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Peter Turchin: Entering the Age of Instability after Trump
#1
http://linkis.com/evonomics.com/yEWV1


Quote:Cliodynamics is a new “transdisciplinary discipline” that treats history as just another science. Ten years ago I started applying its tools to the society I live in: the United States. What I discovered alarmed me.

My research showed that about 40 seemingly disparate (but, according to cliodynamics, related) social indicators experienced turning points during the 1970s. Historically, such developments have served as leading indicators of political turmoil. My model indicated that social instability and political violence would peak in the 2020s (see Political Instability May be a Contributor in the Coming Decade...



http://linkis.com/evonomics.com/yEWV1
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#2
My indicator jives with Peter's indicators!
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#3
(11-19-2016, 02:00 PM)Dan Wrote: http://linkis.com/evonomics.com/yEWV1


Quote:Cliodynamics is a new “transdisciplinary discipline” that treats history as just another science. Ten years ago I started applying its tools to the society I live in: the United States. What I discovered alarmed me.

My research showed that about 40 seemingly disparate (but, according to cliodynamics, related) social indicators experienced turning points during the 1970s. Historically, such developments have served as leading indicators of political turmoil. My model indicated that social instability and political violence would peak in the 2020s (see Political Instability May be a Contributor in the Coming Decade...



http://linkis.com/evonomics.com/yEWV1

Seems like Turchin is still a newbie to the oracle business.  Rule #1 of the business is:  if your prediction is actually correct, there is nothing you can do to change it.
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#4
A major war is likely to break out in the 2020s somewhere around the globe, if not before. However, the US will not see any war until 2022-2024 at least. The 2020s will be a time of great change, because the Millennials are finally able to get their grasp within society and dictate how things run. The 2020 election will be crazy as well. There will be a big surge among Democrats to fight against Trump and maybe give us their own populist candidate. As the Silents die out and get replaced by the Boomers, things will continue to intensify. It won't be until the Boomers die out in large numbers and get replaced by the Xers that things will settle down.
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#5
Bad times promote bad solutions like fascism, Marxism-Leninism, revivalist fundamentalism, and systemic racism. It should hardly surprise us that the parts of America in which economic distress is most severe have been the homes of sundry KKK movements.

Nobody wants to be a loser, but severe inequality makes far more people losers -- people struggling just to survive despite competence within a productive economy.

When I was a child I was told "Don't fear technology, for it will create more jobs than it takes." Anyone with the capacity to do trade school or college would have opportunities at jobs paying better than manually entering transactions onto a pegboard ledger or making repetitive calculations. The technology came, but the jobs disappeared.

To be sure we were all told, "to get a good job get a good education", which was basically "don't drop out of school". Unskilled workers, typically high-school dropouts, would be out in the cold. Technology would bring more opportunity and make life better for all but the dullest of dullards, just as in the Gilded Age. Tough luck dullards -- just get your lazy derrieres on welfare, and try to find some meaning in life.

But something got in the way -- the income from augmented production did not trickle down as pay for even the knowledge-based workers who were to prevail in the new, glorious age. Knowledge workers eventually competed for fewer jobs, and even at times the 'dumbest' of jobs, the ones that used to be relegated largely to dullards. Economic elites took all the net gain.

Instead of knowledge-based and manual (or low-skilled) workers joining in solidarity against the economic elites that have exploited everyone, the elites have turned the middle class and the working class against each other in economic competition in a drive to the bottom for wages and treatment. Donald trump is not the cause; he is the symptom.
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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#6
(11-19-2016, 05:43 AM)Eric the Green Wrote:
(11-18-2016, 08:33 PM)disasterzone Wrote:
(11-18-2016, 12:42 PM)Mikebert Wrote: I don't understand this thread title. Most assume the 4T started in 2008, so we are 8 years in. The nominal length for turnings is 22 years and the last one lasted 24, so lets use 22. This forecasts the start of the 1T around 2030. Isn't a little early to be talking about the 1T?

The last 4T lasted 16 years and so could this one. This one might end early because Trump is a loose cannon willing to use nukes

According to the timeclock I use, the last 4T started a bit late, and ended early because Hitler shortened the war with his lousy strategy. However, given that contingency that you point out, it could end more quickly; in which case the "1T" will be one in which the living may very well envy the dead.

(11-20-2016, 06:08 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: Bad times promote bad solutions like fascism, Marxism-Leninism, revivalist fundamentalism, and systemic racism. It should hardly surprise us that the parts of America in which economic distress is most severe have been the homes of sundry KKK movements.

