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

Peter Turchin


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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.

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David Vognar

Thank you for the slides, Peter. I look forward to digging into your always limpid analysis.

Graeme Bushell

Peter, I’ve been hesitant to simplify structural demographic theory as far as a predator-prey relationship between elites and commoners, but OMFG your slide 24.

Robert Banks

Where is slide 24 – I can only see 19?


Fred Nicol

While I agree with your general premise(s), I think that any attempt to address economics that omits credit expansion will fall far short in its ability to analyze the present or predict the future. Dismissing “burgeoning public debt” by postulating that it can be solved by progressive taxes ignores the total debt within the system (public and private) and ignores the original purpose of the credit expansion (creating jobs and “spreading wealth”). Social “democracies” have underwritten private debt with their “safety nets”. These obligations cannot be dismissed by bankruptcies.

The end of the credit expansion will result in vast numbers of newly idle hands. Will governments respond with projects that employ idle hands? History says so. Will this increase the numbers and power of the bureaucracy? History says so. Will these bureaucracies comprise new elites and new inter-state competition? History says so.

My point being that I think the underlying problems are much worse than you postulate and the danger much greater. I think the prospects of a peak in the 2020s is overly optimistic.

Fred Nicol

“Where do I dismiss the problem of public debt? ”

Slide 2 at the top of column 2: “…burgeoning public debt can be addressed by making tax rates more progressive.”

I would contend ( in a much longer argument than can be contained here) that “public debt” is merely a symptom of the far greater problem, which is worldwide credit expansion (and unfunded/unfundable social obligations).

Fred Nicol

“I would contend ( in a much longer argument than can be contained here) that “public debt” is merely a symptom of the far greater problem, which is worldwide credit expansion (and unfunded/unfundable social obligations).”

And, of course, at the core of that problem is the greater problem of overpopulation, whose “solutions” we do not wish to countenance.

Antti K.

I would have to agree on the importance of Credit expansion (see Steve Keen’s time series and modeling on this), but whether it is a real driver or more of a proxy for other deeper factors is not so clear.

Paula Downey

Peter, for people like me (non-academic, grappling with my lived experience and ways to understand it) could you explain Slide 24 and your comment “Yet the dynamical pattern is not that of predator-prey.”

What are these data sets revealing about what is actually happening?


Bascially when there are lots of elits fighting it means bad times for common people and vice versa.

J. Daniel

As one of the slides, and more details in “Ages of Discord” make clear, the increasing inequality of wealth (at least in the US) is more interesting than just a shift from the masses to the elites. Even among the elites, the higher you go, the faster the acceleration of wealth.
Would it be wrong to see this as a process by which the masses are first immiserated, then as there becomes little left to take, the immiseration process creeps upward into the lower echelon of the elites, then into the middle echelon, and so on, until so much of the society wants change that the few left who are doing well can’t control things any more despite their disproportionate grip on social power?
That is to say, is that interpretation as consistent with the computer model as the “elite overproduction” interpretation?
Continuing this line of conjecture, as immiseration causes more people to “immigrate” into the most available part of the elite (i.e., its lower echelons), they compete, their financial compensation thus goes down, and they thus become relatively immiserated with their productive energy enriching the higher elite echelons. Then the process moves onto the next lowest level of the elites, continuing until, again, the few left who are benefiting are not enough to control things and maintain stability.

R. N. England

I suspect the whole exercise, well-meaning as it is, is befuddled with group selectionism. What is selected is culture, the set of contingencies of reinforcement that control people’s behaviour. If you want to be scientific about people you have to analyse their behaviour in the way discovered by B. F. Skinner. No other way is scientific. Populations have permeable borders, drift about, get controlled by different cultures as time goes by.

The absorption of the culture of science and engineering into Chinese culture, and the rise to dominance of the cultural poison of radical individualism (which Skinner showed was incompatible with science) in Western culture, are what is changing the world.

Loren Petrich

I have a problem. I can’t find the source data that was used to make the histogram in page 31 of the PDF slides file. It’s described as “30 societies experiencing revolutionary situations (Europe, Russia, Middle East, India, China, US)”.

In particular, the coding of the data according to “Severity components of the outcome: Population decline, Population decline > 50%, Lethal epidemic, Elite: massive downward mobility, Elite: dispossession or extermination, Ruler executed or assassinated, Transformative revolution, Civil war, Prolonged civil wars (>100 years), Territorial fragmentation, External conquest”

I’d like to find out if any of these troubles tend to be (anti)correlated with each other.

