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Breaking point: America approaching a period of disintegration
#21
(10-05-2016, 10:22 AM)X_4AD_84 Wrote: During the 2T many peaceniks and Kremlin symps tried to depict WW3 as sending us back to the Stone Age. That was overly dramatic and on par with the scientifically rubbish "On The Beach."

I would concede, however, it could send us back to the Wild West.

Hmmm... OK, Now WW3 looks like an excellent event to create some binary options on, man.   Cool Big Grin Tongue

A call option would mean WWIII happens on or before expiry date.
A put option would mean WWIII will not happen on or before expiry date.
Both options have a winner take all rule.

We even have a pool of suckers to use, neoCONS.  They of course think their actions in no way increase the probability of WWIII, but of course we market foxes know better.

Since the suckers think WWIII won't happen, then the obvious choice is to buy call options!
---Value Added Cool
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#22
(10-02-2016, 05:15 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(10-02-2016, 03:03 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: People holding the other side in complete contempt? Think of how nasty the debate was on slavery. Abolitionists: It's abominable. Slave-owners: the (word probably now abusive) need our firm guidance just to survive.

When even one side says that the other side belongs in prison, we have a big problem -- especially of the side scheduled for show trials and severe punishment has done nothing wrong.  When part of the political spectrum says that dissidents are next to criminals, we have a problem.

For someone taking extreme positions and showing contempt for human rights, Donald Trump is doing very well in the polls -- or at least has been doing so.

Pretty sure it's Clinton who is calling the people on the other side "deplorables".


-- she also wants to arrest Snowdon & drone Assange
Heart  Bernie/Tulsi 2020    Heart
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#23
Snowdon is a traitor.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#24
Turchin's book is causing some rustled jimmies in Reddit's /r/BadHistory board, with people accusing Turchin of, well, bad history.

Apparently a lot of historians have a knee-jerk hate for quantifiable "grand unified theories" of history.
#MakeTheDemocratsGreatAgain
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#25
(10-07-2016, 05:48 PM)Odin Wrote: Turchin's book is causing some rustled jimmies in Reddit's /r/BadHistory board, with people accusing Turchin of, well, bad history.

Apparently a lot of historians have a knee-jerk hate for quantifiable "grand unified theories" of history.

People who dislike a theory of history almost invariably see the history as "bad history". Thus


Quote:“The American polity today has a lot in common with the Antebellum America of the 1850s; with Ancien Régime France on the eve of the French Revolution; with Stuart England during the 1630s; and innumerable other historical societies,” Turchin writes.


elicits:


Quote:Okay, yeah: the American polity today has a lot in common with those examples. For instance, it is populated by carbon-based life forms. On the other hand, it is extremely unlike them in other ways: for instance, it is not a monarchy, her institutions are more or less designed to respond quickly to public crises and a few dry years in a row means a bunch of loan defaults rather than mass starvation.

Of course, we're all aware than Malthus is pretty much completely discredited by now, to the point where his ideas are used as an Awful Warning about the dangers of plausible theorizing in the absence of data. So it's kind of funny that he should be mentioned in this context; some kind of Freudian slip?

Face it -- if you are to compare the weird style of government in North Korea, wouldn't you be tempted to compare it to Uganda under Idi Amurderin' or to Russia under Ivan the Terrible and not to something socialist like Hungary under Kadar or Poland under Jaruzelski?  But North Korea is a "People's Democratic Republic" (it does not serve the people of North Korea, it is certainly undemocratic, and it is clearly no republic), and not a formal monarchy.

Absolute power from father to son to grandson. That looks like a monarchy. And that is not the benign sort that one associates with the UK or even the effete monarchy of Louis XVI.

We have severe inequality in the USA, much of it the consequence of a few people making huge amounts of easy money from what have become largely-passive investments while working people find themselves squeezed all the harder on behalf of economic elites becoming increasingly distant and irresponsible. We have government by lobbyists, which is not democracy as Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, Jay, Madison, Monroe, and Adams (either one) saw as democracy.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#26
A lot of the Academy has developed a knee-jerk suspicion of any grand, general historical theories. Partly this is due to the influence of Postmodernism and it's rejection of all "grand narratives", and partly because they have developed a deep suspicion of anything that can be seen as "deterministic" and encouraging predictions about the future, which is derided as "historicism", which is considered a very bad thing in the Anglo-American portion of Academia. Professional historians have become a very narrow bunch mainly focused on increasingly narrow subjects and generally see the big historical ideas of people like Spengler, Toynbee, and Durant to be "fantasy".
#MakeTheDemocratsGreatAgain
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#27
(10-07-2016, 05:48 PM)Odin Wrote: Turchin's book is causing some rustled jimmies in Reddit's /r/BadHistory board, with people accusing Turchin of, well, bad history.

