University of Connecticut professor Peter Turchin believes civilization is in danger of collapse in the 2020s due to political turmoil hitting a fever pitch. Turchin has developed a mathematical method he believes can accurately explain and gauge human behavior.
Peter Turchin is an ecology and math professor at the Connecticut university. His research into the history of human behavior uses a cross-disciplinary system commonly referred to as "cliodynamics," the Daily Mail reports. Cliodynamics focuses upon deciphering broad social trends and the "deep structural causes" which occur as a result, according to the professor.
"Cliodynamics is a new 'transdisciplinary discipline' that treats history as just another science," Turchin said in a report for Phys.org. "Ten years ago I started applying its tools to the society I live in: the United States. What I discovered alarmed me."
Had never heard of #Cliodynamics and was unfamiliar with @Peter_Turchin's work. Interesting stuff. https://t.co/NyMzBvzytW"My model indicated that social instability and political violence would peak in the 2020s," Turchin stated.
— Darien Cavanaugh (@DarienCavanaugh) January 5, 2017
He and his many supporters on social media point to the wave of protests around the country and the vitriol of the 2016 election year as proof his methodology works.
"The presidential election which we have experienced, unfortunately, confirms this forecast," the Connecticut professor continued. "We seem to be well on track for the 2020s instability peak."
Exactly what will happen when the political turmoil peaks is not predicted by the professor's cliodynamics system. Turchin maintains his methodology does not predict actual events, just societal trends.
Just like nearly every poll conducted during the 2016 race, cliodynamics did not predict Donald Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton and become the 45th President of the United States.
"But it did predict rising social and political instability," the University of Connecticut professor added. "And, unless something is done, instability will continue to rise.'"
The instigating factors which could prompt the potential collapse of civilization might include the process of "elite overproduction," according to the professor. Turchin describes the process as a scenario which involves the number or wealthy, or elites, growing larger and becoming even more distant from the bulk of society and the poor.
Professor Turchin also believes "stagnation" and the decline of living standards, coupled with a decrease in economic prosperity as a result of increased expenses and a drop in state revenues, could spark a terminal fiscal downturn.
The professor does not want the trends predicted by his system to be viewed entirely as doom and gloom or an irrevocable situation. Turchin believes his findings could actually help save society from an extremely grim future.
"The descent is not inevitable. Ours is the first society that can perceive how those forces operate, even if dimly," Turchin noted. "This means that we can avoid the worst – perhaps by switching to a less harrowing track, perhaps by redesigning the roller coaster altogether."
Intra-Elite Competition: A Key Concept for Understanding the Dynamics of Complex Societies https://t.co/fJkj39aLxf pic.twitter.com/icMEY73jpKProfessor Turchin's study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He used math to predict human activity from 1500 B.C.E. to 1500 C.E. in an effort to figure out what factors are most influential in both the rise and fall of various civilizations throughout history. His process is reportedly similar to the manner used by ecologists when predicting the habits and spread of wildlife populations.
— Peter Turchin (@Peter_Turchin) December 30, 2016
The Connecticut professor's research revealed both conflicts between societies and military technology were the primary factors when predicting how a nation would spread over a map. When those important variables were removed from Turchin's equation, his ability to predict societal trends dropped to only a level of 16 percent accuracy.
His team at the University of Connecticut-based their math method of prediction on a system dubbed "cultural multilevel selection." This process indicated the evolution of complex societies is driven by competition among different groups.
If the public actions and comments both during and after the presidential election are any indication, the United States is most assuredly being impacted by two vastly differing and competing groups in society.
What do you think about the professor's prediction of a possible civilization collapse in the 2020s?
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