Loren Petrich

From Slide 10, it’s interesting where life expectancy is worst — and there is an interesting correlation between such places and support for President Donald Trump. The big cities of the Northeast and California, however, have been doing well by this measure.

But even there, many people have not been doing well. In New York City and some other places, gentrification has been making some places unaffordable for many long-time residents, and it includes a large number of luxury apartments bought as investments but otherwise unused. This has hurt local businesses near those apartments.


“But even there, many people have not been doing well. In New York City and some other places, gentrification has been making some places unaffordable for many long-time residents, and it includes a large number of luxury apartments bought as investments but otherwise unused. This has hurt local businesses near those apartments.”

Pretty certain that, if you look at net business creation/output and numbers instead of anecdotes, that gentrification has raised business activity in gentrified areas.

Loren Petrich

If gentrification is middle-class and upper-middle-class people moving in, then it has good economic effects. Such people have more money to spend, and that has positive economic effects. However, the people already living there may grumble “There goes the neighborhood.”

If gentrification is distant oligarchs buying empty apartments as investments, then it is not so good.

Loren Petrich

I can’t help but mention Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, someone who IMO qualifies as an elite aspirant, and someone who has had some spectacular success. She made a video for her campaign in the 2018 primaries, “The Courage to Change” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rq3QXIVR0bs , and she makes an almost textbook description of runaway elite wealth and popular immiseration in it. Rents and healthcare becoming more expensive without incomes going up to match. Who is this city changing for? she asks in it. She describes herself as up against someone who is obviously elite, Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent who lives elsewhere and who is good at DC power politics and getting big money.

Her parents gave her a head start from moving from the Bronx to the nearby suburb of Westchester, with its nicer schools, and she did well in a science project there. She went to college in Boston University, first wanting to become a doctor and doing some maternal health work in West Africa. But that seemed like a dead end, so she changed to economics and international relations, and did well there. She got a taste of politics by being an intern for Teddy Kennedy, but she thought a political career too difficult without money or connections. She also liked to participate in the Howard Thurman Center there, being involved in intellectual discussions, and once discussing greatness on video in an event in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. She also did a Breakfast-Club dance video there.

Afterward, she then moved to the Bronx and attempted to start a book-publishing company, and was involved in another startup as “Lead Educational Director”. Both of them failed, and she ended up becoming a waitress and a bartender to support herself. In early 2016, she worked for Bernie Sanders’s campaign, and late that year, she delivered supplies to some protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Protesters whose actions deeply impressed her. Some other former Bernie Sanders campaigners soon recruited her to run for Congress, and she got started in that.

Filmmaker Rachel Lears documented her run in “Knock Down The House” along with the runs for Congress of three other women. AOC went the way of some aspiring elites, going populist, reaching out to voters who don’t usually vote in midterms, especially not in midterm primaries. She also used social media heavily, and she continues to have a big social-media presence. She succeeded, a big surprise to everybody, including herself. That success made her a big celebrity.

Loren Petrich

AOC is far from alone in such successes, and she was preceded by the Tea Party, which made “primary” into a verb – “to defeat in a primary”. The Tea Party’s biggest success was economics professor David Brat’s defeat of Eric Cantor, 7-term incumbent and former House Majority Leader. But DB did not make much of an impact and he was defeated after 2 terms.

AOC is part of a progressive wave that includes some other defeaters of long-time incumbents:
Ro Khanna (D-CA) beat 8-term incumbent Mike Honda in 2016
AOC (D-NY) beat 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in 2018
Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) beat 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano in 2018
Sharice Davids (D-KS) beat 4-term incumbent Kevin Yoder in 2018

Of the three others that Rachel Lears chronicled, two of them almost succeeded:
Cori Bush failed to beat 9-term incumbent William Lacy Clay (D-MO) in 2018, getting 37% of the vote
Paula Swearengin failed to beat 4-term incumbent Joe Manchin III (D-WV) in 2018, getting 30% of the vote
Amy Vilela failed to win the primary in 2018, getting 9% of the vote

For 2020, these are some of the challengers who have lined up:
Marie Newman is challenging 8-term incumbent Dan Lipinski (D-IL)
Jessica Cisneros is challenging 8-term incumbent Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
Melanie D’Arrigo is challenging 2-term incumbent Tom Suozzi (D-NY)
Alex Morse is challenging 16-term incumbent Richard Neal (D-MA)
Mckayla Wilkes and Briana Urbana are challenging 20-term incumbent Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Agatha Bacelar, Shahid Buttar, and Tom Gallagher are challenging 17-term incumbent Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) – House Speaker

BTW, AOC’s recruiters were “Brand New Congress”, and BNC originally had ambitious plans to run some 400 challengers. But it scaled back to about 30 candidates, and only one of them won – AOC.


