On one level, that of macrosocial dynamics, what happened yesterday, January 6, 2021, is not surprising. After all, my own model indicates that structural pressures for instability in the United States continue to build up. On a more immediate micro-level, watching hundreds of demonstrators break into the Capitol building and rampage through its hallowed halls was shocking. At one point, as I was watching the ABC coverage, George Stephanopoulos exclaimed, “This is not Ukraine!” True, over the past years we have become accustomed to the sight of revolutionary crowds breaking into government buildings in such countries as Ukraine, Armenia, Tajikistan… But something similar happening in Washington D.C., that citadel of democracy and the rule of law? Stunning, indeed.
What’s next? The dynamics of political violence at the micro-level and in the short run are difficult to predict. More important is what will happen at the level of deep, structural-demographic trends. Popular immiseration has been increasing for decades. I have written before how shocking it was for me to see such Malthusian indicators of stress as declining life expectancy, which turned down before Covid-19. The epidemic has now delivered a body blow to the well-being of the great majority of the Americans, with life expectancy, employment and incomes, as well as subjective measures of well-being all trending down.
Elite overproduction, and especially overproduction of the youth with advanced degrees, continues unabated. Our institutions of higher education have been churning out law, MBA, and PhD degrees, many more than could be absorbed by the economy. In a Bloomberg View article published just a few days ago Noah Smith provides the numbers for the overproduction of PhDs (America Is Pumping Out Too Many Ph.D.s).
The third structural-demographic force pushing up instability is the state indebtedness. It seems less relevant than the first two, as the U.S., due to its control of the world’s reserve currency, can seemingly print the greenbacks at will (although can this really continue indefinitely?). But the more important level is not the federal one, but that of the states, many of which are getting so cash-strapped that they are forced to reduce their police forces, or unable to hire additional medical personnel that are needed to administer Covid-19 vaccine.
Perhaps the shock of the Storming of the Capitol will spur our political leaders to action that would address these structural pressures. The most important one is reversing the trend of increasing popular immiseration. Now that the US Senate runoffs in Georgia are over, the Democrats control the White House and both chambers of the Congress. The Biden administration has two years to turn the Titanic of the American State around. Will they succeed? The future will show.
These are the same dynamics that I’m seeing. The decline in status of teachers, pastors, professors, doctors. The major displacement of economic focus. An aging population dying young and high infant mortality. Immigration pressure on culture, etc.
An unmentioned element is the coming explosion of applied technology which will replace a huge amount of middle class jobs. Andrew Yang described it best in his campaign book The War on Normal People. The phenomena described by Martin Gurri in his The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium adds the final element to the mix.
IMO Biden’s role is to fail catastrophically, as well as his successor Kamala Harris. A new group of leaders will emerge in both parties. There will almost certainly be a Basic Income, and the application of technology will speed up even more.
The US is a banana republic now.
Brazil with a world-beating tech sector.
And that may be an insult to Brazil.
At least we know that we won’t have a dictatorship before 2024, but all bets are off after then. So I’m looking to leave the US by 2024.
Macroeconomists seem to think there is a huge savings glut that governments can tap at zero or near zero interest rates. One result of directing so much income to the wealthy is that they mostly save it. Government expenditures actually need to grow to recycle that excess savings. If invested in productive assets like up-skilling workers, repairing infrastructure and building out green industry, a lot can be done without creating burdensome debt. Reducing immiseration for example. Did this ever happen in the Malthusian past?
Thanks for the post Peter. When I saw the news reports, this phrase from the Bible came to mind:
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind
Something I am watching with growing unease is the amount of capital flowing to the stock markets rather than into job-generating enterprises or infrastructure. I am not an economist, but the resultant wealth gap just doesn’t seem sustainable. I just don’t see how my children who are now leaving college and entering the job market can obtain even the modest success I have achieved.
I’m pessimistic about the future because our political system and especially what passes for our political parties are not up to the task. Their vision of American and for solving problems is based on platitudes, appeals to a rosy past, and incoherent ideology that is both materialistic and self-centered.
America is good and muddling through and doing it well, but these are new circumstances with a much more competitive world stage.
Peter, I have been following your amazing research for more than a decade, and sharing it widely with my colleagues. As you have long written, the warning signs have been manifesting for many years, which has influenced my own professional work looking for positive solutions. Hence the following comment. This may seem counterfactual history reasoning, although it remains a viable, feasible, and win-win-win opportunity going forward: recognize there always has been and likely always will be a large segment of blue collar workers, unable or disinterested in striving to become part of the elite class of moneyed and power-hungry. Ensure policies, incentives, training, etc. for the pool of blue collar citizens in craftsmanship. My own half-century professional work has showcased the rich literature of evidence on the immensity of local employment and small/medium-sized business creation transforming the highly inefficient, global combustion-based energy system to a highly efficient global solar-based electric power system. This represents many tens of millions of new job opportunities in building construction, manufacturing, solar installations, etc. It means retaining at the local level most of the tens of trillions of dollars now exported to import fuels. It means significantly cleaner local air, water, and soils, at no extra cost to ratepayers and taxpayers. It would address the social justice concerns raised by impoverished, under-served communities. It would eliminate one of the primary drivers of international wars and conflicts over oil resources, offering deep cuts in the military-industrial complex, while actually strengthening real homeland security from terrorist and cyber-attacks on highly vulnerable nuclear reactors, refineries, transmission grids and pipelines. It would lead to 80% reductions in global CO2 emissions at no extra cost. This is not the only major opportunity for addressing populist unrest and insecurity, feelings that makes them vulnerable to demagoguery by autocrats. Another major opportunity for this same blue collar class is to greatly increase local food production using high-yield techniques only requiring simple hand tools, no agri-chemical inputs, and a fraction of water now all consumed in massive and excessive levels by the global monoculture agribusiness. I write about these issues in more detail, most recently on Medium – https://michaelptotten.medium.com/ I would further note that it isn’t applicable just to the blue collar class. With the rapid acceleration of disruptive technologies – the BRAIN, as I refer to Biosynthetics, Robotics, AI, Informatics and Nanotechnologies — displacing humans of all classes in one economic sector after another, humanity must de-emphasize life’s status and meaning defined by work, and re-emphasize life-long learning from endless curiosity, life-long play, as well as some work (that hopefully puts individuals into the flow experience described by scientists like Mihaly Csikszentmihályi).
> “Popular immiseration has been increasing for decades. I have written before how shocking it was for me to see such Malthusian indicators of stress as declining life expectancy, which turned down before Covid-19. The epidemic has now delivered a body blow to the well-being of the great majority of the Americans, with life expectancy, employment and incomes, as well as subjective measures of well-being all trending down.”
And that is why so many people are sucked into populist propaganda, are willing to believe lies intended to manipulate them, and are willing to do things like storm the Capitol. People are unhappy but, not having studied Structural-Demographic Theory, they don’t know why. So they blame whoever they’re told to blame. They are told by the elite-controlled national dialogue to blame other immiserated groups instead. So, the right wingers blame minorities, immigrants, and the nearly nonexistent antifa; the rest blame the right wingers; and attempts to lay blame on the historically skewed wealth distribution can’t gain traction because the elite are unified in pulling the strings necessary to avoid being blamed.
> “Elite overproduction, … continues unabated. Our institutions of higher education have been churning out law, MBA, and PhD degrees, many more than could be absorbed by the economy.”
The coming decline in high school graduates will start hitting institutions of higher education hard within the next few years.
> “The third structural-demographic force pushing up instability is the state indebtedness. It seems less relevant than the first two, as the U.S., due to its control of the world’s reserve currency, can seemingly print the greenbacks at will …”
I wonder if Peter is predicting that Social Security and Medicare are therefore relatively safe?
> “Perhaps the shock of the Storming of the Capitol will spur our political leaders to action that would address these structural pressures. The most important one is reversing the trend of increasing popular immiseration. Now that the US Senate runoffs in Georgia are over, the Democrats control the White House and both chambers of the Congress. The Biden administration has two years to turn the Titanic of the American State around. Will they succeed?”
Biden, a typical moderate, center-left oldster, no doubt has that intuition of helping out the common person that Peter suggests. But what I take from Peter’s work is that the real problem is elite overproduction, because that makes it nearly impossible to shift wealth downward. The elite will resist, as they themselves are increasingly under pressure due to being too numerous for society to support in the manner to which they are accustomed. And unless Biden has studied SDT (or should I say cliodynamics? What is the difference between SDT and cliodynamics?) he will be unlikely to prioritize shrewd targeting of vulnerable elite segments for removal from elite status. If he doesn’t do that – and he almost certainly won’t – the Biden administration may just be the calm before the storm.
Mr. Turchin, I object. There is no comparison between the disciplined, peaceful demonstrators at Maidan and the mob ransacking the Capitol. The violence at Maidan was perpetrated by the Russians! Did you get that comparison from Vlad Putin (who tried to pawn it off)?
