Please take these cycle theory with a grain of salt. It is too easy to find patterns and to invent explanations for them, but there is no more reason to have recurring patterns in history than to have patterns when playing with a dice.
which are the mathematical explanation of predator prey cycles, shows what's missing in the article and possibly in the research - the explanation for the cycles.
Predator-prey cycles can be tied back to biological constants - how quickly prey and predator reproduce, how the availability of prey affects predator reproduction, etc. Thus, if you want to model wolves and sheep rather than foxes and rabbits, you can do so, if you know the various biological constants.
I don't get the sense that Turchin has identified the underlying dynamics.
Then you should read his work. He describes what he thinks are the driving dynamics of the rise-and-fall process.
1. the "secular" cycle: in the beginning of the cycle, supply and demand for labour roughly balance out. In time, the population grows, labour supply outstrips demand, elites form and the living standards of the poorest fall. At a certain point, the society becomes top-heavy with elites, who start fighting for power. Political instability ensues and leads to collapse, and the cycle begins again.
2. the "fathers and sons" cycle: the father responds violently to a perceived social injustice; the son lives with the miserable legacy of the resulting conflict and abstains; the third generation begins again.
Thanks for the nudge.
What's left out of this link is that Turchin still hedges his findings heavily. He's not performing precise predictions; he can't. He's pointing out dynamics that acquire massive social inertia and eventually force the phase change of whole societies.
SPOILERS (just little ones, but still)
Essentially, a historical visitation by aliens is revealed due to the failure of a certain group of people to fit the mathematical model of what their history should have been- the arrival of aliens was not considered as a factor in the theory.
When I read the first book of the series, an idea that resonated with me was the marginalization of scientists. I kept seeing aspects of current society reflected in his work. What I wonder is if scientists felt the same way at the time Asimov wrote the series?
P.S. It is a fantastic series of books. I encountered them my chance in the last few years. Highly recommended!
>It's a US-centric graph
The title is "Human cycles: History as science"
A US-centric graph that represents the cycles of humanity?
Do we need a fancy name for the phenomenon that aspects of history tend to repeat?
Yes, aspects of history tend to repeat, but there's no way to use that knowledge to determine periodicy, severity, when it will happen, if it will happen etc.
I'll say what Alkamie didn't. This is bullshit.
Besides, there will be too many old people in the US to have mass riots in the 2020's.
One example: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405311190410670457658...
For instance, Turchin mentions seeing this pattern in Ancient Rome and Egpyt (past and present) but he doesn't explain how he accounts for the Middle Ages and European colonial expansion. Arguably the number of "violent" events during those periods would be concentrated to the point of potentially breaking the father-son-grandson model he advocates. The chart in Nature leaves out things like the Reconquista of Spain, Ghengis Khan and heirs marching into Europe, the Crusades, the 50 years war, the French Revolution, and numerous other major upheaval events that occurred in smaller windows than those 50 year cycles he claims.
I guess I want to know what happens when you add in those time frames missing from his graph. Does it show the amount of "conflict" in the world decreasing with time as civilization (our understanding of it) expands around the world?
For one thing, major events in human history absolutely are (or have been) pivotal on just one or a few individuals. A fun book on this is, "What If?", by Robert Cowley. Also, "How the Scots Invented the Modern World". Being the right person, in the right place, at the right time has been a recurring theme throughout history. For example, the final vote for the unification of Scotland and England was led by one passionate, older man -- who died of a stroke later that night. Had he died the night before, it's likely that his opposition, an almost equally skilled and passionate orator, would have won the vote instead.
The fathers-and-sons cycle described in the article is a relatively recent phenomenon, where society is settling down into a more peaceful state overall, and even then, the two greatest wars in human history violate the cycle: World Wars 1 and 2. Popular sentiment in the U.S. was against being involved in World War 2, after the horrors scene by the previous generation in World War 1, so the cycle isn't completely without merit. But, as usual in human history, there are too many other factors involved in the outcome.
I also think that history changes a lot depending on how you look at it. There are so many human societies on the planet at any given time, each one doing so many different things, that it's easy to step too far back in perspective by ignoring many of the events of history, and then start to think that you an discern some kind of a pattern or cycle. One of my favorite books for this is "Chronicle of the 20th Century", a collection of short-form news articles and pictures from the U.S. from 1900 through 1987. Flipping through that, it's always stunning just how much is so easily forgotten, how rich and complex each day was for the people living through those years.
I'd hope he'd pretty easily be able to generate graphs like this for every society where the data is available - should be at least a dozen or so over the last 150-200 years. Though I'd imagine if his theory is correct, the time spans would vary slightly from society to society based on average age of parents at the time of childbirth.
In 1st world countries I think protests are doomed. Wait till they start rolling out the sonic canons and drones at the RNC and DNC conventions this year and see if you agree. Oh and as a bonus, the millions spent on "security" at the conventions is taxpayer funded - congress votes on it for themselves every time.
There isn't an increase in violence, there's an increase in information now. There weren't cellphone videos of police violence on youtube in the 1970s (neither existed). There weren't 24 hour news stations who needed any content they could get (violence sells). We're over-saturated with ways to see current violence, and it can make it seem like it's happening more now (there's more reports of it, so it seems like it must be happening more). That's not at all the case.
Protesters have had much harder times than "sonic cannons". Try soldiers shooting into a crowd (e.g. Bloody Sunday in 1972, Northern Ireland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Sunday_(1972) )
Personally I am an optimist and think that as a whole we will continue to persevere and generally get it right more often, with more free information, we learn faster and eventually we evolve our outlook and efforts for the better.
Not because we want to, it's something about our species and tenacity to survive happy.