Basically, people normally, nominally, have a choice between most people being poor nearly all the time in communism or most people being poor a minority of the time in capitalism, if capitalism operates the way it normally does. The Kondratieff wave describes the process in capitalism over the course of time - over the decades of a cycle. But something somewhat different happened this time (i.e., in modern times) in America. The American baby boomer generation (the post-war baby boom) was the first generation ever in history to grow up almost entirely during times of plenty, never really experiencing true neediness at any time during their growing up years. Yes, there were a few hiccups along the way (fairly briefly in the big picture) - but nothing that really shook them up. And the things that did come along, primarily in the 1950's, happened when they were so young that they weren't paying much attention to the situation.
The first time something came along that really shook them up was when they were adults - in the 1970's, when the economy took a big hit for several years.
The response of the baby boomers - because they were so used to plenty and expected it in the meantime - was to say "never again" and a law was passed calling for full employment at low inflation, in effect a law against recessions (passed in 1978). I think, especially given that the law was set to expire in the year 2000 – which it did, just that the authorities in the system at that time decided to keep enforcing it, which they did – that the politicians also had a self-generated motivation, namely, that they knew that trying to get re-elected during an economic downturn is a dicey proposition and they did not want to have to go through that again like they did in the earlier 1970’s – but they apparently only cared about themselves, they set the law to expire in the year 2000, which would have been after at least most of them were retired. So between the young baby boomers and the politicians of the time (in the 1970’s), there was a mutual perspective that a future economic downturn was to be avoided – and so, taking legislative flow-time into account, the law was passed in 1978.
But the law could not be enforced right away. However, things did settle down in the early 1980's and then the law was actively enforced from the fall (i.e., after the stock market crash) of 1987 onward.
In the time since, until the last couple of years, most baby boomers have basically just been enjoying themselves - and taking no heed of warnings from some people that the situation was unsustainable.
So, in the meantime, they have had (effectively) good times continuously for about 25 years - far longer than at any other time in human history, but most baby boomers are completely unaware of that because they have never studied history from an economic point of view – and so they think that what they have experienced is the way it should be and something that they are entitled to.
The problem is that, as noted, it is not sustainable - and they are going to get a very rude shock when they find that out first-hand (they already got a shock during the last couple of years or so, from the fall of 2008 onward - but that is just a foretaste).
What is going to happen is that since they insisted on keeping the economy going for a long time, the economy is going to take a very big tumble and be down hard for several years (and quite possibly for a very long time) - and I suspect that capitalism will even be questioned along the way, since people have a very distorted view, in the meantime, of what capitalism can really (i.e., realistically) deliver. People just expect, in the meantime, that capitalism will offer good times all the time – but it has never been capable of doing that and most people are about to find that out the hard way.
In other words, since capitalism has been forced to provide good times for far longer than it normally would, it will compensate for that by providing very hard times for at least several years, and quite possibly for far longer than it has done anytime in recent history, going back many, many decades (actually, a few hundred years) - and the baby boomers are going to end up extremely disappointed.
I think it is quite possible that the downturn will stay in place for a very long time because if the massive debts currently present in much of the world overwhelm the system (which I think they are going to do), then there is going to be a massive systemic collapse and the economic downturn is likely to last a very long time, not unlike what happened in the wake of the collapse of the Mississippi and South Sea bubbles in the 1720's, a collapse which lasted until the late 1700's, essentially an entire Kondratieff wave of minimal activity. The purpose of my website is to help people avoid the fate of being caught up in that.
I will add that over the course of the years since the beginning of the 1990's, other central banks in the industrialized world also came to the conclusion that they liked the idea of avoiding recessions, so they began to operate on the same basis as the Federal Reserve, America's central bank. That is even though the only central bank that actually has a dual mandate for full employment at low inflation is the American central bank - the other central banks only have an official mandate to control inflation. But since they have also chosen to pursue the goal of no recessions, the result has been that the stock markets in the various countries involved have become coordinated over the course of time in recent years (starting no later than the early 2000's), meaning that in the meantime, they tend to all go up at about the same time and they also all tend to go down at about the same time. Unfortunately, since we are pretty much past the time when stock markets are going to go up, that means that we are going to be in a time when the stock markets are going to go down in a coordinated way. My hope is to save some people from the consequences of that (in terms of people just being oriented toward a rising stock market and then taking losses, one way or another, when it goes down).