Neither the right or the left can help the common person because they fundamentally hate him. Everyone knows that about the right but Cristopher Lasch realized this about the left decades ago as well. The petty bougie and working classes values can not be understood by even the most well intentioned elites on either side. Yang’s call for UBI is an idea created by the academia not something from the core of the country. What common folks want are jobs that earn a income not a check for the same amount. They view work as a method of building character not just a way of earning money, A tax on labor replacing technology would be a much better policy then UBI but then would never pass since it goes again the tech elites interest. Given that common workers were by and large Trump supports I don’t think anything is getting better these two years. The radical elements of the left are out for vengeance and don’t think the moderate wing has the strength to stop that.
As with much if not all of the anti mask, inbreed idiot trump ass sucking hairless monkey bigoted trolls, death is the ONLY option. These animals have chosen seditious insurrectionary violence, disbanding any reasonable or intelligent discourse for bigoted hate filled violence.
They need to be meet with the same.
Drop a few fuel air devices on their gatherings and have done with it.
This country and the world at large would be a much better place when violent extremists are silent and their screed is no longer heard.
Michael, those Trump supporters may have crazy beliefs, but you haven’t assessed whether those beliefs are beneficial to them. It is true that just about everyone in the world believes in something crazy, and you are not an exception.
As for your belief that attacking the gatherings will resolve the standoff, that is a misunderstanding. There already were armed insurgents holding plastic ties among that crowd. It seems to me that this faction has a level of initiative that has already exceeded the capacity of the security service (if there is no full and complete counter-terror operation in the next months, you will know). I’m guessing the security service will show as much energy as the health authorities did with COVID. Within this new term, the capitol may become indefensible. That is if Trump supporters experience continually stronger feelings of political alienation under Biden.
Clinical psychologist A. Lobabczewski wrote in 1984 that one way of determining whether or not a nation was heading towards revolution would be to create a ‘social order indicator’ / ‘adaptation correlation index’, which would measure the difference between individuals’ abilities and talents, and the roles that they were allowed to play in society. In 1984 he wrote that talented people were being excluded from jobs in the USA and that the word ‘overeducated’ was being used more and more often. He appears to have been touching in a roundabout way on the concept of ‘elite overproduction’. He also made it clear that untalented people were getting jobs that they weren’t suitable for. Perhaps with ‘elite overproduction’ comes increased elite mediocrity, with jobs arrived at through personal contacts, a common elite background, image management and the like.
Lobabczewski was an extremely perceptive man, decades ahead of his time.
Development or involution in all areas of cultural, economic and political life depend on the extent to which this talent pool is properly utilized. In the final analysis, it also determines whether there will be evolution or revolution…
… construct appropriate methods that enable us to evaluate the correlations between individual talents and social adjustment (i.e. appropriate fit for those talents – ed.)in a given country ….
Conducting the proper tests would furnish us a valuable index that we might call “the social order indicator.” The closer the figure to +1.0, the more likely the country in question would be to fulfill that basic precondition for social order and take the proper path in the direction of dynamic development. A low correlation would be an indication that social reform is needed. A near zero or even negative correlation should be interpreted as a danger-sign that revolution is imminent…
America’s psychological recession drags in its wake an impaired socio-professional adaptation of this country’s people, leading to a waste of human talent and an involution of societal structure. If we were to calculate this country’s adaptation correlation index, as suggested in the prior chapter, it would probably be lower than the great majority of the free and civilized nations of this world, and possibly lower than some countries which have lost their freedom…
A highly talented individual in the USA finds it ever more difficult to fight his way through to self-realization and a socially creative position. Universities, politics, and businesses ever more frequently demonstrate a united front of relatively untalented persons and even incompetent persons. The word “overeducated” is heard more and more often.
‘Political Ponerology’ by A. Lobaczewski, clinical psychologist, written in 1984, published in 2007. Lobaczewski was the last survivor of a group of underground psychiatrists and psychologists in the former Soviet Union studying totalitarian states.
Reversing the growing immiseration of the masses is crucial. But how can that be achieved? First, implementation of basic income. Second, taxing the rich… The rising inequality is unsustainable. A lot of fund that could have been invested in the real economy ended up in the wall street instead in the past year, deepning the inequality crises. Remember, ”the stock market is not the economy.” As Paul Krugman would say.
Richard2, that is very interesting. Could you describe the mechanisms of how talent is excluded?
10 million chinese take the annual college entrance exam; china graduates some 250,000 engineers annually; and china has over 500,000 phds, the most in the world, adding about 100,000 new phds per year since 2018.
is china in ‘elite overproduction’? what is the threshold? how do you formally define it? can a phd in art history ever be considered elite, if it can never provide for gainful employment for its holder vs a stem phd? and if not, then are we still overproducing elites? or mostly just overproducing somewhat knowledgable debtors? what political power does a humanities phd holder who now works at starbucks have vs the political power of boeing or google engineers? are nurses considered ‘elite’? how about flight attendants? police and fire – are they elite? is there an overproducion of doctors? how about dentists?
how do you formally quantify and define, cliometrically, elite/s, and overproduction, and elite overproduction? what do you use as a proxy measure? can you provide quantifiable historical examples of when/how ‘elite overproduction’ directly or indirectly led to revolution or regime change etc?
premodernity aside, just in the 20th century, with education more available on a mass basis, i am skeptical that ‘elite overproduction'(too many art history phd grads) led to the october revolution, or the german revolution of 1919, or the august revolution in vietnam, the cuban revolution, or the iranian revolution, or the fall of the soviets in russia and eastern europe.
the revolutions of 1848-49 in europe were led by a coalition of peasants, artists and workers, not by elite overproduction there.
as for the dollar, until the world stops paying for oil in dollars and until the us military gets deccimated and decidedly defeated by europe or china, its status as world reserve currency is not even close to being in doubt, especially since in a free floating exchange system, the us treasury can create fiat currency at will given the unending demand for oil and hence for dollars.
the pandemic will not be the trigger to revolution or collapse in the us, not only have we seen stronger forces at work already, such as racial protests and political elites incitment to riot, but also historically, the 1918 pandemic did not cause revolutions and/or governments to fall, though it may have shortened the great war(which carried on full bore during the middle of the pandemic regardless).
elite dominance via war and class war/civil war determine social instability, not ‘elite overproduction’, nor pandemics, not even economic collapse or a high gini coefficient.
Tunisia has one of the highest rates of phds as a % of its population in the world, but the tunisian revolution of 2011 did not have any of the ‘structural-demographic’ factors that you talk about per se.
In that case, which was not a middle class revolution, environmental factors such as a long drought along with a class war on the marginalized masses not living in urban areas were the proximal causes of that event, not overproduction of elites.
the unchecked power, hubris and greed of elites cause societies to fall not elite overproduction.
the soviets fell not because they had too many engineers or humanities graduates, they fell because soviet elites did not distribute, started a war which elites did not participate in and finally they fell because in fact, political class elites sent dozens of so called educated elites with phds to their deaths based on lies during chernobyl.
elite dominance not elite overproduction determines social instability.
That’s about the next level in evolution: the engineering (organisation) of academics.
It is not exactly the same as people leaving agriculture and entering factories (industry) back then, but does cohere with people leaving factories today, before they found (selforganized) there new (future) jobs.
There’s still an old tail in industry and a still unconfermed new string, which is not going to teach in future, but explore.
Don’t just look at the destructive side.
Thanks fir your work and sharing your thoughts. I see a connection between your post on the decline in cooperation and this event. In that post you asked that we think about what we could do about it.
People cooperate when they believe that there is some natural balance sheet.
We’re willing to put our “skin in the game” because when everyone does the rewards are more than what you could reap alone.
And when that doesn’t happen, we’re willing to turn the other cheek because “what goes around comes around.”
Call it well-being, karma, good faith – whatever- that’s the immeasurable energy that fuels the cycles in your chart.
Many say that it is hard to get people to change behavior when they can’t see a difference. For example, climate change.
But it does happen – that’s what Peter’s triple helix chart says in the post below.
Here’s my idea on what to do to accelerate progress.
We need a new balance sheet that measures the resilience of the stakeholders of an organization. I call it the Ecosystem Resilience Balance Sheet.
The idea is that organizations need numbers to work towards – so what if every organization were “rated” based on customer commitment, belief in leadership, “back-end” partner reliability, employee morale, “front-end” partner integrity, and the relative balance of all.
No organization leader is going to that fior grins.
But if investors tied their investments to the Ecosystem Resilience ratings they would.
And investors would benefit because when these ratings are strong and balanced, the energy created from the “well-being” will multiply returns.
Ah! But I need to find some willing investors to cooperate in this. Damn.
First, the Capitol is not sacred ground. It has been the marketplace of dirty deals and moneychangers for probably the entire existence of the United States. If anyone defiled the Capitol, it was the political priesthood.
China has a big and growing economy, it had a missing generation of college grads due to the Cultural Revolution, and in any case, the college-aged cohorts in China are now steady or shrinking due to the one-child policy (which will actually cause problems in the future but not now).