Apparently a lot of historians have a knee-jerk hate for quantifiable "grand unified theories" of history.

Well that poster is pretty ignorant.
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#28
(10-08-2016, 07:05 PM)Odin Wrote: A lot of the Academy has developed a knee-jerk suspicion of any grand, general historical theories. Partly this is due to the influence of Postmodernism and it's rejection of all "grand narratives", and partly because they have developed a deep suspicion of anything that can be seen as "deterministic" and encouraging predictions about the future, which is derided as "historicism", which is considered a very bad thing in the Anglo-American portion of Academia. Professional historians have become a very narrow bunch mainly focused on increasingly narrow subjects and generally see the big historical ideas of people like Spengler, Toynbee, and Durant to be "fantasy".

Spengler has an agenda. Toynbee and Durant are too 'popular'. Toynbee (let alone Durant) has made some now-indefensible errors, like denying the personal achievements of people of sub-Saharan Africa. He thus neglects Ethiopia (isolated, but sophisticated at times), the presence of black Africans in Egypt (where attribution of technological achievements to persons just does not happen unless the person is the Pharaoh), and of course to modern Western civilization (he wrote his Study of History around the time of the Harlem Renaissance, an impressive collection of achievements by any standard, and he apparently had no clue that such was going on).

Toynbee was onto something with his Times of Trouble and Universal State and recognizing the civilization as the unit of history. I wonder if there is some coincidence in sound between "United States", the most powerful empire that has ever existed, and "Universal State"? Toynbee's Universal State takes over a whole, or nearly the whole, of a civilization with a rigid authoritarianism that regiments everything; the authoritarian order then suppresses dissent, innovation, individuality, and even enterprise. The Roman and Byzantine Empires exemplify the ultimate failure of late classical civilization in the "Latin" and "Greek" parts of the Classical world; the Soviet Union exemplifies the failure of eastern Orthodox civilization. See also Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Persian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Cambodian, Aztec, and Mayan civilization. Toynbee sees the Inca civilization in a stage of rot at the time of the Spanish conquest with the Spanish conquest as a sort of hostile takeover, those making the takeover never changing much except who rules. Toynbee makes some sense.

Western Christian Civilization has had its contenders for "Universal State": the Ottoman Empire (the Universal State can be imposed from without), Inquisition-era Spain, the Napoleonic zone of conquests, Wilhelmine Germany, the Third Reich, and the Soviet Union. The United States of America wisely avoided cadging an empire out of its zones of military conquest in World War II; it was satisfied with imposing some needed reforms in Germany, Italy, and Japan without any effort to impose American culture in those places.

Should the United States become an Evil Empire (a Trump Presidency would be the key step if it could change the political process indefinitely) and start trying to impose its way upon other parts of Western civilization (like Latin America) , then the Universal State is a reality in the West, and the decline is underway.

Much historical research has become excursions into detailed study of trivialities like the dining habits of George Washington.  We can all see the fault in such trifles. Postmodernism looks like just another academic fad  nearly certain to be cast off in short order.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#29
Well if have the book.  It's tough going.  It will take me a while to digest it.
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#30
I have gone over most of the book.  Much of it is the same as the manuscript I read.  Is anyone going to get this book and read it?  If so I would be most interested in discussing it.  

Turchin provides several math models for how periods of falling inequality and relative political calm (i.e. 1930-1980) transform into periods of rising inequality and (eventually) high levels of sociopolitical instability. Less covered is how the reverse transition occurs--which is the one in which I am interested. Turchin appears to use his idea that fear of the outsider causes those within a group (in this case elites) to unify. The fear of other invoked is fear of foreign (immigrant) radical ideologies/terrorism, which were causing American workers to act out.  By restricting immigration, terrorism and radical ideologies could be suppressed, and calm restored.  Restricting immigration would likely result in higher wages, to the detriment of elites, but the unity produced by fear of the other made it possible for elites to accept the detrimental effects (i.e. take one for the team).

