Some pundits call the famous capture of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 a demo version of the coming revolution. At the very least, it showed that the division in American society has reached previously unthinkable levels. Photo: Getty Images
When, in 2010, an American scientist, a sociologist of Russian origin, and a professor at the University of Connecticut Peter (Peter) Turchin predicted that in ten years the United States would enter a period of political instability and popular unrest, they did not believe him. Many even twisted their fingers at their temples; such a prognosis seemed too incredible at the time.
– It is difficult for all of us who grew up in the era of the mighty American Empire to imagine that a catastrophe could befall it. However, one must be prepared for such a variant of the development of the future, -he said then.
And now the promised decade has passed, and Turchin’s prognosis seemed to come true: to remember the riots that devastated the United States after the death of the African-American George Floyd, the seizure of the Capitol, the total refusal of international dollar agreements. All of this has now made even the most devoted fans of the Stars and Stripes world order doubt the eternal inviolability and unity of the United States.
– I was wrongly considered crazy. People did not understand that he was giving scientific forecasts, not prophecies, – Turchin said in response. Much more attention has now been drawn to Turchin’s scientific forecasts, especially after the release of his new book, which he symbolically called “The End of Time.”
“End of times”
In this work, the sociologist, who was the first to propose the introduction of the concept of “cliodynamics” (that is, the construction of mathematical models of history), presented his even harsher forecasts: the United States is dying and it really is not. . only on the verge of a new Great Depression, but also, possibly, another civil war.
A research group led by Turchin formed a database of the most diverse societies created by humanity no less than 10,000 years ago. And I discovered that all societies sooner or later face large-scale political crises. And a careful analysis of various criteria—forms of government, population, frequency of revolutions, and even the average height of a person—showed that there are two main factors that are almost guaranteed to lead to a revolution. The first is the impoverishment of the population; the second is the rise of excessive numbers of wealthy and highly educated people, the elite. In addition, the second factor is complex: there are many elite representatives, but the number of positions in society that they can occupy to satisfy their ambitions remains at the same level, causing a super-powerful crisis.
A clearly visible trend in the US is also related to education: a university degree is no longer a guarantee of a dignified future. The costs of obtaining a higher education have become so high that doctors, lawyers and scientists continue to pay loans to study at a college or university until almost the end of their lives. What has already created a large layer of people disappointed with their present and future without any hope of at least some improvement. And it is precisely this stratum, which Turchin calls the counter-elite, that provokes popular discontent and an uprising against the order that seems to have been established for centuries.
“Revolutions are not made by poor proletarians. Truly dangerous revolutionaries are failed suitors for the elite,” Turchin writes in his book.
who to fear
Hard-working Americans now earn the same wages (adjusted for inflation) that they did half a century ago. But the costs have gone up. Open statistics show that parents without a college degree today need to work four times as hard to pay for their child’s college education than if their child graduated from high school in the 1970s. The cost of running a home has risen several times, and the expenses for treatment and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle have increased tenfold. And this is only the economic component. The discontent of the black population is associated to this day with the existing racism in American society.
history still teaches
Turchin finds parallels in the United States today with the decades before the Civil War there. And he calls this similarity surprising. “Then, as now, the economy made the rich even richer and the poor even poorer… Popular impoverishment fostered social discord, which manifested itself in riots. From 1820 to 1825 (when times were good) there was only one riot. And from 1855 to 1860, that is, five years before the Civil War, at least 38 large-scale social protests broke out in American cities. Today we see a similar picture, ”he writes.
According to Turchin, the wealth pump that feeds America’s elites and sucks all the juices out of the people “has been running at full capacity for two generations.” Using the laws of cliodynamics, the author ends his book with a formidable prophecy: “The day the United States will overcome collapse is very close.”