Also, I don’t know about the earlier revolutions but Iran actually ramped up it’s numbers of grad students by a lot in the ’70’s. In the late ’70’s, one of the top 2 sources of foreign graduate students in the US was Iran. I know because my mom was there. She said they were all fiercely anti-Shah and pro-revolution. She warned them that revolution could turn out badly for them because she knew what the many revolutions, civil wars, and foreign invasions had done to China (Chinese society was in pretty much continuous and often violent upheaval between the 1840’s and 1970’s) but most humans are dumb and don’t learn from history.
In fact, Iran was the biggest source of foreign college students to the US at the time of the Islamic revolution in Iran. Sending 3 times more students to the US than the 2nd-most (Taiwan, ROC).
@Cabby Phil: Who are the elites dominating, the masses or themselves? Because, i for one, would assume that they must be dominating themselves in order for those revolutions to happened. If on the other hand, they are united (and dominates only the masses) then it is highly unlikely that the masses could have revolted on the basis of their sheer strengths alone… Simply put, frictions between the elites alone can lead to revolts, and this doesn’t happen when they are all happy with the status quo. And the greater their numbers the greater the probability of conflict.
A big problem for democracy in the USA is how political parties and their election campaigns are financed. Persons, groups and corporations that donate large sums of money to their favoured politicians have large influence on who will win elections. Political power is literally bought. Once voted into the Senate or House, financial contributions of rich donors, be it persons or interest groups , give those donors a good chance to influence or even dictate the outcome of legislation. The voice of ordinary people is often muted by the voice of money. In most European countries, political parties are financed by contributions from their registered members, by state subsidies (that are strongly regulated) and public donations by persons or interest groups (mostly severely restricted and regulated). In the USA, personal or corporate interests play a dominant role in elections while the ordinary voter has much less influence. As long as money buys the elections in the USA, nothing will change and democracy remains a farce
I see no indication that Biden’s crowd understands the underlying reasons of what is happening. Moreover, deep structural changes needed for making the US viable in the long term would only be possible if the progressive wing of the Democratic Party got constitutional majority in both chambers and most state legislatures. Which will never happen.
BTW, I don’t understand why everybody is so surprised by the attack on the Capitol. The date and location of the “revolution” had been openly discussed on right-wing media and social networks for months. It was also known that the police in the US is one of the main bastions of Trumpism, and will mostly aid the insurrection. Also, Robert is correct; comparing this to Ukraine is deeply misleading: Maidan was a pro-democracy uprising against corruption-based pro-Russian oligarchy, while Trumpism is exactly the opposite.
No, not surprising at all and even expected. However, the positive from all the darkness associated with this event is in its timing. I believe, had this event took place after the transition of power, the effect would have been less dramatic and may have even emboldened those engaged in the politics of division.
However, I am sincerely more optimistic about the future. Although I doubt that this will “spur our political leaders to address the structural pressures.” I do think that the electorate will find a way to come together, in the interest of self-preservation, and demand that our political leaders meet the challenges that befall us.
You will need ro reconstruct acceptable labor for these uprising classes and be much less profit and competition driven, which is fragmenting their labor opportunity. Allow some slag.
It’s all about the construction of society in general and has practicly nothing to do with the political election of this or that person.
Which has only a symbolic function.
Nor does the way how the two classes can express themselves in a conflict, or how it is financed (old media times are long over: people have a mind of their own) have anything to do with the content of what is going on.
Hi all, thanks for all these comments! Here are a few responses.
@Pete Richerson: this is a good question, and I haven’t thought a lot about the significance of the savings glut. It seems a very modern problem, because in previous cases of structural-demographic crises modern economic growth (driven by investment) did not play a big role. Need to think more.
@Michael Totten: thanks for this, and it sounds very interesting as one of possible solutions in an integrated approach for resolving our problems. I think that encouraging work and ensuring it is properly remunerated (e.g. with a negative income tax) is a better approach than the universal basic income, because most people want not only decent income but also meaning in life provided by meaningful work. Of course, who knows what’s the best combination of solutions. We should allow states to innovate and experiment, and then copy the best solutions.
@Katherine Kern: yes, this sounds like one of possible solutions to try. What you suggest is essentially managed cultural group selection with group “fitness” defined by some metric as your ratings.
I’ve been thinking along similar lines about how the international community could use this kind of approach to fix failed states, like Afghanistan — wishful thinking of course, as it will be Taliban’s job.
i dont like the fact that bloomberg basically attacked and wrote a hit piece against the humanities (which are already under attack to the point where its a dead horse) using your work to make the argument.
Immiseration actually isn’t the biggest factor in instability and unrest. The bigger one is intra-elite competition and abisiya going to zero. Granted, they are 2 sides of the same coin that spring from greater inequality and winner-take-all markets. Is there a way out? Basically, elites have to come together. When countries are strong, elites come together in the face of an external threat (or at least leadership struggles are settled quickly). When countries are weak, leaders infight in the face of threats.
Asabiya, I meant
@Peter Turchin wishful thinking may be crazy but as @Safi Bahcall says that’s where big inventions come from.
Peter, with virtually a quarter of the US population believing neither in democracy nor in elections anymore, I wonder if we could be witnessing the Genesis of a terrorist group with a wide popular basis and a political party which could be regionally strong, like IRA and the Sinn Fein (or ETA and Herri Batasuna).
An inflection point might have been reached. Are those millions of people who were feeding on Trumps energy and disinformation going to dissolve? With the confidence in the US democracy gone, I’m afraid they don’t have a choice but armed rebellion.
half the us literally wants a white christian theocracy; repulsive to see the house chaplain do an opening prayer or pelosi and others prosthelytize about their faiths and their gods.
this country is going to full civil war; already being at open low level civil war.
america and its elites will have their reckoning.
We need to reduce governmental power, and that will reduce the desires of the elites for gaining that power. That being said, I’m an overproduced elite (Humanities PhD) unable to get an elite job, meaning I’m a misallocated human resource. Meaning, I get the frustration. But the answer is reducing government power, decentralizing that power. A UBI could do that, and it wouldn’t punish work, as welfare does.
no society has ever collapsed or will EVER collapse on the backs of too many theater arts majors; this model is wrong, asinine and cheaply based on experiential bias.
Prof. Turchin, I completely agree with your analysis. However, one element I never see mentioned is “adaptability.” As a former English undergrad (back in India), I saw the writing on the wall 20 years ago, and switched to economics/ statistics.
When I came to the US a decade ago, I saw plenty of more graduate students who seemed to be in the denial/ anger phase instead of acknowledging the need to switch out of the humanities. What do you think is causing this lack of adaptability in the labor market in the US?
@cabby phil: “asinine” is unacceptable. Moderate your language or be banned.
lets all get real, right now as i type, we are at 420ppm carbon, at 500ppm carbon equivalent when you include methane and nitrous gases, which all means that we are past the climate event horizon.
no amount of current human technology will change the fact that for the next millenia earth will hover at around plus 3 celcius above pre industrial.
we are at plus 2 C in the arctic now, the feedback loops are in motion andno amount of human concieved energy can slow or stop them; soon a sudden threshold will be met in this nonlinear complex dynamical system and.it will collapse into the nearest nodes stochastically.
its over and silly to argue about some things.
8 billion humans on earth. acceleration.
asinine means nonsensical and i love this word because it seems to trigger people because its has the phonetic ass in it … i love it …how it confuses people
Noah Smith, cited in the post above, has another recent report that touches on the larger topic of immiseration: “Why immigration doesn’t reduce wages,” https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/why-immigration-doesnt-reduce-wages?r=3b7en. It is an informal review of a number of studies, in the United States and abroad, of the effect of immigration on native-born wages and salaries. The consensus is that immigrant labor results in minimal wage changes. But in effect Smith also agrees with what our host has written elsewhere, that very few can believe that to be the case (and formerly, academic economists would have agreed with them).
😉 ride it
It looks like the Dems are raising the stakes and seeking revenge – tougher penalties for domestic [far right] terrorists and another impeachment of Trump. I am not sure how this will de – escalate the situation?
New convert to Turchin (recommended by a friend), interesting method to include scientific mathematical process in social ‘science’ – it seems a better way forward than just claims and arguments which can be subjective and prone to biases. looking foward to the Amazon dispatch of AOD.
Seems there’s a whole panoply of reasons to explain why the western world has gotten out of control but if you remove the abstract societal causes there seems to be an inability for people to reason and cooperate at a basic level – to do so appears weak, we are acting in a similar mindset to children. Hopefully the book will provide some clues.
People also ask
Is asinine a bad word?
The word has one s because it’s derived from the Latin asinus, “ass; donkey”. There’s nothing remotely vulgar about the word. As for connotation, it imparts an air of contempt. Asinine means ‘extremely stupid or foolish’ and is perfectly acceptable in a school context.Dec 28, 2013
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To find analogies with this event, I looked at some documentaries and dramatizations. It’s remarkable how much is online at YouTube and elsewhere.
For amateur warring, I considered sports riots, chimps vs. a stuffed leopard, and ants vs. other ants.