I think highly of this concept of an explanation for how large-scale cooperative behavior evolved.  I do not think it applies to early 20th century America. Right now I am finishing up a modification to Turchin's analysis.  I think the motivation for elites to accept the reduction in wealth and status that is a consequence of inequality reversal is that they feared a total loss of wealth and status--not a threat of revolutionary situation. 

I propose that a problem arose in which capital stopped producing as much output as before.  A reduced efficacy of capital means that your capital (wealth) has become fundamentally worth less than it used to be, but this fact will be hidden because the capital markets will continue to value your capital at is old value.  Eventually the market will notice its mistake and adjust (e.g. 1929-32). Many capitalists--perhaps you--will be ruined.  Even those who manage OK will be shaken, and willing to accept wealth-limiting policies that just a short time ago would be completely out of the question.

I suspect that Turchin's concept will prove to be more useful in explaining inequality trend reversals in Europe rather than the US.
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#31
I have Ultra Society in my Amazon cart. I'm skeptical of a Turchin analysis of inequality because the inequality curves he cites in his blog don't look anything like the ones that I've seen or like the one you posted. I'll look at reviews of Ages of Discord, though - and I'd be interested in any comments you have on the points I bring up.
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#32
(10-15-2016, 05:40 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: I have Ultra Society in my Amazon cart.  I'm skeptical of a Turchin analysis of inequality because the inequality curves he cites in his blog don't look anything like the ones that I've seen or like the one you posted.  I'll look at reviews of Ages of Discord, though - and I'd be interested in any comments you have on the points I bring up.

Turchin does not consider slavery in his inequality analysis. He uses relative wage (w) defined as median wage divided by GDP as his key measure.  GDPpc is a measure of the amount of output per person.  Wage is a measure of the fraction of that output that goes to workers.

My analysis uses a more sophisticated relative wage.  I adjust my relative wage to account for changes in the number of people in paid employment.  That is, I average in zero wages for unpaid workers (slaves) and for the unemployed.  Thus, when slaves were freed, 14% of the population became wage workers.  What this does is show a spike in inequality around the civil war, that does not show up in Turchin's analysis.  Tuchin's analysis shows downward spike in inequality (rising relative wage) in the early 30's because GDPpc (the denominator) collapsed faster than wage (numerator).  It's and artifact.  My analysis shows a spike in inequality from 1929 to 1932 because bad a the Depression was for rich people, surely it was worse for the ordinary working stiff. 

I also attempt to account or government transfer payments (Social Security/Medicare) in my relative wage, by adding the employer contributions to these (and private pensions) to worker compensation.  Now accounted for are government transfer programs for the poor (food stamps, Medicaid, EITC, etc).  However, I average in an independent measure of the top 1% income share as a second mesure of inequality, which helps account for this.
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#33
(10-16-2016, 04:48 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(10-15-2016, 05:40 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: I have Ultra Society in my Amazon cart.  I'm skeptical of a Turchin analysis of inequality because the inequality curves he cites in his blog don't look anything like the ones that I've seen or like the one you posted.  I'll look at reviews of Ages of Discord, though - and I'd be interested in any comments you have on the points I bring up.

Turchin does not consider slavery in his inequality analysis. He uses relative wage (w) defined as median wage divided by GDP as his key measure.  GDPpc is a measure of the amount of output per person.  Wage is a measure of the fraction of that output that goes to workers.

My analysis uses a more sophisticated relative wage.  I adjust my relative wage to account for changes in the number of people in paid employment.  That is, I average in zero wages for unpaid workers (slaves) and for the unemployed.  Thus, when slaves were freed, 14% of the population became wage workers.  What this does is show a spike in inequality around the civil war, that does not show up in Turchin's analysis.  Tuchin's analysis shows downward spike in inequality (rising relative wage) in the early 30's because GDPpc (the denominator) collapsed faster than wage (numerator).  It's and artifact.  My analysis shows a spike in inequality from 1929 to 1932 because bad a the Depression was for rich people, surely it was worse for the ordinary working stiff. 

I also attempt to account or government transfer payments (Social Security/Medicare) in my relative wage, by adding the employer contributions to these (and private pensions) to worker compensation.  Now accounted for are government transfer programs for the poor (food stamps, Medicaid, EITC, etc).  However, I average in an independent measure of the top 1% income share as a second mesure of inequality, which helps account for this.

