# Weakening democracy lol

#### Tigers!

##### Veteran Member
In the olden days, citizens were influenced by eloquent and educated opinion-makers, and usually chose representatives to lead the government rather than making decisions with popular referenda. Brexit is an obvious example of the 51% probably making a bad decision which well-informed representatives would not have made.
Brexit is the perfect example of why voting should be compulsory. 1/3 of the eligible English populace could not be fagged voting. Such an abrogation of their responsibility. Fools like that do not deserve democracy.
The left in Sweden are now in shock over the big win for the far right party there. They are also talking about weakening democracy. NO. The democracy is fine. This is democracy working as it should. What has changed are people's values and opinions.
But surely we can agree that it is NOT democratic for 51% to select a government whose announced intention is to exterminate some religious group within the 49%.

Hitler came to power as a result of processes of a representative democracy. Is there some point where we will agree that democracy did NOT work "as it should" ?
As others have noted we should not confuse 'democratic' with not getting whom we wish nor give it magical powers.

#### steve_bank

##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Just watched a report on Isreal. Israel is teering on becomming authorterian.

Possible changes to weaken the judicial system, probably to protect Netanyahu. There is a movement to expel Arab Israelis.

The British meltdown.

Western liberal democracy has yet to show it can work and last.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Just watched a report on Isreal. Israel is teering on becomming authorterian.

Possible changes to weaken the judicial system, probably to protect Netanyahu. There is a movement to expel Arab Israelis.
Israel is only one nation, and not a very big one. Look more broadly. Like what this organization does: V-Dem

Also and - Israel is fairly good by world standards, but far from the best.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Opinion | How to Strangle Democracy While Pretending to Engage in It - The New York Times
Published in 1991, Hirschman’s “The Rhetoric of Reaction” may have once read like thoughtful musings on conservative responses to the French Revolution, the Great Society and much in between. (A Times reviewer called it a “handbook for bemused liberals.”) Today it is a siren blast for a U.S. political system that has lost the ability to reconcile differences and the desire to even try. Long before America was cleaved into red versus blue, deplorable versus woke or MAGA versus everybody else, Hirschman argued that political factions were cementing into extreme, unyielding stances and that their arguments, with a nod toward Clausewitz, had become little more than “the continuation of civil war with other means.”
Noting that the Right likes to object to reforms from the Left with:
• Perversity - having the opposite effect
• Futility
• Jeopardy - causing a lot of trouble
"That the three theses can be deployed in illogical combinations — your antipoverty program won’t reach those most in need, and it will also destroy their incentive to work! — does little to lessen their appeal."

Then arguments on the Left:
• Mutual support - new reforms work well with old ones
• Imminent danger - what reforms are necessary for
• Right side of history
Being on the right side of history is a big part of Marxism -- Marxists believe that there is a law of development of human society that will ultimately produce their ideal kind of society. "Get onto the steamroller of history before it comes and flattens you" I recall from somewhere.

Back in the mid to late 1980's, "At the time, he saw the perversity thesis as the most common argument on the right and the imminent danger thesis as the most powerful on the left."

But today, "On virtually any debate, every side now proclaims dire jeopardy from their opponents while basking in history’s certain vindication."
When one group feels it can dominate by disregarding the terms of that democratic bargain, as many Republicans do today, what will compel them to remain a party to it? When those on the left see their opponents becoming incoherent and dangerous, what prevents them from developing the self-enclosed self-assurance that their way is the only way, that any complicating critique is simply bad faith and therefore easily disregarded, that they are not just history’s participants but ultimately its masters?
In conclusion,
Democracy’s legitimacy and durability depend on dialogue and deliberation — on process as much as on outcomes — but the arguments commonly invoked on various sides “are in effect contraptions specifically designed to make dialogue and deliberation impossible.” He did not despair of this fact, though he foresaw a “long and difficult road” to a less facile public debate.

#### steve_bank

##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Kshama Sawant? Kshama Sawant maintains lead as many challenged ballots are resolved | The Seattle Times
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant was still narrowly staving off a ballot measure to recall her from office Monday, maintaining about 50.4% of the votes.

