Friday, January 13, 2017

Foundation and Empire

Will society collapse in the 2020s? That's what a math historian (wasn't 2 + 2 always 4?) wrote:

Peter Turchin, a professor at the University of Connecticut’s department of ecology and evolutionary biology, warns in a Phys.Org article published this week that society could risk implosion within the decade because of increasing social unrest.

And, no, a collapse wouldn’t necessarily be President-elect Donald Trump’s fault ― though Turchin writes that he sees the businessman’s election win as confirmation that “negative trends seem to be accelerating.” Trump’s campaign marked an “unprecedented collapse of social norms governing civilized discourse,” Turchin adds.

“We should expect many years of political turmoil, peaking in the 2020s,” the cultural evolution researcher writes.

“This is a science-based forecast, not a ‘prophecy. It’s based on solid social science.”

So it is based on "solid social science?" Then we'll be fine. Nothing in that field seems terribly solid as opposed to dressing up liberalism with the color of science.

I don't mean to mock too much. I did link to his argument on the over-supply of elites who are contributing to bitter partisan divisions over control of the federal government (and I suggested a return of powers to states and local governments might provide more openings for the elites to lessen the competition for jobs at the federal level)

And because of that article, I did buy his book on the rise and fall of empires based on his theory. I guess I should move it forward on my list of books to be read.

But since the author's name isn't Hari Seldon, I guess I'm skeptical. We shall see.

UPDATE: Heh. I just picked up the book and to the author's credit he refers to Hari Seldon in his introduction. Bravo.