Thanks.  Ignoring slavery would definitely affect things.  Slaves did get a small but nonzero ration of food and minimal accomodations, but that presumably wouldn't differ from zero when determining median wage, since they would all have been receiving "wages" below the median.

How does this affect the value of the book?  Should it go above Ultra Society on my reading list?
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#34
(10-16-2016, 06:47 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(10-16-2016, 04:48 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(10-15-2016, 05:40 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: I have Ultra Society in my Amazon cart.  I'm skeptical of a Turchin analysis of inequality because the inequality curves he cites in his blog don't look anything like the ones that I've seen or like the one you posted.  I'll look at reviews of Ages of Discord, though - and I'd be interested in any comments you have on the points I bring up.

Turchin does not consider slavery in his inequality analysis. He uses relative wage (w) defined as median wage divided by GDP as his key measure.  GDPpc is a measure of the amount of output per person.  Wage is a measure of the fraction of that output that goes to workers.

My analysis uses a more sophisticated relative wage.  I adjust my relative wage to account for changes in the number of people in paid employment.  That is, I average in zero wages for unpaid workers (slaves) and for the unemployed.  Thus, when slaves were freed, 14% of the population became wage workers.  What this does is show a spike in inequality around the civil war, that does not show up in Turchin's analysis.  Tuchin's analysis shows downward spike in inequality (rising relative wage) in the early 30's because GDPpc (the denominator) collapsed faster than wage (numerator).  It's and artifact.  My analysis shows a spike in inequality from 1929 to 1932 because bad a the Depression was for rich people, surely it was worse for the ordinary working stiff. 

I also attempt to account or government transfer payments (Social Security/Medicare) in my relative wage, by adding the employer contributions to these (and private pensions) to worker compensation.  Now accounted for are government transfer programs for the poor (food stamps, Medicaid, EITC, etc).  However, I average in an independent measure of the top 1% income share as a second mesure of inequality, which helps account for this.

Thanks.  Ignoring slavery would definitely affect things.  Slaves did get a small but nonzero ration of food and minimal accomodations, but that presumably wouldn't differ from zero when determining median wage, since they would all have been receiving "wages" below the median.

How does this affect the value of the book?  Should it go above Ultra Society on my reading list?

I am reading Ultra Society now.  They deal with two separate strands of Turchin's research.  Ultra Society is about cultural evolution, multilevel selection theory specifically, and is written for a general audience.

Ages of Discord deals with Goldstone's demographic structural theory (DST), which is the theory that explains pre-industrial secular cycles. My first cliodynamics article describes how I applied it secular cycles in England.  Turchin already covered these in his Secular Cycles book. I took various mathematical formulations of DST and tried to fit them explicitly to the data (we have good data for England).  They worked, one of them worked quite well in that it fit the data better than a polynomial with the same number of parameters did. 

Ages of Discord is Secular Cycles for post-industrial societies, using America as the example. Turchin sees only one secular cycle between the Revolutionary 4T and the Depression 4T because that is what his five measures show. He uses relative wage (which as I noted doesn't include slavery) male height, life expectancy, age at first marriage and percent foreign born as indicators. All five show a single cycle over the 1780-1930 period.

He also presents a model for real wages than explains why real wages have stopped rising in accordance with per capita GDP after the 1970's. Basically, it is an imbalance between labor supply and demand. In the 1970's the influx of the larger Boomer generation, women and rising immigration boosted labor supply faster than demand, depressing wages. He shows this by using GDP divided by labor productivity as a measure of demand.  For supply he uses labor force. It is a very plausible model. The problem is, it's garbage. Turchin believes that the BLS labor productivity measure is an independent assessment of the productivity of all workers in the economy.  It's not.  Actually it only covers about 75% of workers. Left out are workers for whom productivity cannot be assessed, such as persons involved in general government. These people are assumed to have zero productivity.  All the GDP is assigned to those 75% for whom clear connections between work input and outputs can be made.

It's an honest mistake.  But this means the percent foreign born isn't a valid measure.  Then I note that the trends in male height can also be explained by trends in urbanization. Just because male height declined from those born in 1830 to those born in 1890 doesn't mean that living standards declined.  The rural folks, who remained tall, were actually poorer than their city cousins, which is why so many left the farm and went to the cities. It's just that cities were (and had always been) very unhealthy places to live until the installation of sanitation infrastructure. Since such infrastructure is expensive, this did not happen until real wages rose to a higher level.  By 1930, they had.  So I used a simple model to explain height trends as a function of real wage and urbanization and showed it can explain the 1830-1890 decline in height too. Having an alternate explanation for height trends, means you cannot use it as a proxy for inequality anymore. The same is true for other health-related quantities like life expectancy.