In updated results update from King County Elections, the recall effort to remove the three-term council member for a finance infraction and her involvement in 2020 racial justice protests trailed behind votes in support.
The two sides are working to resolve 436 contested ballots, but today, KS is ahead by 309 votes, her largest number so far. She was originally behind, but when more votes were counted, she came out ahead.
Ballots will be counted through 4:30 p.m. Thursday, and votes are set to be certified Friday. After that, both sides will have until Dec. 21 to request a recount, but they’ll have to foot the bill.
Tat happened a while ago. Her district is said to be the most progressive in the city. She had iedentified as a communist.

A recall election for District 3 City Councilmember Kshama Sawant took place on December 7, 2021, in Seattle, Washington.[1] Sawant defeated the recall attempt. The election results were certified on December 17.[2]

#### DrZoidberg

##### Contributor
What does "democracy" even mean? I had thought that it meant MORE than just rule by the majority, that it implied social equality. I checked several dictionaries, but only three of them partly agreed with this, and then only in a secondary definition of "democratic":

Dictionary.com: "pertaining to or characterized by the principle of political or social equality for all."

Cambridge Dictionary: "A person or a group that is democratic believes in, encourages, or supports freedom and equality between people and groups."

Collins Dictionary: "Something that is democratic is based on the idea that everyone should have equal rights and should be involved in making important decisions. Education is the basis of a democratic society."

I like Collins' mention of education. However this was NOT part of the (secondary) definition; it was just the example sentence.

I'm a pragramtic at heart. Whatever political system that generates the greatest wealth and power to it's leader (or leaders) will inevitably dominate other countries and their political systems. So either we organise society to generate maximum wealth to power for ourselves or we're preparing to hand our wealth over to someone else.

The reason why the democratic nations beat the fascist nations in WW2 wasn't our superior moral values. It was our wealth and power.

Democracy and free market capitalism have a similar social mechanics underpining them. It's two systems that maximises the work humans are willing to invest for the good of mankind. It's just the most motivating systems. They're inspiring rather than extractative and exploitative.

Democracy doesn't mean social equality. It doesn't mean everybody gets to have a say. I don't think these are even desirable. Representative democracy is the political systems of all the rich countries because that's the system that makes us the most wealthy. We can debate all day why that is.

The UK doesn't have much of natural resources, they still managed to create the biggest empire in human history, simply by deciding that we're all better off if we let people sort themselves out as much possible. The less we tell other people who to run their lives, in general, the better. That's what the basic human rights are about. It's not about elevating humans to something sacred for their sake. It's elevating humans to something sacred, because that leads to maximum wealth and power for society as a whole.

In the olden days, citizens were influenced by eloquent and educated opinion-makers, and usually chose representatives to lead the government rather than making decisions with popular referenda. Brexit is an obvious example of the 51% probably making a bad decision which well-informed representatives would not have made.

Lol. Take off your rose tinted spectacles. The further back in time we go the more dysfunctional was democracy, the worse informed they were and the dumber people voted. We are today more educated and wiser than at any time prior in history. Just because you think people are dumb now, doesn't mean they were smarter before.

The left in Sweden are now in shock over the big win for the far right party there. They are also talking about weakening democracy. NO. The democracy is fine. This is democracy working as it should. What has changed are people's values and opinions.
But surely we can agree that it is NOT democratic for 51% to select a government whose announced intention is to exterminate some religious group within the 49%.

I think it is. Democracy isn't just about everybody getting a fair hearing, it's also about getting things done. If we agree that whoever won the election can just get on with it, no matter how slim the margin, it's better for society as a whole.

Hitler came to power as a result of processes of a representative democracy. Is there some point where we will agree that democracy did NOT work "as it should" ?

In the U.S., many voters today, in this post-rational era, are influenced by lies about a stolen election, lies about Hillary Clinton, etc. I refuse to believe that this "is democracy working as it should."

Because the world has changed. People are now worrying about different things. We can debate why that is. But my favourite candidate not winning is not the same thing as democracy failing. Perhaps it's me who isn't keeping up with the times?

I'm an upper middle class, well educated well off man with a good job. I'm fairly well insulated from economic issues. I have very little worry about in life. That informs my political choices. Caring about other people and being generous is what people who feel safe do. People who feel threatened act defensively. That is what I think is happening. I think the IT economy has been awesome for the world at large. Great wealth has been created. But it hasn't been spread around evenly. While IT advances have benefitted the uneducated rural working class as well. The urban middle class are today, by comparison, fabulously wealthy.

