He wrote in 2010: “ In the United States, 50-year instability spikes occurred around 1870, 1920 and 1970, so another could be due around 2020.”
Scientist and author Peter Turchin who specialises in cliodynamics – the study of how societies change over time – published a paper 10 years ago which predicted a growing tide of social changes which would peak in 2020.
Peter Turchin, an academic at the University of Connecticut, published a paper in 2010 predicting social and economic instabilities would peak in or around 2020
He died in 1566 and his books have been studied for centuries since.
Brexit, Black Lives Matter and a steep recession driven by the coronavirus pandemic have combined to hit the world hard in 2020 – and one man appears to have seen it coming 10 years ago.
It has echoes of predictions by Nostradamus, the mysterious French prophet, who is interpreted as having predicted the rise of Napoleon and Hitler along with the 9/11 attacks.
He said: “In the United States we have stagnating or declining real wages, a growing gap between rich and poor, overproduction of young graduates with advanced degrees, and exploding public debt.
A predicted boom in young people that threatened to create a “youth bulge” of students similar to the one that fuelled the late 60s protest era, and the the so-called Kondratiev wave, which tracks 40-60-year economic growth cycles.
As reported by the Daily Star at the time, Turchin based his conclusions on a couple of of different sets of data.
“An excess of young people with advanced degrees has been one of the chief causes of instability in the past.”
Now, Turchin said he’s sad to see his prediction coming true, saying “I would have greatly preferred it to become a “self-defeating prophecy” which had served as a warning at the time.
He added: “Complex human societies are affected by recurrent — and predictable — waves of political instability.”
In his 2010 paper called Political Instability May Be A Contributor In The Coming Decade, Turchin says we should have seen all this coming.
He notes in a recent blog post that long-building pressures have to come together with short-term triggers to create mass movements of the kind we’re seeing today.
He said: “The US cops [had]already killed 400 people in just the first five months of 2020.
“Why was it the murder of George Floyd that sparked the wave of protests?”
Turchin added there’s no certainty that these upheavals will result in permanent change.