“Wall Street Made Me Do It”
Tim O'Reilly
23724

Economic Historian Neil Howe’s The Fourth Turning outlines the four historical cycles which he believe’s America experiences at regular intervals (roughly every 40–50 years). He writes that during a fourth turning, “America’s institutional life is torn down and rebuilt from the ground up — always in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s very survival. Civic authority revives, cultural expression finds a community purpose, and people begin to locate themselves as members of a larger group.” If we are indeed in the midst of a cyclical crisis (which Howe believes began in 2008, and will likely continue for more than a decade), then we will soon experience the demise of many institutions. Hopefully, the institutionalized ideal of infinite growth will be the first to go. Decades of externalizing costs in hopes of demonstrating rising revenue has brought immense (maybe irrecoverable) harm to our society and our planet. Removing financial incentives like stock-based compensation is a great place to start, but wouldn’t we be better off removing the stock market all together? Or at least, create an entirely new one?

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