My current lifestyle was unatainable for 99% of Scandinavians in the 1970'ies. Today it's fairly normal. For IT professionals.

I have no idea what the relevance of these final paragraphs is. YOU may be charitable and happy to be taxed to support the less fortunate in the pursuit of utilitarianism. This does not mean that ALL voters, or even 51%, are just as charitable.

The relevance is that all people have a tendency to be myopic. We take ourselves and the problems around us and treat them as universals. I have a friend who is poor and who has had a poor boyfriend for many years. They have lived in a poor suburb of Stockholm for many years. It's an area of Stockholm with a lot of gang violence and drugs. It's mostly immigrants living there. She voted for the Swedish far right political party. To her the problems of her community clearly has to do with high immigration. I disagree. But I don't live her life. I only see things from my perspecitive.

#### DrZoidberg

##### Contributor
Something not in the US Constitution is political parties, and none of its creators seemed to want them. Several of them went on record as deploring parties as leading to strife from rival factions. The Founding Fathers on Party Strife (Quotes) | Satyagraha and What Our Founding Fathers Said About Political Parties - Bill King Blog and The Founding Fathers Feared Political Factions Would Tear the Nation Apart - HISTORY

But their hope of a partyless political system was not to be. In the first term of the first President, George Washington, the politicians started dividing themselves into parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.

The Federalists wanted an industrialized nation with a strong government and a lot of international influence, while the D-R's wanted an isolationist, agrarian nation with a wimpy national government. Though many Americans continue to claim the D-R vision of the US as an ideal, the nation has become everything the Federalists wanted. The first D-R President, Thomas Jefferson, ended up acting Federalist-like with his Louisiana Purchase and his sending military expeditions to North Africa to punish raiders of American shipping.

and and
EraYearsCongressesParty IParty II
1795 - 18254 - 18Dem-RepFederalist
2nd Party System1825 - 183719 - 24JacksonianAnti-Jackson
1837 - 185525 - 33DemocraticWhig
1855 - 185734DemocraticOpposition
3rd Party System1857 - 189735 - 54DemocraticRepublican
4th Party System1897 - 193355 - 72DemocraticRepublican
5th Party System1933 - 198173 - 96DemocraticRepublican
6th Party System1981 - present97 - presentDemocraticRepublican
We are at the 117th Congress.
Political parties is unavoilable in a modern democracy. Its just too much shit to keep track of for one person. Ruling has to be a team effort.

I also don't give much weight to the pipe dreams of the founding fathers. In 1776 democracy was a wild and fanciful thought experiment. No, shit they got some details wrong.

Also, colonial countries that break free from the mother country, if they opted for a parliamentary system based on the UK system they were much more stable. The ex-colonies that opted for basing their constituation of the US constitution (or French) mostly ended up falling apart. The US constitutation worked for USA. But simply by track record it's a bad constitution. We can debate all day what the secret sauce is, but Washington was made king by his troops, which he turned down. The fact that he was even given the possiblity to make himself king is not a great sign.

The lesson from history is that democracy is a collection of institutions, all that need to be working or democracy as a whole won't work.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
I'd posted earlier on how parliamentary systems seem to be the best at governing.

Opinion | Moderate Republicans No Longer Have a Home, and It Started With My Defeat - The New York Times
By Peter Smith

Mr. Smith, a Republican, represented Vermont in the House of Representatives from 1989 to 1991.
He was the sort of Republican who was common a half a century ago.
Over the last 30 years, the Republican Party has effectively eliminated its moderate and liberal voices — as well as the conservative voices that put country over party. The consequences of this takeover by an increasingly right-wing faction include the threats to democracy that have become increasingly prominent since the Jan. 6 riots.
Then about how he was unseated. Back in 1990, the National Rifle Association and conservative Republicans combined against him, first supporting a right-wing challenger, then Bernie Sanders in the general election. Bernie Sanders? They hoped that they could defeat BS the next time around, but they failed, and BS stayed in office.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my defeat was an early step in the elimination of the moderate and liberal wing of the Republican Party. That process, aimed at members of Congress and state-level officials, began with the ascent of Newt Gingrich’s style of full-throated partisanship and has continued to this day.
As moderates retired, their successors became more and more right wing.
When Mr. Gingrich was elected Republican minority whip by a single vote in 1989, he and his supporters seemingly had one goal: not to govern, but to control, stifle and stymie Congress. They got less actual governing done as they frustrated Congress’s work, and in many ways their strategy worked.
In effect, to kill one's parents and then to beg for mercy because one is an orphan.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Here's what Newt Gingrich was like.
About three weeks after his election as whip, Mr. Gingrich called me into his office. He asked whether I was having dinner with Democrats. I was, I said: A colleague from Tennessee and I were hosting fellow freshman members for dinner regularly to share experiences. Mr. Gingrich demanded that I stop; he didn’t want Republicans consorting with Democrats.