Nobody wants to be a loser, but severe inequality makes far more people losers -- people struggling just to survive despite competence within a productive economy.

When I was a child I was told "Don't fear technology, for it will create more jobs than it takes." Anyone with the capacity to do trade school or college would have opportunities at jobs paying better than manually entering transactions onto a pegboard ledger or making repetitive calculations. The technology came, but the jobs disappeared.

To be sure we were all told, "to get a good job get a good education", which was basically "don't drop out of school". Unskilled workers, typically high-school dropouts, would be out in the cold. Technology would bring more opportunity and make life better for all but the dullest of dullards, just as in the Gilded Age. Tough luck dullards -- just get your lazy derrieres on welfare, and try to find some meaning in life.

But something got in the way -- the income from augmented production did not trickle down as pay for even the knowledge-based workers who were to prevail in the new, glorious age. Knowledge workers eventually competed for fewer jobs, and even at times the 'dumbest' of jobs, the ones that used to be relegated largely to dullards. Economic elites took all the net gain.

Instead of knowledge-based and manual (or low-skilled) workers joining in solidarity against the economic elites that have exploited everyone, the elites have turned the middle class and the working class against each other in economic competition in a drive to the bottom for wages and treatment. Donald trump is not the cause; he is the symptom.

Hate to say this but sometimes the wrong side wins in the 4T. The 1T is about creating order and establishment. It doesn't have to be a good order or a good establishment.
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#7
(11-20-2016, 06:08 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: But something got in the way -- the income from augmented production did not trickle down as pay for even the knowledge-based workers who were to prevail in the new, glorious age. Knowledge workers eventually competed for fewer jobs, and even at times the 'dumbest' of jobs, the ones that used to be relegated largely to dullards. Economic elites took all the net gain.

Instead of knowledge-based and manual (or low-skilled) workers joining in solidarity against the economic elites that have exploited everyone, the elites have turned the middle class and the working class against each other in economic competition in a drive to the bottom for wages and treatment. Donald trump is not the cause; he is the symptom.

As a knowledge worker, I'd say we did well until about the turn of the millenium, at which point the business became highly cyclical, with the booms spaced farther and farther apart and the busts lasting longer.  That was also about when our wages started to be dragged down by immigration, as had happened to the working class a decade or two earlier.
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#8
We could end up with a new feudalism in which life is sheer Hell for all but about 5% of the population, with the upper 1% living in opulent indulgence.

In some ways the modern feudalism will be worse because the feudalism of medieval times had holes that contemporary technology closes rigidly, and brutally shut.
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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#9
Warren Dew Wrote:As a knowledge worker, I'd say we did well until about the turn of the millenium, at which point the business became highly cyclical, with the booms spaced farther and farther apart and the busts lasting longer.
This is true.  Since 1960 business cycles have been longer than they were before.  A wrote an article on business cycles 14 years ago, where I characterized different scales of cycle length.  Between 1885 and 1960 business cycles were largely Kitchen cycles of about 40-48 months in length, which are believed to have reflected inventory cycles.  Before 1885, business cycles were longer.  The earliest work of which I am aware on business cycles was that of Clement Juglar (1862) who described the “Juglar cycle” of 7-11 years. I believe modern business cycles are Juglar cycles.  Juglar cycles were driven by investment cycles.  Before the early 1990’s, the investment driver was business investment, which is sensitive to interest rates.  Cycles ended when the economy “heated up” creating inflationary pressures, which brought monetary crises/interest rate hikes (e.g. 1970, 1981, 1990) or supply shocks (1973, maybe 1990) that induced recession. Since then the investment driver has shifted to financial investment bubbles, in stocks (2001, now) or real estate (2007).  Cycle length still seems to be what Juglar first observed 150 years ago, 7-11 years.  This month the cycle turns 9, so we are in the middle of this range.
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#10
The text of an article published online today at MarketWatch:

Peter Turchin

A decade ago, he predicted that 2020 would be a complete mess — now he says things could get even worse
Published: June 16, 2020 at 2:26 p.m. ET
By Shawn Langlois

That is Peter Turchin, a 63-year-old researcher at the University of Connecticut, sharing his thoughts in a story for Time.com on where the U.S. goes from here.

As the divide between the rich and the poor has only widened during the coronavirus pandemic, Turchin said he believes tensions “may escalate all the way to a civil war.”


