The United States used to be a unique and wonderful place. We take it for granted but that’s because it’s all we’ve ever known. Go back just three centuries and the average person’s life wasn’t much different from a person living four five or even six centuries ago. Each person was a prisoner of his or her fate. If you were born poor you would die poor. If your father was a stone mason, you too would become a stone mason. These people saw the sun rise and set each day, the seasons come and go and thus they believed in cycles.
Today we have a more linear way of thinking, where progress builds on itself. If your father is a stone mason, he can work and put you through college so that you become an architect. You then could build a skyscraper, larger than any castle your father ever dreamed of. And so we thought ourselves masters of our own fate and with enough hard work we can rid ourselves of these unnecessary cycles.
But we were wrong. We live in a UNIVERSE of cycles. The sun still rises and sets. The seasons come and go. We may be able to fly to Miami for the winter but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s snowing in Buffalo. We may be able to print money when the economy turns down, but that doesn’t change the fact that there was mal-investment that led to the downturn. Although we’ve taking quantum leaps in hiding the cycles, they still never go away.
My generation, may be the first in the history of America to have a shorter lifespan than the previous generation.home ownership is declining. Work participation is declining. The good high paying jobs are leaving. The older generations are cannibalizing the younger ones in a desperate attempt to squeeze out a few more good years before Winter arrives. The funny thing about winter is that it comes whether you want it to or not. My grandfather wonders why the young people don’t carry sticks on election day and go around beating the elderly into submission and I must say I too am starting to wonder. But at least I don’t live in peripheral country in Europe where youth unemployment is above 50% and it’s practically illegal to fire someone.