Sean Trende always has good insights in to politics grounded in history:

He sees the Internet Revolution+mass immigration+changing society/social mores (in part due to immigration to and urbanization of the suburbs)+inequality of today’s Second Gilded Age to be as socially and politically wrenching as the First Gilded Age with it’s Second Industrial Revolution+mass immigration+changing society/social mores (in part due to immigration from the countryside to the cities)+inequality. That political era culminated with the election of 1896 and the start of the 4th Party System. We are on the cusp of the start of the 7th Party System, following the pattern forecasted by Steven Skowronek. Our only saving grace is that our transition will likely not be extremely bloody because the US population is relatively old and old people aren’t willing to risk their lives the way young firebrands are: https://sites.insead.edu/facultyresearch/research/doc.cfm?did=47411

Loren Petrich

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/opinion/trump-history-presidents.htmlhttps://spot.colorado.edu/~mcguire/skow2 – Stephen Skowronek proposes four kinds of presidencies:

Reconstructive: Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, (TR?), FDR, Reagan – they built new political orders

Affiliated or Articulating: Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, Bush I, Bush II – they carry on the work of their predecessors

Preemptive: Eisenhower, Nixon, Clinton, Obama – they offer alternatives, but they largely stay inside existing political forms

Disjunctive: JQ Adams, Pierce, Buchanan, Hoover, Carter – “They have the misfortune to lead the dominant party when the regime is losing its legitimacy and the party’s factions are at each other’s throats.”

George Bush II seems close to disjunctive and Donald Trump seems to fit very well.


Bush II was pretty incompetent but not very disjunctive. He hewed closely to all 3 pillars of the Reagan GOP: Socially conservative + economically libertarian + hawkish/neo-con/(previously anti-Commie) on foreign policy.

Trump has sunk to a new depth of incompetence and venality and also has weakened all of the 3 Reagan GOP pillars. He’s given social conservatives the political victories they want, but his own personal behavior being the antithesis of what social conservatives profess are important to them has shown everyone else that social conservatives/evangelicals have sold their souls for Caesar’s gold. On economics, he’s turned the GOP mercantilist. On foreign policy, he’s turned the GOP almost 180 degrees. He’s also turned the GOP (even more) in to the party of corruption, lies, self-dealing, and venality. In that sense, Trump is a lot like Carter in being incompetent and heterodox on policy, but unlike Carter in being much worse (pretty much the complete opposite) morally and ethically. The upcoming elections will be a big test for Skowronek’s theory.

steven t johnson

Skowroneck relies extensively on dubious history, so much so I couldn’t finish his book. Further, the political science aspect seems to be dominated by a false notion of parties in the plurality district representative system in the US as actually representing two distinct programs. In the US, the parties are usually just Ins and Outs, with broad agreement on the basics policies behind the jousting over changes at the margin.But when the course of events forces the parties into actually representing two distinct programs, then it’s more or less a political crisis right there. Even worse, he seems to his task as “explaining” which presidents were winners.

There is no meaningful sense in which LBJ was not a “reconstructive” president, as civil rights were a huge reconstruction. Nor is there a meaningful sense in which LBJ was merely continuing the work of his predecessors. Further, Truman was not continuing the New Deal in substantive political terms, beginning a decades long military crusade against Communism which took millions of lives. Truman also presided over the deliberate shrinking of the New Deal coalition, excluding the left as much as possible. The Dixiecrat defection was successfully reincorporated into the two-party system, i.e., neither party was committed to civil rights. But the excision of any tolerance, much less cooperation, with communists/socialists, including in due course the purge of the labor movement was permanent.

Further, especially in a book about presidential politics, the distinction between party leaders and national leaders, and when and why presidents refuse to act is very important. The notion that Pierce and Buchanan were do nothing people because they didn’t have unified parties is absurd. They were committed to supporting the slavers. Clinton and Obama were committed to a turn away from Great Society politics, or even a more popular politics as exemplified by McGovern. The idea that Lincoln was a reconstructive politician ignores Lincoln’s pronounced tendency to respond to the pressure of events.