Why do we care what he says? Well, back in 2010, he predicted on Nature.comthat the U.S. would suffer major social upheaval beginning around 2020


“Very long ‘secular cycles’ interact with shorter-term processes. In the United States, 50-year instability spikes occurred around 1870, 1920 and 1970, so another could be due around 2020,” he wrote at the time. “Records show that societies can avert disaster. We need to find ways to ameliorate the negative effects of globalization on people’s well-being.”

Then, in 2013, he reiterated his prediction in an essay on Aeon.com.
“We are rapidly approaching a historical cusp, at which the U.S. will be particularly vulnerable to violent upheaval,” he wrote. “If we understand the causes, we have a chance to prevent it from happening. But the first thing we will have to do is reverse the trend of ever-growing inequality.”


Clearly, we didn’t do that. Enter 2020, right on cue. 


“As a scientist, I feel vindicated,” Turchin said in the Time story. “But on the other hand, I am an American and have to live through these hard times.” He warned that the worst may be yet to come, as societal crises can typically last for five to 15 years. 


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#11
It was tempting to post this “reply” under the Age of Disorder thread that I recently created. However, I have taken much interest in Jack Goldstone’s model to U.S. history, as rigorously applied by Peter Turchin. Their approach is distinctly quantitative, in contrast to the qualitative approach of the generational theory set forth by Strauss & Howe. I really think both approaches to historical cycles merit attention because (1) they each predicted 2020 as a flashpoint (though Turchin did so more decisively), and (2) each author describes a crisis/conflict in terms of a “political process” (Neil Howe’s words in a recent interview). Too, although they are competing historical theories, there is some overlap in their nomenclature and conclusions.

Anyway...today Peter Turchin co-authored an article with Jack Goldstone published today in NOEMA:

“Welcome to the ‘Turbulent Twenties’”

Perhaps a few excerpted paragraphs will pique your interest:

Almost three decades ago, one of us, Jack Goldstone, published a simple model to determine a country’s vulnerability to political crisis. The model was based on how population changes shifted state, elite and popular behavior. Goldstone argued that, according to this Demographic-Structural Theory, in the twenty-first century, America was likely to get a populist, America-first leader who would sow a whirlwind of conflict.


Then ten years ago, the other of us, Peter Turchin, appliedGoldstone’s model to U.S. history, using current data. What emerged was alarming: The U.S. was heading toward the highest level of vulnerability to political crisis seen in this country in over a hundred years. Even before Trump was elected, Turchin published his prediction that the U.S. was headed for the “Turbulent Twenties,” forecasting a period of growing instability in the United States and western Europe.

Given the Black Lives Matter protests and cascading clashes between competing armed factions in cities across the United States, from Portland, Oregon to Kenosha, Wisconsin, we are already well on our way there. But worse likely lies ahead...

And here are the concluding paragraphs, which end the article on a somewhat hopeful note:

To be sure, the path back to a strong, united and inclusive America will not be easy or short. But a clear pathway does exist, involving a shift of leadership, a focus on compromise and responding to the world as it is, rather than trying desperately to hang on to or restore a bygone era.

This has already been, and will continue to be, a violent year in America. We need to brace for post-election violence and prepare bipartisan methods to ensure that the election outcome will be widely regarded as fair and legitimate. It will take heroic efforts to rebuild the political center, to join businesses and workers in partnership and consensus, and to restore fairness in both taxation and public spending. Only if all sides can again recover a stake in our government, no matter which party controls it, can we avoid sliding into a crisis that will undermine our Constitution and pit Americans against each other in a way we have not seen for generations.

And the link to the entire article, including a nice graph:

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#12
(09-10-2020, 04:14 PM)TeacherinExile Wrote: Their approach is distinctly quantitative

Any chance you could provide something referencing actual numbers, then?  I'm having a hard time seeing how upheaval in 1870 could be said to be quantitatively more than in 1860, and 1920 seems like a relatively quiet time in US history to me.
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#13
Beware social contradictions. Beware the social order that creates mass suffering yet demands that people act as if they couldn't be happier. Beware the economic system that glorifies material indulgence yet imposes severe poverty to achieve that indulgence. Beware of the brotherhood that depends upon hatred. Beware of Newspeak. Beware the self-styled populist who gives the shaft to multitudes. Beware official hypocrisy.