This leaves just age at first marriage.  In this case the 19th century data are for women only. Such marriage trends for men would certainly reflect social optimism because until recent times, men did not marry until they felt capable of supporting a family and this usually involved delay.  During tough times the delay would be large, during good times less, so age of marriage would be a good indicator of social optimism. But marriage age for women are complicated by trends in women's status. This added confounding variable makes female age at first marriage unsuitable as an inequality marker.  And so we are down to relative wage, which as I have said, doesn't include slavery.

But given the fact that he had *five* trends that aligned, Turchin felt fairly confident. So would I.

Now, this whole issue is a tiny part of the book, and it largely irrelevant to the main takeaway from DST.  That is crises arising from rising inequality (i.e. 4Ts) are *caused* by elite proliferation. This is core DST and I believe is entirely valid. For that alone the book is worth your time. 90% of the book is sound. Turchin provides handy formulas for calculating proxies for elite proliferation.  If you use these with MY inequality measure you get these secular cycle phases:

Phase                    First Cycle            Second Cycle      Third Cycle
Growth 
               1789-1844            1871-1890            1945-1990
Stagflation          1844-1854            1890-1907            1990-2006
Crisis                    1854-1864            1907-1929
Depression         1864-1871            1929-1945           

I think you can see the correspondence to turnings.
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#35
(10-30-2016, 04:44 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(10-16-2016, 06:47 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(10-16-2016, 04:48 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(10-15-2016, 05:40 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: I have Ultra Society in my Amazon cart.  I'm skeptical of a Turchin analysis of inequality because the inequality curves he cites in his blog don't look anything like the ones that I've seen or like the one you posted.  I'll look at reviews of Ages of Discord, though - and I'd be interested in any comments you have on the points I bring up.

Turchin does not consider slavery in his inequality analysis. He uses relative wage (w) defined as median wage divided by GDP as his key measure.  GDPpc is a measure of the amount of output per person.  Wage is a measure of the fraction of that output that goes to workers.

My analysis uses a more sophisticated relative wage.  I adjust my relative wage to account for changes in the number of people in paid employment.  That is, I average in zero wages for unpaid workers (slaves) and for the unemployed.  Thus, when slaves were freed, 14% of the population became wage workers.  What this does is show a spike in inequality around the civil war, that does not show up in Turchin's analysis.  Tuchin's analysis shows downward spike in inequality (rising relative wage) in the early 30's because GDPpc (the denominator) collapsed faster than wage (numerator).  It's and artifact.  My analysis shows a spike in inequality from 1929 to 1932 because bad a the Depression was for rich people, surely it was worse for the ordinary working stiff. 

I also attempt to account or government transfer payments (Social Security/Medicare) in my relative wage, by adding the employer contributions to these (and private pensions) to worker compensation.  Now accounted for are government transfer programs for the poor (food stamps, Medicaid, EITC, etc).  However, I average in an independent measure of the top 1% income share as a second mesure of inequality, which helps account for this.

Thanks.  Ignoring slavery would definitely affect things.  Slaves did get a small but nonzero ration of food and minimal accomodations, but that presumably wouldn't differ from zero when determining median wage, since they would all have been receiving "wages" below the median.

How does this affect the value of the book?  Should it go above Ultra Society on my reading list?

I am reading Ultra Society now.  They deal with two separate strands of Turchin's research.  Ultra Society is about cultural evolution, multilevel selection theory specifically, and is written for a general audience.

Ages of Discord deals with Goldstone's demographic structural theory (DST), which is the theory that explains pre-industrial secular cycles. My first cliodynamics article describes how I applied it secular cycles in England.  Turchin already covered these in his Secular Cycles book. I took various mathematical formulations of DST and tried to fit them explicitly to the data (we have good data for England).  They worked, one of them worked quite well in that it fit the data better than a polynomial with the same number of parameters did. 

Ages of Discord is Secular Cycles for post-industrial societies, using America as the example. Turchin sees only one secular cycle between the Revolutionary 4T and the Depression 4T because that is what his five measures show. He uses relative wage (which as I noted doesn't include slavery) male height, life expectancy, age at first marriage and percent foreign born as indicators. All five show a single cycle over the 1780-1930 period.

