Scientist-turned-historian Peter Turchin is best known for a dire prediction he made in 2010: we were headed for serious unrest, circa 2020. Peter came to this (as-so-happened) accurate prediction by treating the soft science of history like a hard one — what he calls cliodynamics. He and his team quantified indicators of social unrest in previous historical periods, generating a database of information, and then created a structural-dynamic model that could determine the biggest drivers of social violence and societal collapse. Peter, who’s currently serving as the Project Leader at the Complexity Science Hub in Vienna, talks to us about his approach to history, the factors that are most responsible for our current period of unrest, and the actions that could, just maybe, divert us from Civil War II.
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On the agenda:
-Peter pre-amble and Vishaan post-script (0:00-7:01)
-How cliodynamics work? (07:02-17:21)
-Quantifying instability, locating gaps, and making predictions (17:22-28:33
-The state of our present-day empire (28:34-38:28)
-The trouble with too many elites (38:29-51:34)
-How to stop an unfolding trainwreck (51:35-1:02:44)
Uncertain Things is hosted and produced by Adaam James Levin-Areddy and Vanessa M. Quirk. For more doomsday rumination, subscribe to: uncertain.substack.com.