For professional warring, I watched Heroes of Telemark (1965) and Entebbe (1977). Both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” were well-organized with division of labor, like some of them standing watch over others. I also watched a documentary about the hit on Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, complete with the hit squad’s video of them in action.
I also considered big battles through history, and the soldiers being well-organized in them, at least at first. All the way back to the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BCE between New-Kingdom Egypt and the Hittite Empire of what’s now Turkey.
Most of the attack on the Capitol seemed as organized as a sports riot, and the cops showed more organization, like with their portable barriers, even if they had a very poor response. They didn’t fall back to the doors, as far as I can tell.
But there was something much more ominous and menacing, something much more in Entebbe and Telemark territory. Like a “gentleman” in military clothing with zip ties, useful for handcuffing people. What was he preparing for? Taking Congresspeople hostage?
Rapports indicate they were hired stormtroopers. A minority representation and not a nationwide movement.
With suggestions they were hired by democrats (such as Soros) to wreak havoc in the republican camp by making them suspect/ or simply to steal the laptops of democrats in the house (hired by whom?).
Which would indicate Watergate 0.2
I would prefer the last option as most likely.
Peter, I think the US is facing multiple hard “deadline” in the coming decade.
In the short term, relationship with China has deteriorated exponentially under Trump, and will certainly deteriorate even faster under Biden, because Biden actually knows what he is doing: to confront China so that US does not lose primacy. The US I think has no other option that to effectively escalate because otherwise other middle powers such as those in the EU will continue to hedge bets of which US certainly does not like. This confrontation will add enormously to pre-existing US domestic political stress.
In the medium-to-long term, the recent election showed that the US’s elections have permanently become all-or-nothing existential crisis for both parties. Even if the Dems effectively rule until 2022, they will be ruthlessly challenged then and 2024. This will be a classic tit-for-tat escalation dynamics playing out again and again. The GOP probably will gain power with or without shedding Trump, with the former scenario enabling more rapid re-enlisting of the rich and the business folks. It is the Dem that’s fragile in this dynamics because they have to accommodate a large tent of different factions. Once they lose, they will fragment and the radical elements will simply run amok.
Overall, I think the current configuration of US domestic politics is volatile and can not last. Every perturbation favors the current setup transitioning into a more disturbing but but more self-sustaining state. There is simply not enough time to lower political stress because lowering it is very politically unpopular and put the nation in a very vulnerable state. History clearly wants to resolve US’s contradiction going forward, just not in a very gentle way for Americans.
Ugh. Still too many people who believe in conspiracy theories.
In any case, I feel like this is a return to the ’60’s/’70’s except with low level political violence propagated by the militant Right rather than the militant Left.
Also, climate change will be a big issue but assuming that there never will be technology to deal with that is essentially saying that capitalism won’t exist in the future. So long as (state-guided) capitalism exists, new technologies like zero-emissions energy and geoengineering will improve and become more efficient.
BTW, birth rates are dropping like a rock nearly everywhere in the world.
Economics and statistics precisely lie at the hart of this problem, because they created the imbalance.
Humanities i.e. human intelligence is the only way to unearth this mistake in thinking. So, I would be the last one to give up on humanities. The stakes have turned.
The riot was only a part of the coup. As Gen. Michael Flynn, recently pardoned by Trump, suggested, use of the Insurrection Act to validate the election by re-doing selected states under military supervision would make Trump president. An emergency such as hostages in Congress, or even a delay caused by the theft or burning of the Electoral College ballots could serve as a pretext. Hence the incitement of the riot.
The Capitol Police, largely under McConnell’s control as Senate Majority Leader it appears, basically stood down to permit a near hostage situation. From the videos it appears that was likely only prevented by the Secret Service in the chamber itself actually resisting.
The refusal of the Pentagon to allow the National Guard to prepare, or even be deployed at the Mayor’s request, suggests the new acting Secretary of Defense and Army, put into place after the refusal of previous Secretary of Defense to send troops into Lafayette Park for Trump’s stunt back in June. (This is apparently why Esper was fired.) The refusal of the Pentagon to send in the Guard (D.C. is not a state, which is why Pentagon authorization was required, unlike Maryland and Virginia.)
But this announcement was quickly reversed. It has been reported that Gen. Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff approached Vice President Pence for authorization, and received it. In this regard, it is important to remember the exceedingly unusual intervention of the ten living ex-Secretaries of Defense, both Republican and Democratic, affirming the importance of the alleged tradition of military acceptance of civil authority.
In many respects, the plot to seize the Michigan capitol and kidnap/murder Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is the template for this coup attempt. If you focus solely on the rioters, it is entirely misleading. Trying to downplay it because it failed miserably is mostly satisfying to snobbish disdain for the rabble. But “rabble” is not a genuine social group, merely a pejorative. It is notable that if reports are true, the legal chain of command has already been broken.
But even if you focus solely on the insurrection itself, the role of eminent figures like McConnell until the very failure of the would-be coup and of prominent Senators like Hawley and Cruz or ex-New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani cannot be overlooked.
There is an effort to portray this as a white supremacist march, rather than an anti-Comunist riot. This is convenient for the many figure in the Democratic Party who are blood brothers with Trump and the rioters on this issue. The many, many lies and hysteria mongering about Communism are bred in the bone not just for the Republicans and their militants in the riot, but in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party itself. Acknowledging the common ideology is not convenient to the partisan struggle. Hence, the diversion from issues of power and class and economy to the individual morality of racial prejudice.
This is indeed very similar to Maidan, which was not a struggle for democracy, but a fascist uprising. That’s why Ukraine has fascist formations incorporated into its army; has right wing groups intimidating the Rada; violent attacks on individuals are routine parts of politics now; formal outlawing of political opponents…Ukraine is fascist. A social national party is not formally at the summit. But then, a formal fascist party wasn’t at the summit in Franco’s Spain. Just because the Falange Party was “merely” a supporter of Franco doesn’t mean Franco’s Spain wasn’t fascist. It works the same for Ukraine.
There are no elite parties that are interested in reform, nor is there any space for any elite politician to advocate a reform program. Any demagogic effort to win votes, as in George W. Bush adding a prescription drug benefit or Barack Obama expanding Medic Aid, will fail because no significant reforms are permissible. The antiquated political structure of the US, which was designed to prevent majority rule, assures this. Decades of anti-Communist propaganda, carried out with intimidation and censorship and funded by huge amounts of money by government at all levels have convinced many people that majority rule is tyranny and that government that interferes with property rights is tyranny and that the government exists to punish bad people and otherwise is an evil have taken their toll.
the usa is not a democracy. a society without referendum and initiative is no kind of democracy. the word means, ‘citizen rule’ and the people can not rule without both functions, effective and accessible.
when your choices are submission or revolt, you live in an elite-rule society, i suggest ‘elective aristocracy’ is appropriate for the usa, the pathetic riot in the capitol was no danger to the regime, but usans are not experienced in combat politics, and well-planned operations will be along soon.
any number of people are aware of the hollowness of any claim to democracy in the usa, at home and abroad. you may wish to re-think your allusion to ‘citadel of democracy.’
What country _isn’t_ an elite-ruled society?
I find attempts to redefine commonly understood terms to be boring as what you call something doesn’t actually affect its true nature.
It’s like describing how humans can make glass and then the technique used how to pour water in the glass and drink it.
It provides a full (statistical) description of what is going on/ without revealing the real world, explalning why people want, or need to drink water.
That’s why it (the way to describe the world) is a random tool which does not function to discribe reality.
The same goes for conditions leading to an outcome like geography. England would not have been the culture it is without being an island.
So, this creates an ‘elite’ without being a human elite.
The French revolution did not happen because of its elite class (monarchy)/ but because of the people taking over rulership. called democracy.
So, democracy is an arithmatic based counting system which creates its ‘elite’ without being an elite.
Quatum thinking is very interesting and contrary to boring.
It’s like the populist observation only one captain can fly the plane.
So, you really believe people all get into a airplane because there happens to be someone capable of flying the thing?
No, obviously not. They are getting in because they want to go a specific place.
They don’t care about the captain and don’t even know who he is.
To make a simmilar comparison made in phylosophy by someone (Nietsche) in the past: “God is dead.”
“Superman is dead.”
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Allright, to clear up some potential confusion.
The overproduction of elites theory suggests the only thing on the agenda is to get control over power. That’s an inaccurate conclusion. What’s really going on is a split in the general interest, in the evolutionary momentum. Which is now between national and international. In the past often between trade and war, or religion.
International is seen as the reason for jobloss/ while the real reason is a shift in the economy. Like when people members of the craft guilds in the past lost their profession to factories, but at the time were not a mass movement involved in political protest.
The split in interest creates two groups of elites and their followers in the field of the commons. The effect is not just caused by some random expansion.
The decission it calls for is which direction to persuit in the future. Which is an unrealistic question, because in the future both realms will continue next to each other.
You can compare it with the war fought in Europe in the 17th century about wether god had decided human fate/ or wether he had the free will to decide himself. Of course the outcome of the war cannot change reality, so it led to nowhere.
