For some, our political future is frightening. Others find it exciting. But Professor Peter Turchin from the University of Connecticut claims that it is time to prepare for political turmoil that could rock society to its core.
Turchin is known for developing a cross-disciplinary subject known as “cliodynamics,” which treats history like any other science, with predictions and models. He has been writing about the subject for some time, but three years ago he began working on predicting the future. One of his predictions was: “We should expect many years of political turmoil, peaking in the 2020s.”
Turchin says that “the negative trends seem to be accelerating,” and that in three years, the path to instability will seem unavoidable. He was quick to point out that Donald Trump’s presidential election neither accelerates nor decelerates the process, but was simply a predicted aspect of his theory.
Turchin’s concepts include “elite overproduction,” in which the rich grow richer and relate less and less to the poor. He said that elite overproduction would result in “ideological polarization and fragmentation of the political class.” He used the 2016 election as a prime example, and explained that the Republican party has shattered into different factions consisting of Traditional Republicans, Tea Party Republicans, and Trump Populists.
He also said the same applies to the Democratic Party, with the divide between Democratic Socialists and Establishment Democrats.
Turchin also notes that the weakening fiscal health of the state, which occurs as revenues fall and expenses rise, while quality of life stagnates and declines, will also play into instability in the US.
Trump’s proposed policies appear to fall in line with his predicted course towards total meltdown.
“Drastically reducing taxes on wealthy Americans will hardly strengthen the fiscal health of the state,” he wrote.
So does this mean that we should start preparing bomb shelters? Not necessarily, according to Turchin. While current events may be following his predicted trends, he does not believe that they are the be-all and end-all. “This is a science-based forecast, not a ‘prophecy’” he explained.
In order to avoid a major meltdown, Turchin proposes “an open discussion of problems and potential solutions,” but as anyone who has been on Twitter lately knows, that may prove difficult.
He also cited the need for better science, saying that a nonpolitical, nonpartisan institute should be set up to address these issues from a scientific standpoint.