In 2010 I made the prediction that the United States will experience a period of heightened social and political instability during the 2020s. Recently, several people challenged me to make this prediction more quantitative. There are all kinds of caveats, and I will get to them eventually.
But first, the TL;DR version.
Structural-demographic theory (SDT) suggests that the violence spike of the 2020s will be worse than the one around 1970, and perhaps as bad as the last big spike during the 1920s. Thus, the expectation is that there will be more than 100 events per 5 years (see the upper panel in the figure). In terms of the second metric (the lower panel) we should expect more than 5 fatalities per 1 million of population per 5 years, if the theory is correct.
And there you have it. If violence doesn’t exceed these thresholds by 2025, then SDT is wrong.Cliodynamica — A Blog about the Evolution of Civilizations
A Quantitative Prediction for Political Violence in the 2020s
Peter Turchin | Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut, Research Associate in the School of Anthropology, University of Oxford, and Vice-President of the Evolution Institute