Why reports that Western civilisation will soon collapse are premature
A scientific analysis of history reveals that societies are becoming more resilient to collapse – and shows how to successfully navigate crises, says complexity scientist Peter Turchin.
ANCIENT Egypt, the Roman Empire, the Maya, China’s Qing dynasty – these civilisations all shone brightly in their time. Yet, in every case, the glory days were followed by collapse. This seems to be the inevitable trajectory of any culture. What’s more, it looks like Western civilisation is experiencing this fate right now. Signs of crisis are obvious, from rising economic inequality and political polarisation to violent conflict and ecological disasters. Many see this as a global “polycrisis” that poses a severe, possibly existential, threat to contemporary societies.