I responded — not overly politely — that I was from Vermont and nobody told me what people I could eat with. But his demand was a harbinger of the decline of moderate and liberal Republicans. (Mr. Gingrich told The Times he did not recall the meeting, but noted that he was working to unify the Republican caucus at the time.)

What followed over the next few years was the deliberate quarantining of Republicans from Democrats: separate orientations for new members, a sharp curtailing of bipartisan activities and an increasing insistence that members toe the party line. The very idea of “voting your district” — which was alive and well when I was elected — became anathema within the Republican caucus. Simultaneously, the weaponization of the evangelical religious right and the organization of wealthy conservative donors was going on, largely behind the scenes, with money and organizing often used against moderate Republicans as well as Democrats.
Then the Republican Party started promising their base lots of things that they could not deliver or else would not want to deliver, things like cutting taxes, eliminating the deficit, reducing federal regulations, banning abortion, and cracking down on LGBTQ rights.

"As Republican voters and nominees adopted an increasingly extreme agenda, even a Republican Congress could not produce the results they had promised." and "These failures drove a further rightward shift that resulted in the rise of the Tea Party."

Some Northeastern Republicans were still moderate, like Sen. Jim Jeffords of VT, who became an Independent, and Sen. Olympia Snowe of ME. She favored "governing" over "controlling".

"But even in New England, long a bastion of liberal and moderate Republicanism, moderates are now losing in Republican primaries." and "There have been a few moderate and liberal Republican success stories, but they are anomalies, peculiar to the person or the situation." - like former Republican governors Larry Hogan of MD and Charlie Baker of MA, leaving only Phil Scott of VT and Chris Sununu of NH.
I believe that the current attempts to overthrow our democratic traditions will fail, but we must understand the successes produced by the right wing’s focus on control at all costs over governing.

Beyond Mr. Trump’s election, those successes include the numerous right-wing ideologues confirmed to federal judgeships, a major effort to restrict voting rights, the increasing presence of dark money in politics, the elimination of abortion rights and a lack of critical progress in combating the global climate crisis.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
In 1950, Senator Margaret Chase Smith, a moderate Republican from Maine, attacked McCarthyism and its “four horsemen of calumny — fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear.” Republicans today seem to use Smith’s warning as an inspiration, projecting their own worst excesses upon their opponents. There is little room left in the G.O.P. for any disagreement — indeed, of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, only one appears very likely to be in Congress next January.
The rise of the far right could be dated as far back as 1958, the year that the John Birch Society was founded by businessman Robert Welch, someone who believed that then-President Dwight Eisenhower was a “dedicated, conscious agent” of the Communist conspiracy in the US. The far right supported Barry Goldwater in 1964, though he lost, but in 1970, Richard Nixon and the Republican Party started appealing to disaffected Southerners with their "Southern Strategy". The far right continued to rise, even though their candidates often failed to deliver on such things as banning abortion.

#### crazyfingers

##### Supermagnon
Staff member
Here's what Newt Gingrich was like.
About three weeks after his election as whip, Mr. Gingrich called me into his office. He asked whether I was having dinner with Democrats. I was, I said: A colleague from Tennessee and I were hosting fellow freshman members for dinner regularly to share experiences. Mr. Gingrich demanded that I stop; he didn’t want Republicans consorting with Democrats.

I responded — not overly politely — that I was from Vermont and nobody told me what people I could eat with. But his demand was a harbinger of the decline of moderate and liberal Republicans. (Mr. Gingrich told The Times he did not recall the meeting, but noted that he was working to unify the Republican caucus at the time.)

