A History of the Near Future: What history tells us about our Age of Discord

Last week I visited Centre for Complex Systems Studies (CCSS) in Utrecht, where I gave a talk about my research results and plans for the Ages of Discord project. Several people on Twitter asked to see the slides, and so I am posting them on this blog. First, here’s an abstract of the talk: A History of the Near Future: What history tells us about our Age of Discord Peter Turchin Complexity Science Hub Vienna, and University of Connecticut Social and political turbulence in the United States and a number of European countries has been rising in recent years. My research, which combines analysis of historical data with the tools of complexity science, has identified the deep structural forces that work to undermine societal stability and resilience to internal and external shocks. Here I look beneath the surface of day-to-day contentious politics and social unrest, and focus on the negative social and economic trends that explain our current “Age of Discord.” Second, the slides are posted as PDF here. Third, you might be interested in two articles that provide more detail on our research plans: Turchin, Peter, Nina Witoszek, Stefan Thurner, David Garcia, Roger Griffin, Daniel Hoyer, Atle Midttun, James Bennett, Knut Myrum Næss, and Sergey Gavrilets. 2018. History of Possible Futures: Multipath Forecasting of Social Breakdown, Recovery, and Resilience. Cliodynamics 9: 124–139. Turchin, Peter, Sergey Gavrilets, and Jack A. Goldstone. 2017. “Linking ‘Micro’ to ‘Macro’ Models of State Breakdown to Improve Methods for Political Forecasting.” Cliodynamics 8: 77–99.