The baby boom generation, like the Henry Ford generation 80 years ago, is comprised of innovators, entrepreneurs and visionaries. Now that it has reached its peak spending years, we are profiting from an economic boom that will continue through the most of the first decade of the new century what I've dubbed "The Roaring 2000s."
The first season, Inflation and Innovation occurred roughly between 1968 and 1982. During this period, baby boomers entered the labor force and introduced revolutionary changes in technology, products, and business practices. These costly innovations were financed by scarce capital, which drove inflation rates to their highest levels in history.
The season that follows Inflation and Innovation is the Growth Boom, which divides into two distinct phases. The first phase of the Growth Boom occurred from 1982 through 1998. During this time, most baby boomers were buying their first homes to accommodate growing families. Debt levels and consumer spending rose while inflation rates fell. Many of the innovative products and technologies introduced in the previous period moved mainstream and the economy boomed.
The second phase of the Growth Boom we're now in will continue until late 2008 or early 2009. What we have seen since 1998, when this second phase began, are predictable traits of a booming economy. The introduction of radical new business models has accelerated the movement of new technology into the mainstream, productivity is very strong, inflation has settled into low, flat rates, and consumer debt levels have begun to fall.
The next season is a Deflationary Shakeout or depression era, which will begin after 2009. In the last 80-year cycle, this occurred from 1930 to 1942. During the Deflationary Shakeout, we see a disinvestment of production facilities and labor that were built up in the race for leadership during the Growth Boom. It is the worst time for employees and most investors, but the financially savvy can do very well.
The next season, the Maturity Boom, divides into two distinct phases. During phase one of the Maturity Boom, which will begin around 2023, the conformist generation that follows the baby boomers will enter their spending cycle. In the last 80-year cycle, phase one of the Maturity Boom occurred from 1942 to 1958. This season stimulates the economy and sees stable growth by the companies who survived the shakeout. The innovative industries of the previous generation extend into full mass-market saturation.
In phase two of the Maturity Boom, which will begin in the late 2030's and last until the late 2040's, the conformist generation will still be spending at or near their peak. A new generation of innovators will also begin to enter the labor force, leading us directly into the next season of Inflation and Innovation. The cycle is complete, and begins again.