The other incomplete value is immiseration, because an immagined future getting lost, is not a real material loss, like poverty. But can have the same political result when it is experienced on a mass scale.
State debt nowadays plays no role anymore because of central banks and the reverse in export in imports, because exporters are not interested in the decline of a currency value, when it foretells their own income. Debt is no longer a percieved negative value, like it was in the past and austirity is no longer the reaction to it, because it never made any sense.
The current movement in the US.is very simmilar with the call for a march to Rome by Mussolini at the time and the aid of the brown shirts the nazi’s received in Germany for violent political pressure.
At the time also economy was the only reason for protest. In Germany driven by the debt of war and in Italy by loss in competing with larger industries, which led to a maffia type contraction in family values which needed to be protected. Very much like what is driving BLM and similar groups for instance.
The big difference with then is, you cannot start a war with a virtual ennemy. So it has become a ritual movement. The balancing act is to guide it to calmer waters (let time heal the wounds) and start more positive programs dealing with their uncertainty, related to income, housing and healthcare.
They will not turn out to be a majority, but political imbalances are also real. Like censuring opinions in the internet, which is a which hunt and manipulation of numbers related to elections, which is fraud. You need a better functioning decission process in politics which is real time and decided by argument, not by blind numbers, but still public and not behind closed doors.
IMHO, the elite overproduction, combined with popular immiseration and state indebtedness, are parts of the picture, and more holistic perspective is required.
The phenomenon which you describe can be more elegantly and precisely described with the cybernetic “law of requisite hierarchy” of Arvid Aulin:
“The weaker in average are the regulatory abilities and the larger the uncertainties of available regulators, the more hierarchy is needed in the organization of regulation and control to attain the same amount of regulation, if possible at all.”
When a certain social group increases its abilities to regulate its behaviour – through education, professional unions, civil rights movements, etc., some levels of the hierarchy controlling them become unwanted, and are eventually disbanded if the social group proves its ability to self-regulate. The social group acquires better representation on the level of government. And the other way around, if a social group proves to be incapable of regulating well its behaviour, it gets more strict regulation and is deprived of representation in government.
If most of the social groups become better at self-regulation, the hierarchy inevitably flattens. And the other way around, if some influential social groups become worse at self-regulation, the number of hierarchy levels inevitably increases. Such restructuring of the hierarchy is almost always accompanied by social upheavals.
In this case, educated people press for the reduction of hierarchy (defund the police, etc.), however the groups which are unable to self-regulate (criminal gangs, etc.), make hierarchy (and intensive policing) necessary.
Trump supporters proved to be unable to act in a civil way, – so they will be strictly regulated and deprived of some rights.
States are indebted, but so is the USA as a whole. This would lead to reduction of the role which the USA plays in global government, and probably the reduction of the states’ independence. This would lessen the structural strain which big money puts on society, and reduce crime.
Academia is the Planter Class, demanding total control of everything and seeing the only solution being massive expansion of government with high paying jobs for Fine Arts grads with huge debt, which have become the Sans-culottes of today .
The continual expansion of administrative jobs within Academia is threatened, but with the Democrats having gained total control a massive expansion of government jobs ruling over the deplorables is the natural next step.
Trump overrode the traditional Republican desire to control spending and tie it to tax revenue. The tax increases Biden promises will not come anywhere close to the funding needed and borrowing may finally bring a surge of inflation, but there seems to be an emerging theory that technology is very deflationary. It may be true.
Academia and the Blue State Democrats unfortunately have created an opaque bubble which prevents them from seeing anything outside it. The Elite competition is between them and those actually running the world outside the collapsing Blue Cities.
Here’s a Seldom recognized point about job loss. It’s not just the loss of income or self worth as a worker that creates the misery. Most people’s social network centers around their workmates. When the jobs go away, people lose their community and sense of belonging. That’s why these extremist movements are taking off. They’re filling an aching void
Loren, finding an analogue of the Capitol attack is very easy. Trump’s attempted coup was planned in exactly the same way as Russian takeovers of local governments during the 2017 invasion of Ukraine. In the first row were clowns in ridiculous costumes; their job was to distract the media and make the whole thing look like a joke. Behind them were mercenaries with extensive military experience; their job was to seize everybody who’d been democratically elected and take them to the basement for torture and intimidation. Instead a “people’s government” was to be installed, invariably made up of career criminals who owe their freedom personally to the Führer. Just as Russian invasion of Ukraine, which ended up seizing just a few percent of Ukrainian territory instead of the planned 1/3, Trump’s coup was a failure. The reason is that both Führers are idiots and their associates are at best mediocre, but mostly also idiots.
Capitol police were overrun, little defense against rioters – https://apnews.com/article/riots-police-michael-pence-capitol-siege-0dfa12d17208295506ca094101e1f838
The National Guard couldn’t be called for at least an hour, and that was due to VP Pence doing so. This suggests some inside job, where some well-place people keep the NG and the like from having the sort of show of force that they have done in previous demonstrations.
Rep. Cori Bush recalled her own experiences at Black Lives Matter demonstration in her hometown, and she was one of many who noticed that discrepancy.
I’m reminded of the Weimar Republic, with its ruthless suppression of rebellions from the left, like the Bavarian Soviet Republic, and wimpy responses to rebellions from the right, like the Kapp Putsch and the Beer Hall Putsch.
About the latter, Adolf Hitler’s prosecutors were very half-hearted, letting him rant at length about how he was a patriot who wanted to make Germany great again by rebelling against the real traitors, the ones who stabbed Germany in the back by surrendering to the Western allies in 1918.
He was sentenced to a room with a nice view in Landsberg Castle, and he got to receive a lot of visitors. He used the time to write “Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice”, shortened to “My Struggle” (Mein Kampf).
Who were they? Records reveal Trump fans who stormed Capitol – https://apnews.com/article/us-capitol-siege-trump-supporters-8edfd3bb994568b7cdcd2243ad769101
“The insurrectionist mob that showed up at the president’s behest and stormed the U.S. Capitol was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, off-duty police, members of the military and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Records show that some were heavily armed and included convicted criminals, such as a Florida man recently released from prison for attempted murder.”
Yes, some of them were cops, and some police departments are investigating. Some of them were professionals and small-business owners, and at least one of them flew in on a private jet. Some of them tried to return by air, only to find themselves on a no-fly list, and several of them have been fired from their jobs.
Capitol assault a more sinister attack than first appeared – https://apnews.com/article/us-capitol-attack-14c73ee280c256ab4ec193ac0f49ad54
“The FBI is investigating whether some of the attackers intended to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage. Authorities are particularly focused on why some in the mob were seen carrying plastic zip-tie handcuffs and had apparently accessed areas of the Capitol generally difficult for the public to locate.”
Their known targets include Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but they could have wanted to kidnap or murder many others.
To keep this discussion somewhat tethered to reality and to save humanities, fine arts and theater arts scholars from ominous suspicion, here, in decreasing order of numbers, are the fields in which the most U.S. doctorates were awarded in 2016-17:
health professions and related programs, legal professions and studies, education, engineering, biological and biomedical sciences, psychology, and physical sciences and science technologies. Perhaps a reader in the UK, which seems to be going through much the same point in the Structural-Demographic Theory process as the U.S. will have information for their nation (the EU and other regions seem to be at happier SDT junctures).
U.S. Department of Education, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37
Richard2 Lobaczewski was Polish. Vince
Among the Trumpians there is a picture of the guy in the fur standing on the podium with the caption: When the peyote wore off – trying to figure out where you are. There are crazy dangerous people on all sides but I have not seen any Trumpians claim to believe that they could take over the government by occupying some empty rooms.
As a lifelong computer professional, I can see amazing opportunities for fraud in the Dominion System. This would never be allowed in financial systems, which I spent my life writing and supporting. Until rules for audit trails and source code access equal those routinely used in financial systems nobody will trust election outcomes. Dominion looks really really guilty.
You betray your political preferences in your aborted analysis.
Elite overproduction continues unabated. Ergo, nothing will be turning around yet. Sure, there are things Biden could do to relieve pressure from a policy perspective.
He could, eliminate the minimum wage, to ease the pressure on the elites. He could send a bunch of elites to jail. He could import a bunch of foreigners to fill up the ranks of the lower classes, providing more cheap labor for the elites. He could eliminate most of the alphabet soup agencies. Some of the effects of these actions would not necessarily be an improvement and all would most likely only provide for temporary relief where any is provided at all.
No, elite overproduction will march on, and intra-elite conflict will increase while popular immiseration increases, until the dam finally bursts. What form that will take? Well, time will tell, but it won’t be Biden turning the ship around and you know it.
@Dick Illyes im sorry you spent your life “supporting” the utterly fraudulent, parasitical elite construct rentier “financial systems” that produce nothing, but have wrought so much madness and greed at the hands of the very few against the suffering of so many.
riding giants – Mavericks
My systems kept their checking accounts safe and accurate no matter what their politics.