And as far as discord goes, ignoring that Eisenhower/Nixon were part of the great post-war purges, and that Nixon deliberately tried to use the government against elite opponents, is unacceptable in a serious analysis. Trump is Nixon’s successor in this regard. Their difficulties are not partisan weakness, but pursuing a program of elite repression of the majority (though both claimed to serve the real majority.)

Skowroneck? What’s next, taking Corey Robin seriously?

Loren Petrich

I don’t think that Abraham Lincoln *intended* to be some great transformative president. But his responses to events are what made him one.

Harry Truman proposed his “Fair Deal”, a further development of the New Deal. He also ordered the desegregation of the armed forces. The Dixiecrats broke with the rest of the Democratic Party because of that and other such civil-rights efforts.

LBJ’s Great Society likewise followed in the tradition of the New Deal. His civil-rights legislation was the culmination of a decade of civil-rights activism.

The Cold War was a separate issue. One could do New-Deal-like things and still be a cold warrior. LBJ was both, with his Great Society and his ramping up of the Vietnam War.


Truman was the first President to try to extend healthcare to the entire US population, and yes, desegregated the Armed Forces as Loren pointed out.

The “popular politics” of McGovern were so popular that he experienced one of the biggest trouncings ever in a Presidential election ever.

Loren Petrich

George McGovern had the problem that the Democratic Party’s main supporters were rather badly split: labor unions vs. the New Left.

The labor-union side did not like the New Left very much. In 1970, some construction workers even had a “hard-hat riot” against Vietnam-War opponents. George Meany, then head of the AFL-CIO, said about the 1972 New York delegation, “What kind of delegation is this? They’ve got six open fags and only three AFL/CIO people on that delegation!”

The New Left didn’t like the labor-union side very much either.

George McGovern seemed to take the side of the New Left, and the labor unions deserted him, letting Richard Nixon win in most states.

Loren Petrich

A broader theory is the cyclical theory advocated by Arthurs Schlesinger I and II – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclical_theory_(American_history)

It states that US history alternates between two kinds of eras:
Liberal – Conservative
Wrongs of the Many – Rights of the Few
Increase Democracy – Contain Democracy
Public Purpose – Private Interest
Human Rights – Property Rights

Each kind of era is self-limiting and each kind generates the other kind, creating a cycle. Conservative eras accumulate unsolved social problems, problems that society’s elites are unable or unwilling to address – if they think that those are really problems. This provokes a lot of efforts to address these problems, efforts often involving mass activism. That starts liberal eras, eras that often make far-reaching reforms. But activism can be exhausting, especially if it seems to be successful, and another conservative era starts.

Loren Petrich

The eras are approximately:

1776 Lib Adoption of Constitution – 1788 Con Hamiltonian Federalism – 1800 Lib Jefferson Era – 1812 Con Aftermath of 1812 War – 1829 Lib Jackson Era – 1841 Con Slaveowner Dominance – 1861 Lib Abolition of Slavery – 1869 Con Gilded Age – 1901 Lib Progressive Era – 1919 Con Republican Restoration – 1931 Lib New Deal Era – 1947 Con Eisenhower Era – 1962 Lib Sixties Era – 1978 Con Gilded Age II

Skowronek’s reconstructive presidents are associated with liberal eras, except for Ronald Reagan. Shifts in party systems are also associated with liberal eras.

Gilded Age II has been accumulating social problems, something that has provoked both the Left (the Occupy movement, the Wisconsin Revolt) and the Right (the Tea Party, Trump’s Presidency). The Occupy movement failed miserably. Its organizers failed to find new meeting places, so they dispersed when they were kicked out of city parks. The Wisconsin Revolt also failed. The Tea Party was not very successful at offering a positive alternative. Donald Trump is looking more and more like one of the worst presidents in US history, if not the worst.

The Left is now turning more of its attention to offices other than the Presidency, and AOC’s spectacular victory is a part of that – a successful effort and an encouragement of others’ efforts.

steven t johnson

The idea that Hamilton, whose program would have resulted in more rapid urbanization, was somehow more conservative than Jefferson’s, which aimed at planters with slaves guiding the yeomanry as benevolent superiors, with its invocation of states’ rights, with its aim to diminish government even to the point of failing to build infrastructure, is more liberal assumes a weird understanding of “liberal,” I think. In daily life, the citizens of the English towns and cities had kind of freedom very few other places in the world had. Hamilton’s desire to model the US on England included that kind of freedom as well a Senate as a kind of house of lords. Besides, Jefferson’s planters may not have called themselves lords, then, at least. But functionally they were. Hamilton may have been appropriated later as a conservative icon, but Hamilton was the kind of person who would engage with Francisco Miranda, the father of Venezuelan resistance to Spain…and Jefferson wasn’t. Our modern categories do not fit neatly into the past.