Contradictions do not resolve themselves on their own. The American Civil War was inevitable in a society that officially praised freedom yet kept people in hereditary bondage.
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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#14
It's interesting that these threads on Turchin have gone silent, given that he's been extremely accurate in his predictions.

I've seen some thought here and elsewhere that Trump is done, and it's mostly up from here. I think Turchin would disagree and say we are about to enter into the crisis

Given that the election was neck and neck, I tend to agree.
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#15
(09-11-2020, 04:06 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(09-10-2020, 04:14 PM)TeacherinExile Wrote: Their approach is distinctly quantitative

Any chance you could provide something referencing actual numbers, then?  I'm having a hard time seeing how upheaval in 1870 could be said to be quantitatively more than in 1860, and 1920 seems like a relatively quiet time in US history to me.

Sorry, for the belated reply.  (I’m still dealing with a post-cancer medical regimen.). Peter Turchin is obviously the expert who can speak to the “actual numbers.” If you’re still interested, you might check out his Ages of Discord book, a sample of which I read not long ago. Warning, though, it’s pretty dense. I also watched a recent YouTube video of his explaining his theory, but his long lecture—and Q and A— doesn’t exactly jump off the screen.  Even so, I pretty much buy into his theory, and read his blog as he releases updates. His quantitative theory of history obviously diverges from that of Strauss and Howe in many respects. But I find it interesting that both theories see 2020 as some kind of a major inflection point in American history.
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#16
(11-12-2020, 01:30 PM)User3451 Wrote: It's interesting that these threads on Turchin have gone silent, given that he's been extremely accurate in his predictions.

I've seen some thought here and elsewhere that Trump is done, and it's mostly up from here. I think Turchin would disagree and say we are about to enter into the crisis

Given that the election was neck and neck, I tend to agree.

Turchin’ s assessment of the long-term effects of the pandemic is especially relevant right now, as the coronavirus ravages the United States:

The Long-Term Consequences of Coronavirus

http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/lon...ronavirus/

I found his concluding paragraphs particularly insightful, if also discomfiting:

The shock of Coronavirus has the potential both to create social solidarity within a country, and to break the country apart. In my estimation, two Nordic countries, Norway and Denmark, have the best chance to follow the first route. Twenty years ago, I would have no doubts predicting such a response. But in the last decade there have been signs that the Nordic model may be fraying at the edges.

For the United States my forecast is rather gloomy. Our governing elites are selfish, fragmented, and mired in the internecine conflicts. So my expectation is that large swaths of American population would be allowed to lose ground. Government debt will still explode, with most of the money going to keep large companies and banks afloat. Inequality will rise, trust in government decline even more, social unrest and intra-elite conflict will increase. Basically, all negative structural-demographic trends will be accelerated.
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#17
(11-12-2020, 02:32 PM)TeacherinExile Wrote:
(11-12-2020, 01:30 PM)User3451 Wrote: It's interesting that these threads on Turchin have gone silent, given that he's been extremely accurate in his predictions.

I've seen some thought here and elsewhere that Trump is done, and it's mostly up from here. I think Turchin would disagree and say we are about to enter into the crisis

Given that the election was neck and neck, I tend to agree.

Turchin’ s assessment of the long-term effects of the pandemic is especially relevant right now, as the coronavirus ravages the United States:

The Long-Term Consequences of Coronavirus

http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/lon...ronavirus/

I found his concluding paragraphs particularly insightful, if also discomfiting:

The shock of Coronavirus has the potential both to create social solidarity within a country, and to break the country apart. In my estimation, two Nordic countries, Norway and Denmark, have the best chance to follow the first route. Twenty years ago, I would have no doubts predicting such a response. But in the last decade there have been signs that the Nordic model may be fraying at the edges.

For the United States my forecast is rather gloomy. Our governing elites are selfish, fragmented, and mired in the internecine conflicts. So my expectation is that large swaths of American population would be allowed to lose ground. Government debt will still explode, with most of the money going to keep large companies and banks afloat. Inequality will rise, trust in government decline even more, social unrest and intra-elite conflict will increase. Basically, all negative structural-demographic trends will be accelerated.

I think he got it right in that last bit, unfortunately. Biden is trying to make a concerted national repsonse to Covid the primary agenda of his Presidency, but first he has to survive Trump's coup attempt. Fourth Turning, indeed.
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

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#18
(11-12-2020, 03:29 PM)sbarrera Wrote:
(11-12-2020, 02:32 PM)TeacherinExile Wrote:
(11-12-2020, 01:30 PM)User3451 Wrote: It's interesting that these threads on Turchin have gone silent, given that he's been extremely accurate in his predictions.

