Thursday, December 20, 2007


Pat, you hit the nail on the head with my interest in saecular turnings. I am actually an active contributor at T4T forums.

Strauss and Howe deeply influenced how I think about Sociology, and have me thinking quite a bit differently than other analysts out there on today's issues.

First, many sociologists fall hook like and sinker for linear development of trends, often missing the cycles discussed in saecular thinking. As such, what we see now are books discussing the demise of community, the move towards completely atomized individuals in a society with nothing holding it together (in a Durkheimian mechanical solidarity sense). See for instance Putnam's Bowling Alone. In that book he talks about diminishing community and also talks about the things we can do to change that. Of course, if one is a SnH reader, then the way to change it is just to wait. There will come a time when the tide turns and ppl tire of atomized, individualistic communities. To think we can actually change these tides smacks of hubris.

Similarly with suburban sprawl. If you read a Kunstlerian critique of suburbia and its architecture, he makes a fair argument that even our community infrastructure is oriented almost entirely towards the private realm, and dismissive or even hostile toward the public (or community) realm. I find his critiques to be motivating, but I also can't help but think that this is something that also is likely to be influenced by saecular turnings. How things will change we don't know, but we may expect that a fourth and first turning to redirect ppl's attention towards community and away from the individual realms. If that happens, then there is no reason to think that everything from attitudes, orginizational membership, morality, all the way to community infrastructure to be affected.

Now, following the banking and housing issues going on today, many are hoping that these things will just blow over, or be handled by the Fed. I am certainly not a better analyst than most of those out there with good reasons why this should not dint the economy too much. I also am hesitant to say that this is going to be the end of the economic world as we know it. But, based on having SnH in my back pocket, I will say that this is likely to be worse than most expect it to be, simply because everybody that remembers the last truly catastrophic economic problem are mostly dead now. It will be worse than ppl expect simply because most ppl think "it's different this time."


Pat said...

You can't hold back the tides. What you can do is surf them, which I'm trying to learn how to do. Frex, right now it's an economic ebb tide and still going out.

Thanks for the neat feedback!

Is there any way to put you on RSS feed or the equivalent so I don't miss your postings? I tend to skip things that are updated only rarely on the assumption that there's nothing new, and then, of course, I miss what is new.

michael said...

Let me see if I can set that up.

mike said...

I am having trouble figuring out the RSS html code. However, there is an atom feed at the very bottom of my site. Does that work for you?

I will continue trying to figure this out.