Why do even the mightiest societies collapse? In his new book End Times, complexity scientist Peter Turchin blames both “elite overproduction” and a malign “wealth pump” that funnels spoils to the super rich. His theory of societal apocalypse is rooted in science: using mathematical models drawn from vast datasets of human history, he claims to be able to predict future tumult. He has been proved right before: in 2010, in an article for Nature, he predicted the West’s decade of populist instability.
This week, he spoke to Mary Harrington at the UnHerd Club about populism, Tucker Carlson, and how to swerve the next big catastrophe.