Civilisation ‘could collapse in the 2020s’ due to rising inequality, scientist predicts

Rob Waugh
Picture Rex
Picture Rex

Picture Rex

A researcher who uses maths to analyse patterns of human behaviour says our civilisation is heading for a worrying ‘peak’ of instability in the next decade.

Peter Turchin of the University of Connecticut uses mathematics to analyse historical events – a discipline he calls ‘cliodynamics’.

Turchin says he doesn’t know what will happen when instability ‘peaks’ – but says that the signs are already here.

The turmoil is being driven by ‘elite overproduction’ – where the number of rich elites in society grows larger, and more distant from the poor.

He also blames, ‘the stagnation and decline of living standards and declining fiscal health of the state, resulting from falling state revenues and rising expenses’.

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Turchin says, ‘Cliodynamics is a new ‘transdisciplinary discipline’ that treats history as just another science. My model indicated that social instability and political violence would peak in the 2020s.

‘The presidential election which we have experienced, unfortunately, confirms this forecast. We seem to be well on track for the 2020s instability peak.’

‘The descent is not inevitable. Ours is the first society that can perceive how those forces operate, even if dimly.

‘This means that we can avoid the worst – perhaps by switching to a less harrowing track, perhaps by redesigning the rollercoaster altogether.’