He also presents a model for real wages than explains why real wages have stopped rising in accordance with per capita GDP after the 1970's. Basically, it is an imbalance between labor supply and demand. In the 1970's the influx of the larger Boomer generation, women and rising immigration boosted labor supply faster than demand, depressing wages. He shows this by using GDP divided by labor productivity as a measure of demand.  For supply he uses labor force. It is a very plausible model. The problem is, it's garbage. Turchin believes that the BLS labor productivity measure is an independent assessment of the productivity of all workers in the economy.  It's not.  Actually it only covers about 75% of workers. Left out are workers for whom productivity cannot be assessed, such as persons involved in general government. These people are assumed to have zero productivity.  All the GDP is assigned to those 75% for whom clear connections between work input and outputs can be made.

It's an honest mistake.  But this means the percent foreign born isn't a valid measure.  Then I note that the trends in male height can also be explained by trends in urbanization. Just because male height declined from those born in 1830 to those born in 1890 doesn't mean that living standards declined.  The rural folks, who remained tall, were actually poorer than their city cousins, which is why so many left the farm and went to the cities. It's just that cities were (and had always been) very unhealthy places to live until the installation of sanitation infrastructure. Since such infrastructure is expensive, this did not happen until real wages rose to a higher level.  By 1930, they had.  So I used a simple model to explain height trends as a function of real wage and urbanization and showed it can explain the 1830-1890 decline in height too. Having an alternate explanation for height trends, means you cannot use it as a proxy for inequality anymore. The same is true for other health-related quantities like life expectancy.

This leaves just age at first marriage.  In this case the 19th century data are for women only. Such marriage trends for men would certainly reflect social optimism because until recent times, men did not marry until they felt capable of supporting a family and this usually involved delay.  During tough times the delay would be large, during good times less, so age of marriage would be a good indicator of social optimism. But marriage age for women are complicated by trends in women's status. This added confounding variable makes female age at first marriage unsuitable as an inequality marker.  And so we are down to relative wage, which as I have said, doesn't include slavery.

But given the fact that he had *five* trends that aligned, Turchin felt fairly confident. So would I.

Now, this whole issue is a tiny part of the book, and it largely irrelevant to the main takeaway from DST.  That is crises arising from rising inequality (i.e. 4Ts) are *caused* by elite proliferation. This is core DST and I believe is entirely valid. For that alone the book is worth your time. 90% of the book is sound. Turchin provides handy formulas for calculating proxies for elite proliferation.  If you use these with MY inequality measure you get these secular cycle phases:

Phase                    First Cycle            Second Cycle      Third Cycle
Growth 
               1789-1844            1871-1890            1945-1990
Stagflation          1844-1854            1890-1907            1990-2006
Crisis                    1854-1864            1907-1929
Depression         1864-1871            1929-1945           

I think you can see the correspondence to turnings.

I ended up ordering Age of Discord too.

With respect to your comments, I have a few immediate thoughts.

Use of BLS statistics for productivity isn't invalid if they're the best available.  It seems to me extremely unlikely that opposing trends in 25% of the population would be enough to reverse trends for 75% of the population.  However, I'm surprised if BLS statistics go back far enough to differentiate between an 80 year cycle and Turchin's longer cycle.  Do they?

Also, do they include slaves?  Do Turchin's immigration statistics include slaves?  Do his height statistics?

I am very skeptical of use of male heights only, unless that was also a limitation of available statistics.  Does he explain this at all, and is there any data on overall average height or female average height?

I'd be very surprised if overall average height didn't correspond to nutritional well being.  In an industrial age, however, nutritional well being is not the only form of well being any more.  It would be interesting to see how well IQ corresponds to sex adjusted height, but I'm pretty sure IQ tests haven't been around long enough to differentiate the cycle lengths.
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#36
Elite proliferation -- the very rich and their hangers-on -- need by small in numbers if there is to be any semblance of economic equity... and in the end, any real economic growth.

I see several possible economic elites in the past and present:

1. Big landowners who get easy money from leasing needed property (farmland or urban housing) to people who have no viable alternatives. Think of the usual lord of the manor in medieval times -- or Donald Trump today. If it is easier to make money by leasing to a software engineer or an advertising executive than being a software engineer or advertising executive, then we have an exploitative elite.