I've seen some thought here and elsewhere that Trump is done, and it's mostly up from here. I think Turchin would disagree and say we are about to enter into the crisis

Given that the election was neck and neck, I tend to agree.

Turchin’ s assessment of the long-term effects of the pandemic is especially relevant right now, as the coronavirus ravages the United States:

The Long-Term Consequences of Coronavirus

http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/lon...ronavirus/

I found his concluding paragraphs particularly insightful, if also discomfiting:

The shock of Coronavirus has the potential both to create social solidarity within a country, and to break the country apart. In my estimation, two Nordic countries, Norway and Denmark, have the best chance to follow the first route. Twenty years ago, I would have no doubts predicting such a response. But in the last decade there have been signs that the Nordic model may be fraying at the edges.

For the United States my forecast is rather gloomy. Our governing elites are selfish, fragmented, and mired in the internecine conflicts. So my expectation is that large swaths of American population would be allowed to lose ground. Government debt will still explode, with most of the money going to keep large companies and banks afloat. Inequality will rise, trust in government decline even more, social unrest and intra-elite conflict will increase. Basically, all negative structural-demographic trends will be accelerated.

I think he got it right in that last bit, unfortunately. Biden is trying to make a concerted national repsonse to Covid the primary agenda of his Presidency, but first he has to survive Trump's coup attempt. Fourth Turning, indeed.
And this article about Turchin just posted in The Atlantic December 2020 issue:

The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse

A historian believes he has discovered iron laws that predict the rise and fall of societies. He has bad news.

Here are some excerpted passages from the introduction in the article that may pique your interest.  Turchin’ s “star” is definitely rising in the universe of “mega historians.”

The year 2020 has been kind to Turchin, for many of the same reasons it has been hell for the rest of us. Cities on fire, elected leaders endorsing violence, homicides surging—­­to a normal American, these are apocalyptic signs. To Turchin, they indicate that his models, which incorporate thousands of years of data about human history, are working. (“Not all of human history,” he corrected me once. “Just the last 10,000 years.”) He has been warning for a decade that a few key social and political trends portend an “age of discord,” civil unrest and carnage worse than most Americans have experienced. In 2010, he predicted that the unrest would get serious around 2020, and that it wouldn’t let up until those social and political trends reversed. Havoc at the level of the late 1960s and early ’70s is the best-case scenario; all-out civil war is the worst.

The fundamental problems, he says, are a dark triad of social maladies: a bloated elite class, with too few elite jobs to go around; declining living standards among the general population; and a government that can’t cover its financial positions. His models, which track these factors in other societies across history, are too complicated to explain in a nontechnical publication. But they’ve succeeded in impressing writers for nontechnical publications, and have won him comparisons to other authors of “megahistories,” such as Jared Diamond and Yuval Noah Harari. The New York Times columnist Ross Douthat had once found Turchin’s historical model­ing unpersuasive, but 2020 made him a believer: “At this point,” Douthat recently admitted on a podcast, “I feel like you have to pay a little more attention to him.”
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#19
It's hard to have imagined a plague as contagious and lethal as COVID-19 appearing in the advanced industrial world -- or even in countries roughly in the second-tier of economic development. Yet it happened. I had my nightmare of a virus as lethal as AIDS spreading through behavior less controllable than sex or IV drug use. (OK, there are IV-drug users and people of compulsive sexuality whom AIDS ravaged. I'm not going to make any moral conclusions).

One of the harshest realities of biology is that animals excessively ubiquitous (by natural standards) eventually get cut down with parasites, cancers, and infections, especially if those are social creatures. That means us, dogs, cattle, horses, and domestic cats. Apparently COVID-19 came from animals -- bats -- that congregate in gigantic numbers. Bats are among our closest non-primate relatives, so it is easy to see how bats could become vectors of dangerous plagues. The crowded late-medieval cities (and they were extremely crowded even by modern standards) were the sites of mass death from the Black Death.

We have been taking undue chances with crowded, unsanitary worksites. Workers in some food-processing places wear diapers in case their bladders or bowels might compel a toilet break. Maybe that does not spread COVID-19, but some of those food-processing places were especially prone to COVID-19 because people were too close in crowded plants.

To maximize profits and to make things meet a price point we cut corners, and at some point that corner-cutting can get lethal.
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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