“Frequency of impeachments” could now be a valid metric for measuring elite discord.
@Dick Illyes that strikes me as plucking a little bit of the Capitol attack out of its context in the incident. I’ve seen a lot of pictures and video from it, and some of it is horrible – like some of the mob shouting “Hang Mike Pence” – the Vice President, for not declaring Trump the winner. They also tried to find Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congressional leadership. They found Jim Clyburn’s real office, which is unmarked, with his named one being a decoy. So the Capitol attack must have been in part an inside job, something with fifth-columnist assistance.
Report: Some Democrats In Congress Are Worried Their Colleagues Might Kill Them | All In | MSNBC – YouTube
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in an IG Live broadcast, stated that she had a close encounter that made her fear for her life. She also didn’t want to go to where many of her fellow Congresspeople went, because she suspected that some of them would tell the mob where she was. She said that it was a horrible experience, not knowing if a cop was friendly or hostile.
She apparently stayed in her office for some hours, what Rep. Maxine Waters did. She didn’t trust the cops.
As a result, the House leadership has ordered metal detectors placed at the House chamber’s entrances, with sizable fines for not going through them. This is from some Congresspeople adamantly insisting on bringing guns with them.
Another issue appeared in the room that many of the Reps went to. Enclosed places are good places to spread the COVID-19 virus, and one Rep offered lower-face masks to the others. Some of the Republicans refused and mocked her request. Three Reps ended up catching COVID-19, and the House leadership decreed fines for not wearing lower-face masks.
Apparently the FBI had good information that trouble was planned. I wonder if the White House was told. This is looking more and more like a setup.
Trump is a total outsider, never having held elective office. Think Rodney Dangerfield in Back To School. The insiders of both parties feel an existential threat to their very core identity as members of the ruling elite. He must be destroyed and an example created that will prevent such a thing from ever happening again.
I followed the information on Dominion closely and speaking as a computer professional I am sure the national and Georgia Senate elections were stolen.
I am not a Republican, I am a Life Member of the Libertarian Party. I am a total believer in non-violence. The LP requires all who wish to become members to sign The Libertarian pledge: “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals. The LP never wins elections but our ideas have led the way. We were the only voice against removing laws against homosexuality decades ago. We are for choice in education. We are for harm reduction and ending the war on drugs. My website dickillyes.com has summaries of our current positions.
I am also a descendant of a very active anti-slavery participant in the Civil War. A supporter of the forty acres and a mule funded from the huge plantations, which unfortunately didn’t happen. Ages of Discord IMO is an outstanding description of that era and our own. Academia is the new Planter Class. I recommend Madness Rules the Hour: Charleston, 1860 and the Mania for War for seeing the remarkable similarities.
Noticed a mistake in my previous comment: We were the only voice against removing laws against homosexuality decades ago. Should say we advocated removing laws against homosexuality decades ago.
I find Cabby Phil’s January 8th post a most appropriate and thoughtful response to this blog post. I agree with the blog author’s assertions regarding systemic and structural issues contributing to the political and social unrest. I fail to see an overproduction of PhDs to be a problem here. Another poster looks at the production of PhDs or highly educated individuals in China, although we must be wary of the comparison given the very different political system in which China operates. Our country is failing to educate people on history, critical thinking, social sciences, and in STEM fields. The Bloomberg article claiming that we have an overproduction of PhDs also conflates multiple issues or ills in America.
Regarding DC, it was not thousands of disenfranchised, anxious PhDs rioting the capitol building. You will find many disenfranchised consumers of mis/disinformation present. Our country suffers when it comes to education. I’d also look to cognitive science’s theory of risk perception to help (not fully, but an emphasis on “help”) explain what we witnessed in D.C. Trump’s supporters are fervently White male and cognitive science undergone research since the early 90s to understand this group’s perception of risk. (Please don’t respond with, “Well, there were people of color there, too.” This isn’t an absolute or “all-or-nothing” faulty argument). Overwhelmingly, White males in America have a perception of risk that differs significantly compared to non-White groups and White women’s perception of risk. Perceived risk to their identity, culture, and class help explain the actions and distrust we witness in these groups. Add to this what we understand about the spread of information from person to person, not unlike a virus. The rapid expansion of social media and an inability to quickly identify conspiracies, misinformation, and disinformation is contributing to this ill.
Regarding education and “too many PhDs” — we need to fully examine our educational system. The only protection against demagoguery is education, said Andrew Delbanco of Teagle Foundation. Education, and that of the social sciences, is intended to not only help students gain knowledge and skills, but to understand their own experience while examining the experience of others and social issues with a critical lens. And to graduate with the skills needed to not only examine critically these social ills but identify solutions in collaboration with others who are of different background and experience.
Apophenia – those who post here this might find this interesting:
@jason josh: church brother!
Most of your suggestions drastically worsen popular immiseration. What’s needed is to accelerate the de-gentrification of chunks of the elite, while boosting the working class. Legislation redistributing wealth to forestall revolution distributing poverty.
The prescription to treat this malady has actually been known since the Bronze Age: a debt jubilee. One act of Congress wiping out all outstanding student loans, mortgage and credit card debt, etc. would make a few bankers a lot poorer and nearly everybody else a lot richer at a stroke.
Dick Illyes, as presented, your January 15th accusation (“I am sure the national and Georgia Senate elections were stolen”), is an unsupported allegation of the same type that more than 60 courts have rejected, but which has resulted in threatened or actual harassment of government employees and elected officials up to the congressional level, including in the armed insurrection, with persecution of congresspersons, that is the subject of this post. It is the same type of accusation that has already had electoral consequences, with some unknown number of Georgia voters discouraged from going to the polls because they had been told that the election is “rigged,” according to the Republican Party’s pre-election door-to-door canvassers. I assume that you have presented your analysis to some entity that can extend and amplify it — the FBI, the Trump Campaign, a major media outlet, whatever — but to confine it to an argument purely from authority in the discussion forum of a semi-technical blog hardly seems appropriate.
Thank yor for your research efforts and insights. As an admirer of E O Wilson, I admit it is nice to see another entomologist shedding light on human behavior! I assume that when you refer to an “over-production of elites”, you are implying that there is an optimal level of elites necessary for our species to be in a form of sociological homeostasis. What occurs with an underproduction of elites? As for popular immiseration, you clearly see this as a cause of sociological breakdown as well as an effect thereof. To me this implies it is a positive feedback loop. Is that accurate? Finally with state indebetedness, is it fair to say that this is a factor that ultimately impairs our ability to increase or maintain the carrying capacity for our species? I’m glad you are getting your 15 minutes of fame now. I hope our “elites” consider your research when making policy!
Hades visiting Cronus constellation and ruling the world. Last time this cycle happened was during French Revolution. Order will begin to rise probably after 2025 when Hades will leave Cronus constellation until the next cycle in 250 years ahead.
An idea for professor Turchin: include astronomy-astrology ephemeris, and greek mithology in your data analysis.
take the last 10,000 or less years data about the planets movement in our solar system and their constellation transits (ephemeris) and angles between them. See the cycles. Graphic them. Analyze them. Search for correlations with human history and intense events. Each planet is a Greek god, and each constellation is a Greek god kingdom. Mix it with Homero books (Iliada and Odyssey) and greek mithology. You will be amazed abouth the findings. In few words, your are getting close to read the greek gods will, but your are missing astrology.
johne: If you can point me to just ONE court case that has involved qualified software professionals examining the Dominion software I would appreciate it. Cruz and Hawley asked for such an audit and there is now a clamor to expel them from the Senate. The 60 court cases is simply Democrat propaganda.
In defense of Professor Turchin, an earlier Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph A. Tainter makes a plausible case for what I think he is referring to as a surplus of elites.
I started following him after I read War and Peace and War. I thought it was a valuable analysis of the forces that influence human societies.
I saw an earlier commenter reference the Hebrew Jubilee. That the rich get richer and the poor get poorer is a common observation through history. That the further humans get from growing their own food and milking their own cows the more opportunity for Wokeness seems to manifest is also obvious.
As someone who lives among the Deplorables in semi-rural Texas, I can report that the lockdowns have really hammered them. The coming $15 minimum wage will permanently block many from employment. The drug war which guarantees an abundance of addictive substances aggressively marketed by an army of addicted pushers will make things even worse.
There is a counter elite, the people who actually manage the world outside the Swamp which is government and academia. This counter elite is in deathly competition with them. Trump with all his flaws was their available vessel to try to free themselves from years of endless incomprehensible regulations and governmental depredations. The Swamp won this round, but their announced self serving actions as represented in the new Biden legislation will make things worse.
Yes, well the two elite groups are rightwing Trump supporters, nationalists and leftwing, also related to the large techcompanies internationalists. Supported by big capital, also represented by the 1% which controls the senat.
As I said earlier, split by the evolutionary momentum of national opposed to international.
The probable voting fraud was executed by a young generation (hidden) technocrats with no respect for freedom of speech, in a relative sense the same ones blocking the internet through algorithms in the large tech companies. . Aimed at the same group Trump wants to activate: the angry lower classes.