Loren Petrich

I’d have to check on Arthur Schlesinger Sr’s argument in “Paths to the Present”. But Thomas Jefferson liked small farmers, and I recall from somewhere that he considered several schemes to protect them. By comparison, Alexander Hamilton seemed too much in favor of economic elitism, too much on the side of creditors instead of debtors.

I’d also have to check on his arguments about the Jackson Era. But his identifications of later eras, those look good.

Roger Cooper

I question the real wage graphs, showing real wage stagnation since 1973. Inflation figures don’t reflect technological change, so real wage figures don’t truly show people’s standard of living.

For the period from 1945 to 1973, economic growth meant more stuff, bigger houses, cars & appliances and the like. This growth came to end because of resource limitations and diminishing returns. Instead since 1973, growth has meant better stuff. This is harder to measure, but is very real.

In addition, I see plenty of political discord in every decade in the United States. The civil rights movement and reaction to in 1950’s and 1960’s. The anti-war protests of the 1960’s. The urban riots of 1960’s & 1970’s. The labor strife of the late 1940’s. Even during WW2, there were the Zoot Suit riots. Political discord seems to be a norm.

Loren Petrich

What our host has done is to quantify how much discord, by finding the death toll per decade from various kinds of unrest:

* One-on-one: political assassination
* One-on-many: terrorism
* Many-on-one: lynching
* Many-on-many: riots

There were spikes in 1870, 1920, and 1970, a broad peak at 1900 that extended 1820 – 1960, and increasing violence since 1960. This means that we should be in for a lot of trouble over the next decade.


Peter van den Engel

The difference is the crowd is now much more aticulate than then and has endless possibilty for discussion and finding the truth.
My guess is it will be verbal warfare most of the time and or demonstration. Which is going on already. It includes evolutionary change and is not an absolute constant in prediction.

Roger Cooper

Let me draw attention to a specific important graph,comment image?w=800. This graph relating political violence with structura-demographic pressure has a nice trend line, but with is the r2 here, Pretty low from the look of the plot. If you remove the 2 data points near the -2 on the lower left and the highest data point, the correlation almost disappears.I would hesitate to draw to much of conclusion. Without the raw data, it is hard to analyze more.

Peter van den Engel

Although it is vey smart to have a system predicting evolution; let alone introduce the knowledge humans are just as well still involved in it: it never stopped with the biological evolution Darwin discribed so well, it is an ongoing process of adaptation involving subjects resulting in a better srate the ‘body’ was in before.
Like democracy was a better system for ruling than monarchy and abolishing slavery was a better state than including it.
So, in short: it is not just a reoccurring system of waves; although they are predictive; blindly repeating themselves like the weather. As if nothing changes.

The adaptation involves a friction because old systems (hierarchies of thinking and behavior) which are in place need to be adapted or otherwise removed.
There is always an opposition involved in it, also describing what the subject is and in relation to two classes: the aristocracy and the commons, because the first are ruling: deciding on the hierarchy rules and the others are forced to live in it, to be the materialisation of it, so who would better know what it is/ which is in opposition with their general knowledge level.
Because it is a political process, science overlooks that this is mostly involved in a negative, because it is restrictive (law is a military way of system hierarchy,:not a discussion): it does not play out in progress, like being able to make something: the economy is a far more important driver fir human evolution and science is.
So then you are ficussing on an important element of evolution, but it is not the only one.
Immiseration can also be the collapse of a previous expectation of the future: like housing is now;, which has a parallel with global warming, because both are destructive, playing out in the same collective psychology, athough both subjects seem unrelated.

The friction can peak/ but actually the adaptation process usually takes a lot longer than that, presumably some fifty years, before the next one starts. .

The subjects right now would be the ruling system again: involving the two classes/ but at the same time with the intention to turn it into a network system (evolution) related to direct democracy ,which would no longer involve one peak distribution, but many at the same time. Thetrefore what hapoend in the US and England expresses the highest opposition towards that, having only two parties is the closest to the old system.

