We tend to evaluate America based on day-to-day news stories and immediate trends and feelings, but the larger wheels of America are driven by two very orderly cycles - the institutional and the socioeconomic. The institutional cycle controls the relationship between the federal government and the rest of American society, and it runs its course roughly every eighty years. The socioeconomic cycle shifts around every fifty years and alters the dynamic of the American economy and society. Each cycle goes through the same process. The characteristics of a current cycle stop being effective, and the model begins to break down. A period of political tension emerges, ultimately forcing a change in the way things are done. New models emerge and solve the problems, and the country begins a new cycle which operates until that cycle runs into trouble. . . .
- George Friedman, The Storm Before the Calm: America's Discord, the Crisis of the 2020s, and the Triumph Beyond