So, it is an internal cultural struggle between those two groups as well. Both young, but with different ideas and different elites supporting them.
As a reminder of the Russian and the French revolution, the French was much more supported by an enlightened new elite, leading to the construction of parlement and congress as a solution/ while the Russian a hundred years later failed, because the angry mobs would not listen and led via Lenin to Stalin (while the internationalist Trotsky was killed) , who became a disaster.
So, think twice before you start believing an angry simpel mob will lead you to the best future.
It will have to include them obviously/ but don’t use them with the objective to destroy international relations as a result.
So, why is Elon Musk using Chinese manufacturers for Tesla and opening five new plants in India? Because everybody else in the US is drugged?
Or too many people are working in finance and tech is the real reason. Is the rustbelt already dead?
Dick Illyes, whatever the Democrats use for propaganda, it is a fact that over 60 election-related cases were filed. One was allowed, but of the rest, “Some cases were dismissed for lack of standing and others based on the merits of the voter fraud allegations. The decisions have came from both Democratic-appointed and Republican-appointed judges – including federal judges appointed by Trump” — https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/politics/elections/2021/01/06/trumps-failed-efforts-overturn-election-numbers/4130307001/
If, after all the Trump Campaign shouting about suspect voting machines and algorithms, there were no qualified software professionals involved in preparing the allegations submitted, that alone might explain their dismissal based on merit.
For all I or any of us know, you can demonstrate and explain exactly how the elections were “stolen.” I hope you have passed your findings on to whoever can expand on them.
You need to participate in a contest for among the finest blogs on the web. I will advocate this web site!
I read the article at the link and didn’t see any case where software experts were involved in looking at the Dominion system. If there are any I would like to see them.
If any software companies I know of were accused of what they stand accused of they would be bringing in teams of impartial experts to study their systems.
All we see are some exhibitionist lawyers who made implausible claims about Hugo Chavez etc. and a total failure of the Trump group to find and use experts to look into the Dominion System. The Audit request led by Cruz might have done it, but they didn’t succeed.
IMO Trump was his own worst enemy in the way this was handled.
I still personally believe Dominion needs to be studied by people who know what they are looking for, and that both elections were stolen.
elite overprxn is a fat-tail phenomena…almost by definition…
Dick Illyes, software experts were not directly involved in the cases submitted, rather like it is only lawyers who appear in a criminal case indictment establishing probable cause, not the Crime Scene Investigations detectives who may have been important in writing it up. How experts would have been employed in Cruz’s 10-day audit would have been just one of the questions to have been considered, given the inapplicability of the original 1877 Act, but given Congress’s bipartisan opposition to the whole idea, that is a matter for speculation.
@Dick Illyes – what specific things are you claiming about Dominion voting machines? I must note that the outcome of the 2020 general election is not what one would expect from Democrats trying to fix elections by giving themselves extra votes. I know, because I analyzed the numbers.
I used what I consider the gold standard of election predictions, FiveThirtyEight.com and I compared 538’s predictions to the actual results. 538 I consider the gold standard because its people collect and compare poll results to estimate the reliability of the pollsters that they consult. I also like 538 because it is probabilistic, giving the range of likely results.
Although there was a lot of scatter in the data, I found that Republicans overperformed relative to 538’s predictions by an average of 10 percentage points. They did not overperform in heavily Republican House districts, but they overperformed in heavily Democratic districts by an average of 20 pp. The Senate had similar numbers, and the Presidential election’s popular-vote margin, about 5 pp, was less than predictions of 9 pp or more.
The Democrats expected to gain House seats, but they lost 13 seats in that body. They got some Senate seats, but contrary to predictions like 538’s, not enough for a majority. A heroic get-out-the-vote effort yielded two victories for them, making the Senate tied. So the US now has three de facto prime ministers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy possibly qualifying as a fourth one.
@Dick Illyes Jan 15
DI: Apparently the FBI had good information that trouble was planned. I wonder if the White House was told. This is looking more and more like a setup.
LP: That’s a horrible way of doing a coup against President Trump, if that is what you are claiming. Seriously. Trump encouraged his followers to attack the Capitol, and he seemed to like what was going on. It is revealing that he never fled to some secure spot like Andrews Joint Base. It was the Congresspeople who had to flee, and they barely escaped that lynch mob. As to why the inadequate security of the Capitol building, that seems like an inside job. Some people in the command hierarchy seemed to have been reluctant to provide security. Also, some Capitol Police cops seem to have taken the side of the attackers, though others bravely fought them, with one of them distracting a mob away from the Senate chamber. There are even some Congresspeople who seem to have been on the side of the mob.
LP: There seem to have been some 5th columnists in this attack, and the FBI is investigating the troops to be providing security for the Inauguration festivities.
DI: Trump is a total outsider, never having held elective office. Think Rodney Dangerfield in Back To School. The insiders of both parties feel an existential threat to their very core identity as members of the ruling elite. He must be destroyed and an example created that will prevent such a thing from ever happening again.
LP: It would have been easy to do so. All that was necessary was to convince both Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell to impeach him. Both NP and MMC are long-time party insiders, so that would have been easy. They could then point to some outrage that Trump did, and they would have easily gotten the votes to kick out Trump, making him the first President in history to suffer that fate.
This article published before the election describes flaws in voting systems https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2020/11/02/computer-experts-sound-warnings-safety-americas-voting-machines/6087174002/
IMO all the software in voting systems should be open source, including the operating system in the processors. Linux and C would be good choices. I also think paper ballots should be used so a permanent record is created. Ideally voters should be able to see their ballot scanned and review the result of the scan immediately. Scans of mailed ballots could be provided by using publiic/private key access over the Internet.
Voting system suppliers should compete on things like reliability, cost, support and training provided, level of repair parts and devices and ability to provide quick maintenance service. Their systems should all use the same open source code.
Processors running the systems should not have the hardware to support any type of communication except direct physical connection, no wifi or bluetooth or other similar hard ware should be allowed. Open source memory image tests should also be provided to poll watchers who could run the test on machines at will. Poll watchers could be required to meet a level of technical proficiency prior to being allowed access, but running quick memory image tests should be part of their job.
I am not in favor of blockchain techniques based on what I have seen so far, simplicity should be the key element. Go into a booth or set at your kitchen table and mark a paper ballot. Watch it being scanned and check the results or go online and use the private key provided with your ballot to see how it was recorded, with the software providing online access also open source.
Witnesses should absolutely be required for mailed ballots, and the system should publish that information. We saw Democrat activists filing suits to remove the requirement for witnesses, which were heard by Democrat judges, which then led to settlements by Democrat elected officials agreeing to dropping the witness requirements. This is wrong.
Open source code and using processors that allow only direct physical connections IMO are the key element needed.
Doomsaying has a long history in the Old World, and the new one(s). The US had a similar “era of discord” in the 1840-1865. But there was another around 1895. And 1920. And 1932. And 1965. And 1805. Discord *is* evolution. Declaring that the events of January 6th are “revolutionary” is incorrect. A “revolutionary” crowd is armed (a total of 5 firearms were taken from the protesters, which means that most made a conscious decision not to bring them.) A “revolutionary” crowd burns buildings down. The difference between the January 6th crowd and, say, the “occupy Wall Street”, or those seizing portions of Seattle is a matter of time-scale. Both sets were political acts, but the January 6th crowd did not intend to stay; or else they would have brought supplies. How many “revolutionaries” leave by dark?
Dick Illyes is a conservative politician with near-religious faith in the free market to solve all problems. A far-conservative politician, one can’t expect him to make even-handed or non-biased public statements. As a fringe politician, he can be expected to try to disproportionately dominate and control the discussion in an unnatural direction – as he has been doing – with a firehose of falsehood which mere rebuttal will be unable turn off.
I don’t see even the tiniest speck of evidence that Trump ever tried to clean up “the swamp”. He may have promised that, but that seems to have gone the way of working so much that he wouldn’t have time to golf. He ended up golfing about 10 times more than his predecessor Barack Obama.
He has a VERY poor worth ethic. He spends much of his day watching Fox & Friends and tweeting, and he does not like to read — not even the briefing papers that are part of his job. His staff members can allegedly manipulate him by appearing on Fox & Friends and by deciding what to put on his desk.
Barack Obama was MUCH more diligent at his job, and some other notable politicians are also, like Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell. It was not for nothing that MMC titled his memoirs “The Long Game”. Even someone like AOC is much more diligent than Trump.
Diligence, orderliness, and the like are part of the Big Five trait called conscientiousness. It has a positive correlation with academic and career success, and Rubenzer & Faschingbauer rated most Presidents as relatively high in that. Only a few Presidents were low in that, like Warren Harding and Ronald Reagan. Trump also seems very low in that.