What followed over the next few years was the deliberate quarantining of Republicans from Democrats: separate orientations for new members, a sharp curtailing of bipartisan activities and an increasing insistence that members toe the party line. The very idea of “voting your district” — which was alive and well when I was elected — became anathema within the Republican caucus. Simultaneously, the weaponization of the evangelical religious right and the organization of wealthy conservative donors was going on, largely behind the scenes, with money and organizing often used against moderate Republicans as well as Democrats.
Then the Republican Party started promising their base lots of things that they could not deliver or else would not want to deliver, things like cutting taxes, eliminating the deficit, reducing federal regulations, banning abortion, and cracking down on LGBTQ rights.

"As Republican voters and nominees adopted an increasingly extreme agenda, even a Republican Congress could not produce the results they had promised." and "These failures drove a further rightward shift that resulted in the rise of the Tea Party."

Some Northeastern Republicans were still moderate, like Sen. Jim Jeffords of VT, who became an Independent, and Sen. Olympia Snowe of ME. She favored "governing" over "controlling".

"But even in New England, long a bastion of liberal and moderate Republicanism, moderates are now losing in Republican primaries." and "There have been a few moderate and liberal Republican success stories, but they are anomalies, peculiar to the person or the situation." - like former Republican governors Larry Hogan of MD and Charlie Baker of MA, leaving only Phil Scott of VT and Chris Sununu of NH.
I believe that the current attempts to overthrow our democratic traditions will fail, but we must understand the successes produced by the right wing’s focus on control at all costs over governing.

Beyond Mr. Trump’s election, those successes include the numerous right-wing ideologues confirmed to federal judgeships, a major effort to restrict voting rights, the increasing presence of dark money in politics, the elimination of abortion rights and a lack of critical progress in combating the global climate crisis.

Similar story in the Boston Globe about Massachusetts republicans. Behind the pay wall. The main point is that current republican leadership in Massachusetts is so extreme right that they are making themselves irrelevant.

In the last four years, the deeply divided Massachusetts Republican Party has lost races for governor, lieutenant governor, more than a dozen legislative seats, and every statewide office and congressional seat, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars from its campaign account and about 30,000 registered voters.

Yet the man who presided over the series of defeats as the chairman of the state Republican Party, Jim Lyons, is not only likely to pursue reelection in January, party operatives said, but could prevail.

On the heels of a midterm election that rebuked former president Donald Trump and the extremist candidates who follow his lead, the state GOP finds itself at a crossroads, gripped by an identity crisis. For years, the party has been split between conservatives who back Lyons and Trump, and more moderate Republicans in the mold of departing Governor Charlie Baker.

The chairman’s election will force the party to decide: opt for new leadership and a new approach, or continue its hard-line tactics that risk losing more races, money, and membership?

Some in the party fear that Republicans, already endangered in Massachusetts politics, could become completely irrelevant if party leaders don’t recalibrate.

The story goes on but that's the main point. They are extreming themselves to death

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
End Times by Peter Turchin: 9780593490501 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books - "End Times: Elites, Counter-Elites, and the Path of Political Disintegration" by Peter Turchin
From the pioneering co-founder of cliodynamics, the ground-breaking new interdisciplinary science of history, a big-picture explanation for America’s civil strife and its possible endgames
Then mentioning his prediction in 2010 that the US would be entering a period of dangerous strife around 2020. A prediction that has proven correct.
The lessons of world history are clear, Turchin argues: when the equilibrium between ruling elites and the majority tips too far in favor of elites, political instability is all but inevitable. Since the start of the industrial era, this imbalance has been caused not by excessive population growth but by phase shifts of technological innovation and globalization.

As income inequality surges, and prosperity flows disproportionately into the hands of the elites, the “common people” suffer, and society-wide efforts to become an elite grow ever more frenzied. He calls this process the wealth pump; it’s a world of the damned and the saved. And since the number of such positions remains relatively fixed, the overproduction of elites inevitably leads to frustrated elite aspirants, who harness popular resentment to turn against the established order. Turchin’s models show that when this state has been reached, societies become locked in a death spiral from which it’s very hard to pull out.