Next to that an adaptation of the financial system, which including its debt (which is a misinterpretation of the natural physics it is involved in: a mirored explanation of reality), because it plays out as a negative for evolution, now, whereas it was a positive during the previous stage with its expansion. Clearly these adaptations will take a longer period and are already underway. But thete might be peaks in the realisation that playing out in protest or change itself.

Peter van den Engel

The mirored up and down waves shown in the slide representing the two classes, imply the evolutionary state. Which is progressive during the fase the commons feel best/ and reaches friction during the state the elites are in conflict. I presume their overproduction: expansion is related to the fact two oppositions are at play at the same time during that period/ whereas during the progressive stage only one (driver) was vital, so it involved only one (smaller) elite representing the hierarchy.
So they are not a predator pray relation,/ but consecutive stages involved in the logic of the underlying process.


Wow! Very impressive.

Your slide showing immiseration / inequality echoes the almost 200 year hysterical or ‘hysteroidal’ cycle written about by A. Lobaczewski, author of ‘Political Ponerology’. The half-cycle, lasting nearly 100 years, begins when a privileged elite refuses to face repressed truths about how it maintains its privileges, and to do this it becomes egotistical, emotional and uses twisted thinking – ‘hysteria’. This hysteria spreads downwards to the children and grandchildren of the elite and horizontally across to the rest of society (e.g. through media dominated by the elite expressing their world views), and towards the peak of this hysteria the nation becomes polarised and paralysed (e.g. as a result of egotism and subsequent refusal to compromise). If it’s lucky there’s a wake-up call such as a lost war that restores its sanity. If it’s unlucky then ‘spellbinders’ rise to power – charismatic, lying and manipulative individuals. Eventually an extremely egotistical and psychopathological ‘spellbinder’ comes to power.

At this point a different cycle begins to impose itself upon the hysteroidal cycle. The repressed truths (hypocrisy) have led to an inability by many people to see psychopathological individuals for what they really are. The spellbinder and his party begin to sink downwards, with psychopathological individuals being attracted towards the party as decent people leave. Eventually the party becomes dominated by extremely low-conscience and zero-conscience individuals, which is the birth of of a ‘pathocracy’ or rule by psychopathological individuals hiding behind an ‘ideological mask’. An ideological mask is a convenient belief system that such individuals pretend to believe in.

Lobaczewski wrote that there have been many pathocracies throughout history. When he first wrote this book in 1984 he was already pointing out, with some distress, that the USA was falling worryingly sick, echoing the sickness he had witnessed first hand in pre-war Europe. He wrote that the USA was 80 years behind the European hysteroidal cycle – which means that the USA is now roughly where Europe was at in 1939. I would suggest that the UK is 10-15 years behind the USA hysteroidal cycle, and that the UK’s hysteroidal cycle is not linked to the European cycle. Europe should be nearing its peak psychological health very soon.

Lobaczewski was the last surviving member of an underground group of psychologists and psychiatrists who were studying, at great personal risk, how totalitarian states are created. He himself was a clinical psychologist with a very technical, scientific, statistical mind.

Lobaczewski wrote that a whole range of factors determine what happens to a nation when it starts to sicken, including socio-economic conditions, moral and intellectual failings, and a lack of accurate psychological knowledge about psychopathology. He also pointed out that there’s a chicken and egg situation in that psychopathological individuals exist within every society and that they play a role in the process of hysterisation – but in the recurring cycles of hysteria which came first, moral failings or the influence of psychopathological individuals?

I suggest that some modern-day repressed truths are social immobility (where typically an elite pulls up the drawbridge behind them), social inequality (which seems to be continually increasing), climate change (it’s inconvenient to see), species extinction, global inequalities, and political inequalities (e.g. an elite class dominating a political system) etc.


Seems like there are 2 Richards here.


Sorry! Will try to differentiate myself!

Peter van den Engel

Antti K.
Cedit expansion depends on how serious the financial debt system is (was) taken and who’s controling it.
In the past (that is since the Medici prolonged to the Rothschields), it was taken vey seriously (the Romans had misused it according to them, by using a random silvermine as an entrypoint of money, which led to the degragation of its western culture, so it collapsed), and it being taken serious led to the second world war, because the family wanted to send the german culture into bancrupcy. It is s trust system: so it foretells what it finds good ot bad/ not what has proven to be good or bad.

Now the system via central bancs is back where the Romans started it (which is no longer family directed, but an absract take on reality), so it is allowed be random: unknown/ which is in sinc with the false presumption of the system of what debt in a natural physical sense actually is.
So, not a bad thing, but wanting further explanation.

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