A review essay on End Times: Elites, Counter-Elites, and the Path of Political Disintegration by Peter Turchin

Jack Goldstone Cliodynamics December 27, 2023 Link


In End Times, Peter Turchin takes us on three journeys: One is his personal history of the discovery of patterns in history, which form the basis for his development of cliodyamics; a second is his tracing of the primary pattern, namely how elite overproduction and popular immiseration have repeatedly led to state breakdowns across history; and third is the history of the United States, reprising and updating his findings in Age of Discord (Turchin 2017). The journeys converge on a rather distressing endpoint, however: Turchin has found that the pattern of state breakdown that recurs across history is now unfolding in the United States; and in 75% of the times this pattern has been seen in past societies, it led to some form of convulsive state breakdown, including revolution or civil war.
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