Peter Turchin’s latest book, End Times: Elites, Counter-Elites, and the Path of Political Disintegration, is receiving glowing reviews. Its message is highly relevant to our collective understanding of the emerging global polycrisis and what needs to be done to minimize it.
Turchin began his career as an evolutionary biologist, analyzing large datasets to clarify patterns in population dynamics in insects and other organisms. Throughout the last 25 years, he has applied these analytical methods to questions having to do with changes in human societies over time, a study to which he and his colleagues have given the name cliodynamics (after Clio, the Muse of history). Turchin, who now refers to himself as a complexity scientist, is an emeritus professor at the University of Connecticut, a project leader at the Complexity Science Hub in Vienna, and a research associate at the University of Oxford. I was delighted when Peter consented to engage with me in an emailed interview about his most recent book.