Wednesday 10 June 2020

'Will the US Really Experience a Violent Upheaval in 2020?'


Will the US Really Experience a Violent Upheaval in 2020?

That headline is from August 03, 2012.

Eight years ago Peter Turchin produced a theory by which about every half century the USA goes through a period of violent disorder, starting with the Civil War.

'Circa 1870, the North fought the South in the Civil War. Half a century later, around 1920, worker unrest, racial tensions and anti-Communist sentiment caused another nationwide upsurge of violence. Then, 50 years later, the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement triggered a third peak in violent political, social and racial conflict. Fifty years after that will be 2020. If history continues to repeat itself, we can expect a violent upheaval in the United States in a few years.

'It sounds like pseudoscience, but it's a published theory. "My model suggests that the next [peak in violence] will be worse than the one in 1970 because demographic variables such as wages, standards of living and a number of measures of intra-elite confrontation are all much worse this time," said Peter Turchin, an ecologist, evolutionary biologist and mathematician at the University of Connecticut.'

I don't believe a word of it and note that the 1820s in the USA were known as the Era of Good Feelings. I read a book about it with that title by the great George Dangerfield.

On the other hand fifty years before the 1820s were the 1770s, when America was torn apart by what was in effect the first civil war.

Neagu Djuvara also, of course, believed history went in cycles. Europe's was finished, he told me, but America's still had a long way to run. Arnold Toynbee and Oswald Spengler thought the same thing. I very much want to read Spengler. 

On the net I found a Wikipedia entry about social cycle theories, which apparently are among the earliest social theories in sociology.

1 comment:

  1. Will the US Really Experience a Violent Upheaval in 2020?

    November could be extremely interesting. If Trump wins, especially if he wins by a narrow margin and loses the popular vote, large-scale political violence now seems highly possible.