In America, the wealth pump has been operating full blast for two generations. As cliodynamics shows us, our current cycle of elite overproduction and popular immiseration is far along the path to violent political rupture. That is only one possible end time, and the choice is up to us, but the hour grows late.
Peter Turchin Home - Peter Turchin
Peter Turchin latest posts - Peter Turchin - his blog

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
He described that book in Peter Turchin What I am working on: Update - Peter Turchin - Sep 04
First, I finished writing my trade book, previously titled A History of the Near Future. As expected, the publisher didn’t like it, so the new title is The Wealth Pump: Ruling Elites and the Path of Political Disintegration. I finished the complete draft in June (right on schedule), but then there was a bunch of lose ends to take care of. As a result, the book went into production in August. The tentative publication date is June of next year. There is still a lot of work to do on it, but it will be largely done by other people. The biggest job for me will be to go over the copy-editor’s suggestions, and then approve the galleys, which will not take a lot of time. This leaves me time to switch to other projects, on which below.

Peter Turchin What I am working on - Peter Turchin - Mar 14
The other book is a trade book (meaning it’s popular, not academic). It is tentatively titled A History of the Near Future, HNF (a title that is almost certainly going to change).

The genesis of this book is an interesting story. After I have acquired not a small amount of notoriety in 2020, when my prediction of the “Turbulent Twenties” had, rather disastrously, turned out to be right, I was approached by several publishers and literary agents.

He is also working on "The Great Holocene Transformation", on the rise of large-scale human societies since the end of the last ice age.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Crisis and Recovery Database | Seshat: Global History Databank - still a work in progress

Has Exploring Polycrises | Seshat: Global History Databank
The numerous existential threats that modern societies face have earned the label Polycrisis – a recognition that there exist multiple, simultaneous, and interacting hazards which occur frequently enough to diminish or degrade institutional response capacity and societal resilience. Most approaches to the polycrisis highlight the ‘extraordinary’ and ‘unprecedented’ nature of current threats. While we face certain unique challenges, the perils of changing and unpredictable climate, emergent diseases, the destabilizing nature of rampant inequality, as well as the looming threat of polarization and warfare have been part of the human experience for millennia. There have been polycrises in the past just as today.

Also Consequences of Crisis | Seshat: Global History Databank
Utilizing the innovative longitudinal dynamic analyses pioneered by Seshat: Global History Databank, we aim to pinpoint the leverage points that can tip the scales from the more devastating to the less disruptive consequences. Our data-driven approach reveals not only common patterns in societal dynamics, but highlights also the critical differences between societies and the unique challenges they each face.

With lots of references that I'll be discussing.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Peter Turchin's 2010 prediction: Political instability may be a contributor in the coming decade | Nature
Quantitative historical analysis reveals that complex human societies are affected by recurrent — and predictable — waves of political instability (P. Turchin and S. A. Nefedov Secular Cycles Princeton Univ. Press; 2009).
That book discussed ancient Rome, late medieval and early modern Britain, France, and Russia, and Imperial China. The cycle -
• Integrative
• Expansion
• Stagflation
• Disintegrative
• Crisis
• Depression / Intercycle
From Wikipedia:
FeatureExpansionStagflationCrisisDepression
PopulationIncreasesSlow increaseDecreasesSlow decrease
ElitesLow population and consumptionIncreasing population and competition and consumptionHigh population, conflicts, high inequalityReduction of population, downward mobility, reduced consumption
State strength and collective solidarityIncreasingHigh but decreasingCollapseAttempts at rebuilding
Sociopolitical instabilityLowIncreasingHighDecreasing
Though this theory of history may seem a lot like Marxism, with its identification of working and exploiting classes, of makers and takers, it differs from Marxism in some crucial ways, like featuring rival factions of elites fighting each other, and some of them going populist, recruiting common people to fight on their side. This reminds me of Bertrand Russell noting that during the Great War (WWI), the socialist parties were split on it by whichever nation they were in, and I recall BR saying about that that however deplorable that might be, it is not due to capitalist lies.

#### steve_bank

##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Was democracy ever strong?

It does not seem so.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
In the rest of his 2010 Nature article, Peter Turchin described the effects of Gilded Age II, as I call it.
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. These seemingly disparate social indicators are actually related to each other dynamically. They all experienced turning points during the 1970s. Historically, such developments have served as leading indicators of looming political instability.