There has been some skepticism voiced here about the desirability of a minimum wage. Noah Smith, already cited on this thread twice, has a recent piece up on the subject:
And, just to complete the circle, here is Smith on Turchin, from last summer:
Interesting article: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/new-national-american-elite
Both sides miss the real story of the evolution of the American class system in the last half century toward the consolidation of a national ruling class—a development which is unprecedented in U.S. history. That’s because, from the American Revolution until the late 20th century, the American elite was divided among regional oligarchies. It is only in the last generation that these regional patriciates have been absorbed into a single, increasingly homogeneous national oligarchy,
Woke speech is simply a ruling-class dialect, which must be updated frequently to keep the lower orders from breaking the code.
It is this national oligarchy IMO that is competing with the actual managers and specialists (elite by performance) running the world outside academia and government.
Re: Counting Chinese elites. I would define the Chinese elite as the upper ranks of the CPC and the top executives of big private companies. Merely having gone through advanced higher education doesn’t necessarily make one a member of the elite (although in most cases it is surely an advantage). In any case, as was pointed out, there is no reason to think China’s rapidly growing economy won’t be able to provide these people with jobs commensurate to their expectations.
The article you linked to makes a lot of interesting points, some of which I agree with. That being wealthy doesn’t automatically grant a person elite status, and that American society was never as egalitarian as it is often portrayed as, really ought to be emphasized more. However, I disagree that the advent of a national elite is a new thing. Of course, in a country as large as the US, there will usually be local power centers which have some degree of autonomy. But overall, one can usually see a clear set of dominant elites who determined policy at the federal level in any given time period. From the end of the Revolutionary War to the end of the War of 1812, these were the Southern plantation oligarchs. From then to the Civil War, there was a split between them and the Northern industrialists who were becoming increasingly influential. The decisive victory of the latter allowed them to rule the country for approximately the next century, a period divided, as pointed out in the professor’s book, into the robber baron era and then the more people-friendly Progressive era. Beginning in the 1970s, they in turn were displaced by the financial sector and multinational companies such as Walmart against a backdrop of ever-increasing factional infighting as the US entered its disintegrative phase.
I think the author of the article was referring to a group who think of themselves as national as opposed to local or regional. A group that sees much of the country as uncorrectable in its racism and fundamentalist Christianity and its belief that gun ownership is actually a right. A group isolated from the world outside it as thoroughly as a Brahman from an Untouchable.
A remarkable characteristic of this group is their total isolation from news from unapproved sources. If it is not on CNN, WAPO, NYT, and maybe LATIMES it doesn’t exist. I call it a Blue Bubble with remarkable opaqueness. I am a political junky and subscribe to the online editions of WAPO, NYT, LATIMES as well as several other sources outside the Blue Bubble. I know several people who self-identify as Elites as defined in the article, and they become almost violent if confronted with information outside the anointed sources.
In Gone With The Wind we saw a society completely isolated from the outside world. The field slaves were managed by low class drivers, the house slaves knew their place, the young adults of that society had no control over anything and no agency in their own sufficiency. They had controlled the government until the Republicans arose with their twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery. All they can do is feel an endless fear that something will destroy their world and get crazier and crazier as described so well in Madness Rules The Hour, Charleston, 1860 and the Mania for War. I see that in academia and the Boomer Democratic Party.
As I commented earlier, I see catastrophic failure by both Biden and Harris, with new leaders emerging in both parties. I don’t know what will happen between now and then.
Aspirants for the upper class have borrowed themselves into terrible debt for their fine arts degrees, and find themselves stuck in low paying jobs with no hope of the sort of success that earlier generations experienced. Their only outlet is to try to imitate the upper class with the latest Woke craze in an attempt to escape their failed identities.
Meanwhile the Deplorables after eight years of regulatory insanity and endless wars under Obama wanted out. They wanted their lives back. They own guns and don’t want swat teams showing up at their doors demanding they give them up. They don’t want their children indoctrinated in school. They don’t see any systemic racism, and they are not racist. Trump was their available vessel to free themselves. It didn’t work.
There is a counter elite IMO, the professionals and managers in the Red States and Counties. It is very upset and unhappy. Its working class is hurting from the lockdown. It sees a $15 minimum wage as a destroyer of everything.
I have no idea what will come next.
A heretical thought hit just as I was ready to Post: What if the endowments of academia were taken and used to pay off the student loans of their unsuccessful graduates. An idea similar to the taking of the huge plantations and providing the former slaves with forty acres and a mule. The denizens of academia could get along on their basic income and feel happy and comforted in their membership in their Elite.
Not a realistic option, since you cannot define what is, succesfull or unsuccesfull. Did Archimedes make any money?
The former slaves with a few acres would not stand a chance against large planters in selling their products.
The main option whitch was skipped at the time, was simply to demand an income and the freedom to switch jobs. Instead of declaring them into wild (birdfree is the Dutch expression) suspicious criminals.
It was not a serious proposal, but if it were to be implemented one could easily take the income tax records and determine who needed relief.
In the Civil War era the most common working class family units were self-sufficient small farms growing their own food and taking care of their own cows and work animals, selling extra grain and meat animals for some cash. The former slaves might have grown some cotton for some cash but they could have fed themselves and been free.
Seen on a counter-elite site https://www.thenewneo.com/ :
I am going to start work on my first academic paper:
“The Foundations of Multi-racial Whiteness:
How White People of All Races Bring About Systemic Racism in Society.”
Some “journal” would certainly publish it, and many fools would believe it.
For a running commentary of the counter-elite check Dilbert creator Scott Adams at https://www.scottadamssays.com/
He earlier described this period in history as two movies on one screen.
@Dick Illyes Jan 21: “A remarkable characteristic of this group is their total isolation from news from unapproved sources. If it is not on CNN, WAPO, NYT, and maybe LATIMES it doesn’t exist. I call it a Blue Bubble with remarkable opaqueness.”
Here is some actual research into trust of news media:
Political Polarization & Media Habits | Pew Research Center
The population may be divided into Left, Center, and Right.
Some publications are trusted only by the Left, like The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Kos.
Some publications are trusted by the Left and the Center, like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and most major TV networks.
Some publications are trusted only by the Right, like The Sean Hannity Show, The Drudge Report, and The Rush Limbaugh Show.
There were no outlets that are trusted only by the Center, and only one that is trusted by the Center and the Right: Fox News.
So if there is anyone living in a media bubble, it’s the right wing.
In 2014 Woke was something that happened when it was time to get out of bed. Today Drudge has become the Woke leader with no comparable Trumpian competitor AFAIK.
I do not see the Trumpians I associate with react like the Elites when confronted with stories in NYT and WAPO. Many Trumpians get the daily emails from them to see what the other side is talking about.
When is the last time you checked the Wall Street Journal Editorial page stories? When is the last time you took a look at https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/? They are like garlic to a vampire to the Elites I know. Try to get one of them to set through Tucker Carlson. Note: I don’t often set through Tucker Carlson, but I do pull up Instapundit more than once a day. I also check https://www.thenewneo.com/ almost daily. Start checking them to see what the other side is actually thinking.
If you really want to put your reputation among the Woke at risk, mainstream some Sultan Knish at http://www.danielgreenfield.org/ and tell your friends to check it out.
I am stopping following this “conversation”. Some contributors have only ONE very narrow point of view on society and how it develops or de-rails. Did I mention Dick Illyes?Yes, that’s the one I mean. Sorry, I can’t stand it any more. Goodbye.
Peter, do you believe that “The Biden administration can turn the Titanic of the American State around” without help from both Democratic and Republican parties in Congress?
I recall that in your prior articles you wrote that for such dramatic turnaround a cooperation similar to how it happened during FDR time is required.
Loren Petrich, https://www.journalism.org/2014/10/21/political-polarization-media-habits/ is outdated.
With recent dramatic media polarization “Some publications are trusted by the Left and the Center, like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and most major TV networks.” is not valid anymore.
New York Times and The Washington Post have no credibility among Center anymore.
Before this thread descends entirely into American political argumentation, note that there is a mistaken theme among some commenters here who seem to understand that Dr. Turchin’s original post, in referring to the “overproduction of youth with advanced degrees,” means (as in several comments), humanities, fine arts or theater arts degrees.
The only examples the original post provides are law and MBA degrees, as well as PhDs in general. Regarding the latter, through the link in January 11th, 8:15 PM post above, the US Department of Education shows that in the latest data available, none of the humanities’ advanced degrees were popular among students at US universities. And even at the undergraduate level, the “visual and performing arts” bachelor’s degrees were the least favored of the lot, comprising only about 5% of those awarded.
The only two surplus elite professions Dr. Turchin uses as examples, law and business, are hardly fine arts. And of the capitol rioters so far identified in the media, there are doctors, military officers, at least one police chief, a CEO, a high-end real estate agent, small business owners, politicians, an Olympic athlete, significant political donors — none identified as from the humanities, but just the sort of normally practical-minded people who might find themselves among a surplus elite, driven to madness by being denied a future they had been led to expect.
(And on an anecdotal level, and only speaking personally, I have never met a humanities or fine arts graduate, at any level, who expected that their degree would be a ticket to elite status.)
brevity, being the soul of wit