation of the Smiley Face Killers.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Saturday May 17, 2008

  • Moms
    A Tribe Called Quest
  • Signs
    Five Man Electrical Band
  • Spooky
    Atlanta Rhythm Section
  • Time
    Alan Parsons Project
  • Time
    Hootie & the Blowfish

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