Very long 'secular cycles' interact with shorter-term processes. In the United States, 50-year instability spikes occurred around 1870, 1920 and 1970, so another could be due around 2020. We are also entering a dip in the so-called Kondratiev wave, which traces 40-60-year economic-growth cycles. This could mean that future recessions will be severe. In addition, the next decade will see a rapid growth in the number of people in their twenties, like the youth bulge that accompanied the turbulence of the 1960s and 1970s. All these cycles look set to peak in the years around 2020.
But we are not doomed to societal collapse and civil war.
Records show that societies can avert disaster. We need to find ways to ameliorate the negative effects of globalization on people's well-being. Economic inequality, accompanied by burgeoning public debt, can be addressed by making tax rates more progressive. And we should not expand our system of higher education beyond the ability of the economy to absorb university graduates. An excess of young people with advanced degrees has been one of the chief causes of instability in the past.

#### Swammerdami

Staff member
The reason why the democratic nations beat the fascist nations in WW2 wasn't our superior moral values. It was our wealth and power.
OK.
The UK doesn't have much of natural resources, they still managed to create the biggest empire in human history, simply by deciding that we're all better off if we let people sort themselves out as much possible.

Yesterday I noted an article (at Al-Jazeera?) claiming excess deaths in India were 100 million over the time-span of the Raj, besting the combined homicide tolls of Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin AND Hitler. GINI soared under the Raj with half of Indians getting only the barest minimum to sustain life.
In the olden days, citizens were influenced by eloquent and educated opinion-makers, and usually chose representatives to lead the government rather than making decisions with popular referenda. Brexit is an obvious example of the 51% probably making a bad decision which well-informed representatives would not have made.

Lol. Take off your rose tinted spectacles. The further back in time we go the more dysfunctional was democracy, the worse informed they were and the dumber people voted.
Early citizens were focused on LOCAL politics or their own PERSONAL situation. (For much of the 20th century, most Americans got their news from LOCAL newspapers.) When the choices are so tangible, Stupidism has less scope. Germany between the World Wars is the one example where Stupidism had great strength in a pre-Internet democracy.
We are today more educated and wiser than at any time prior in history. Just because you think people are dumb now, doesn't mean they were smarter before.

Science and education have advanced, yet Stupidism and other symptoms are still rampant, even among the "educated." Brexit and Trump are obvious examples where today's democracies seem not particularly "wise." Stupidism feeds on lies, and it is with modern communication that lies travel at breakneck speed.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
The UK doesn't have much of natural resources, they still managed to create the biggest empire in human history, simply by deciding that we're all better off if we let people sort themselves out as much possible.
Yesterday I noted an article (at Al-Jazeera?) claiming excess deaths in India were 100 million over the time-span of the Raj, besting the combined homicide tolls of Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin AND Hitler. GINI soared under the Raj with half of Indians getting only the barest minimum to sustain life.
So much for the British Empire being some anarchist utopia, which is what DrZoidberg implied that it was.

#### Elixir

Warning Level 1
So much for the British Empire being some anarchist utopia, which is what DrZoidberg implied that it was.
It was, if you were well off, British and in India. So if anyone at home asked, yeah - piece of heaven. People on the short end of the stick in India (ie everyone else) certainly never attained any voice in England or anywhere else, so why would anyone think otherwise? 100,000,000 dead voices are still less than one.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Linking “Micro” to “Macro” Models of State Breakdown to Improve Methods for Political Forecasting - 2017
Three predictive problems bedevil our ability to foresee political crises and state breakdown: (1) how to tell when a previously stable state falls into a situation of hidden but dangerous instability; (2) how to tell, once a certain level of instability has appeared in the form of protests, riots, or regional rebellions, whether chaos will grow and accelerate into revolution or civil war, or if the protests are likely to be contained and dampen out; and (3) how to tell which individuals and groups are likely to be the main source of mobilization for radical movements, and whether opposition networks will link up, grow and spread, or be isolated and contained.
Saying that we need to model them together.

A History of Possible Futures: Multipath Forecasting of Social Breakdown, Recovery, and Resilience
The premise of this paper is that a transdisciplinary approach to forecasting social breakdown, recovery, and resilience is entirely feasible, as a result of recent breakthroughs in statistical analysis of large-scale historical data, the qualitative insights of historical and semiotic investigations, and agent-based models that translate between micro-dynamics of interacting individuals and the collective macro-level events emerging from these interactions. Our goal is to construct a series of probabilistic scenarios of social breakdown and recovery, based on historical crises and outcomes, which can aid the analysis of potential outcomes of future crises.

