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# Ages of Discord

by

We are on the wrong track

Seventy percent of Americans (and counting) think so. The inflation-adjusted wage of a US worker today is less than 40 years ago—but there are four times as many multimillionaires. As inequality grows, the infrastructure frays and the politics become more poisonous. Every year, more and more Americans go on shooting sprees, killing strangers and pa ...more

Seventy percent of Americans (and counting) think so. The inflation-adjusted wage of a US worker today is less than 40 years ago—but there are four times as many multimillionaires. As inequality grows, the infrastructure frays and the politics become more poisonous. Every year, more and more Americans go on shooting sprees, killing strangers and pa ...more

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Paperback, 274 pages

Published
September 2016
by Beresta Books

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So, reading this book in 2014 (a preprint that he posted on his website), has ever since given me an ominous feeling about the year 2020. It's not as if Turchin actually claimed to be able to predict the precise year in which our political crisis would hit a peak, but he did say it would be around the year 2020. Occasionally I would wonder if I should try to get me and my family out of the country before 2020, but it was never really clear to me where else would be ...more

Ages of Discord is one such book that seeks to explain why and how recurring periods of prosperity and distress arise focusing on structual-demographic variables.

To start with what I didn't like, I kept getting a sort of vague worry about sci ...more

There's a lot of math to back up what he's saying and boils down to a set of linked cycles in what he calls "Structural-Demographic Theory." Political instability mounts as the numbers of elites in society starts to overwhelm its ability to support them. Elites (and w ...more

This book uses statistics and demographics to analyze historical trends. Basically he contends that most human history follows a pattern of a period of rising amity followed by a period of rising conflict that likely results in a major war, and that those patterns are fairly regular and even predictable. The whole cycle lasts around 150-200 years, though there are more frequent 50-year spikes of unrest and retrenchment. He posits that we are currently in a period of rising conflic ...more

**Important**

Peter Turchin's modeling of social pressures leading on various kinds of economic and political instability is impressive. Showing a clear relationship in business cycles, wealth concentration, and social attitudes on a two cycle scale does make the kinds of political and health crises we see understandable. While there is some elasticity in his definitions that can make his transhistorical comparisons a little questionable, his model of U.S. is functional and, yes, he predicted we were ...more

alpha - the atlantic
...more

*Ages of Discord*is a cutting critique of American history that approaches well-known problems from unexpected angles; it’s a must-read for history buffs and anyone intere ...more

Peter Turchin thinks so, although he sees some key limitations to his method. I'm really surprised that Peter Turchin's books and work generally haven't caught on in history circles as much as the ...more

For people who are not convinced that Trump, Clintonistas, and BernieBros are all growing from the same soil, this is a good book to convince you otherwise. If you don't know who Nick Han ...more

*Ultrasociety*last year, I was fairly sure this would be impressive - and it is.

It is not for the faint hearted. There are equations in this book - and some knowledge of elementary algebra, of (very) elementary calculus, and of statistics up to regression analysis, are needed to follow all the modelling. However, it is quite shocking how

*little*mathematical modelling is actually needed to develop some ...more

Far away from mere po ...more

Earlier this year I read “Good Economics for Hard Times” by the 2019 Nobel Prize winners. Although I w ...more

This book gets 5 stars not because it's incredibly well-written (it's not) or that the author's theses are correct (they might not be). But he's doing something here that is incredibly important -- looking for deep patterns in history. Most historians have abandoned this field, focusing instead on the particularities of the time and place in question.

Turchin ...more

This book is a prime example of the fatal move: mistaking the model for the material. Combined with the fact that America has only, according to his analysis, gone through two "secular cycles," he should also be more cautious when predicting t ...more

You don't need to read Secular Cycles before or conncurent to reading ...more

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“Mathematical theory tells us that when a dynamical system has two kinds of nonlinear feedback loop with different periods, these two mechanisms are likely to interact nonlinearly and may generate erratic, unpredictable-looking behavior known as mathematical chaos (Gleick 1987).”
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“the Jívaro of South America recognize two different types of armed conflict. Wars waged against other Jívaro are essentially lengthy blood feuds, in which deaths are limited. Conflicts between neighboring tribes that “speak differently”, on the other hand, typically take the form of “wars of extermination”. Recently, I collected data on the historical incidence of genocide, focusing on the fates of populations of cities falling to a siege, or assault. The data indicate that genocide was an order of magnitude more frequent in wars between culturally very dissimilar steppe nomads and settled agriculturalists, compared with civil wars between culturally similar groups (Turchin 2011).”
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