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In case you missed it.

Neil Howe, Demography sector head at Hedgeye, went on the road with Real Vision Co-founder Grant Williams.

In this special, three-part series, Howe discusses the challenges that the combination of cycles and human hubris pose to markets and to society. Below is a brief transcript discussing his findings with his heralded study The Fourth Turning and the full video for part one. 

Howe publishes a weekly Demography Unplugged research note. Click here to learn more and subscribe.

Grant Williams: Right. But just going back to this project, when you talk about this great realization that history went in cycles, was this something that having found it then changed your entire outlook? Or is it something you were almost looking for and then found, and managed to look drop that onto history? 

Neil Howe: It's interesting-- we weren't looking for it. Our original project was simply to write about how different generations lead the country differently as they become leaders, and endow the country with different things. Are concerned about different things. We did not go into this thinking there was primarily interested in any kind of cycle is this. The cyclicality, the rhythm of it was really serendipitous. It was just discovery.

If you look at how humans look at history, there are basically three different ways that people look at time, social time. One is chaotic. Anything can happen anytime. It's just random. There's no progress, there's no regression, there's no anything-- just prepare for anything. And that's a very obviously, kind of a nihilistic point of view. It's hardly a philosophy. It's just sort of that's kind of the dark side. That's what you don't expect, right? It's an acknowledgment of unpredictability. And I'd say from Generation X, I get a lot of that. Just skeptical of everything.

But I would say the two key ways of actually bringing order to history as opposed to acknowledging randomness, is thinking of history as a cycle and thinking of it as linear. And I would say that view of history as progressive is now a big competitor to the cyclical view. And I'm not-- I'm not opposed to progress at all. But here's one our central thesis of our book-- and we talked about this in Generations.


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ABOUT NEIL HOWE

Neil Howe is a renowned authority on generations and social change in America. An acclaimed bestselling author and speaker, he is the nation's leading thinker on today's generations—who they are, what motivates them, and how they will shape America's future.

A historian, economist, and demographer, Howe is also a recognized authority on global aging, long-term fiscal policy, and migration. He is a senior associate to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., where he helps direct the CSIS Global Aging Initiative.

Howe has written over a dozen books on generations, demographic change, and fiscal policy, many of them with William Strauss. Howe and Strauss' first book, Generations is a history of America told as a sequence of generational biographies. Vice President Al Gore called it "the most stimulating book on American history that I have ever read" and sent a copy to every member of Congress. Newt Gingrich called it "an intellectual tour de force." Of their book, The Fourth Turning, The Boston Globe wrote, "If Howe and Strauss are right, they will take their place among the great American prophets."

Howe and Strauss originally coined the term "Millennial Generation" in 1991, and wrote the pioneering book on this generation, Millennials Rising. His work has been featured frequently in the media, including USA Today, CNN, the New York Times, and CBS' 60 Minutes.

Previously, with Peter G. Peterson, Howe co-authored On Borrowed Time, a pioneering call for budgetary reform and The Graying of the Great Powers with Richard Jackson.

Howe received his B.A. at U.C. Berkeley and later earned graduate degrees in economics and history from Yale University.