2. Sell-out intellectuals. Shamans for the hunter-gatherers; high-level clergy (bishops and higher, if not monks and parish priests in the Middle Ages; televangelists, corporate lawyers, political operatives, and lobbyists today.

3. Bureaucratic elitists, whether the Soviet nomenklatura or the executive elite of contemporary America, being paid very well for treating subordinates badly.

4. Organized crime.

We Americans have all four elite cliques, and we may be approaching the limit of supporting all four.

Small business is not an elite. It can't buy lobbyists and it has no guarantee of an income stream. Easy money for a few is a curse for us all, and not the blessing that the Right would have us believe.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#37
Warren Dew Wrote:Use of BLS statistics for productivity isn't invalid if they're the best available. 

They aren’t invalid.  Turchin’s use of the was invalid. By definition, productivity is total output divided by hours worked.

So for all workers, average productivity per worker = GDP / total number employed.  Turchin has demand = GDP / productivity.  This gives demand = GDP / GDP * total employed or just total employed.  That is demand for workers is equal to the number of workers that have been hired.  After all, if there was no demand for a worker, he/she wouldn’t have been hired in the first place.  It’s tautological.
 
What Turchin did was go to the BLS site and download their productivity series and assumed it applied to all workers.  It doesn’t.  It assigns ALL the GDP to a fraction of the work force. So when Turchin calculated demand all he did was obtain the fraction of the workforce upon which the BLS used for their productivity calculations. It’s an artifact.
 
Quote:However, I'm surprised if BLS statistics go back far enough to differentiate between an 80 year cycle and Turchin's longer cycle.  Do they?

No, he used a fixed growth rate from a different source so it was a smooth exponential curve between 1927 and 1947.
 
Quote:Also, do they include slaves?  Do Turchin's immigration statistics include slaves?  Do his height statistics?

Immigration does not include slaves.  Some height data comes from military records (this is why it is often male height that is cited).  There is some slave data too, since slaves sometimes have heights recorded during sales.
 
Quote:I'd be very surprised if overall average height didn't correspond to nutritional well being.

It does, also to general health.
 
Quote:It would be interesting to see how well IQ corresponds to sex adjusted height, but I'm pretty sure IQ tests haven't been around long enough to differentiate the cycle lengths.

IQ tends to rise with time, a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect. I suspect this is due to cultural accumulation.
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#38
Flynn effect -- better access to education among recently-disadvantaged groups. Kids with more exposure to English than their parents. Better nutrition (so long as one avoids junk foods).

One consideration: lead. Lead paint is off the market, and so is leaded gasoline. Lead, a cumulative poison, damages both learning ability and impulse control.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#39
The Flynn effect appears to have reversed starting with birth cohorts around 1980 or a little before.  I know of papers showing reversal in at least Denmark, Germany, Finland, and the UK, and no papers showing it continuing.  The fact that it can reverse convinces me that it's real. I suspect the timing matching that of the end of the 20th century height increases is not coincidental, either.

In my opinion, the Flynn effect reversal is most likely due to changes in nutrition - first improved nutrition, but since 1980, poorer nutrition.  More junk food may be a reason for the recent decline, as pbrower2a suggests, and perhaps government recommendations that emphasize carbohydrates over the fats needed for brain development also contributed.
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#40
(11-01-2016, 10:58 AM)X_4AD_84 Wrote:
(11-01-2016, 09:50 AM)Warren Dew Wrote: The Flynn effect appears to have reversed starting with birth cohorts around 1980 or a little before.  I know of papers showing reversal in at least Denmark, Germany, Finland, and the UK, and no papers showing it continuing.  The fact that it can reverse convinces me that it's real.  I suspect the timing matching that of the end of the 20th century height increases is not coincidental, either.

In my opinion, the Flynn effect reversal is most likely due to changes in nutrition - first improved nutrition, but since 1980, poorer nutrition.  More junk food may be a reason for the recent decline, as pbrower2a suggests, and perhaps government recommendations that emphasize carbohydrates over the fats needed for brain development also contributed.

None of the above. It's due to "browning."

People from Asia, Latin America, the Middle East - are short. The tall Northern European genes are being bred out.

That could be part of it, although that can't explain why Japanese got 7 or 8 inches taller over the 20th century.  They're only a couple inches shorter than Americans now.
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