The 2010 structural-demographic forecast for the 2010–2020 decade: A retrospective assessment | PLOS ONE
This article revisits the prediction, made in 2010, that the 2010–2020 decade would likely be a period of growing instability in the United States and Western Europe Turchin P. 2018. This prediction was based on a computational model that quantified in the USA such structural-demographic forces for instability as popular immiseration, intraelite competition, and state weakness prior to 2010. Using these trends as inputs, the model calculated and projected forward in time the Political Stress Indicator, which in the past was strongly correlated with socio-political instability. Ortmans et al. Turchin P. 2010 conducted a similar structural-demographic study for the United Kingdom. Here we use the Cross-National Time-Series Data Archive for the US, UK, and several major Western European countries to assess these structural-demographic predictions. We find that such measures of socio-political instability as anti-government demonstrations and riots increased dramatically during the 2010–2020 decade in all of these countries.
Looking at the US, the UK, France, Spain, and Italy.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Can History Predict the Future? - The Atlantic - "A historian believes he has discovered iron laws that predict the rise and fall of societies. He has bad news."
The year 2020 has been kind to Turchin, for many of the same reasons it has been hell for the rest of us. Cities on fire, elected leaders endorsing violence, homicides surging—to a normal American, these are apocalyptic signs. To Turchin, they indicate that his models, which incorporate thousands of years of data about human history, are working. (“Not all of human history,” he corrected me once. “Just the last 10,000 years.”)
Since early in the Holocene. Jericho, Palestine is the oldest city with at least half-continuous occupation.
The fundamental problems, he says, are a dark triad of social maladies: a bloated elite class, with too few elite jobs to go around; declining living standards among the general population; and a government that can’t cover its financial positions. His models, which track these factors in other societies across history, are too complicated to explain in a nontechnical publication. But they’ve succeeded in impressing writers for nontechnical publications, and have won him comparisons to other authors of “megahistories,” such as Jared Diamond and Yuval Noah Harari. The New York Times columnist Ross Douthat had once found Turchin’s historical modeling unpersuasive, but 2020 made him a believer: “At this point,” Douthat recently admitted on a podcast, “I feel like you have to pay a little more attention to him.”
Then PT comparing himself to Hari Seldon of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.
The fate of our own society, he says, is not going to be pretty, at least in the near term. “It’s too late,” he told me as we passed Mirror Lake, which UConn’s website describes as a favorite place for students to “read, relax, or ride on the wooden swing.” The problems are deep and structural—not the type that the tedious process of democratic change can fix in time to forestall mayhem. Turchin likens America to a huge ship headed directly for an iceberg: “If you have a discussion among the crew about which way to turn, you will not turn in time, and you hit the iceberg directly.” The past 10 years or so have been discussion. That sickening crunch you now hear—steel twisting, rivets popping—is the sound of the ship hitting the iceberg.

“We are almost guaranteed” five hellish years, Turchin predicts, and likely a decade or more. The problem, he says, is that there are too many people like me. “You are ruling class,” he said, with no more rancor than if he had informed me that I had brown hair, or a slightly newer iPhone than his.
He talked about "elite overproduction" - "the tendency of a society’s ruling classes to grow faster than the number of positions for their members to fill."

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
"The problems begin when money and Harvard degrees become like royal titles in Saudi Arabia. If lots of people have them, but only some have real power, the ones who don’t have power eventually turn on the ones who do." Cute analogy.
Donald Trump, for example, may appear elite (rich father, Wharton degree, gilded commodes), but Trumpism is a counter-elite movement. His government is packed with credentialed nobodies who were shut out of previous administrations, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes because the Groton-Yale establishment simply didn't have any vacancies. Trump's former adviser and chief strategist Steve Bannon, Turchin said, is a *paradigmatic example" of a counter-elite. He grew up working-class, went to Harvard Business School, and got rich as an investment a banker and by owning a small stake in the syndication rights to Seinfeld. None of that translated to political power until he allied himself with the common people. "He was a counter-elite who used Trump to break through, to put the white working males back in charge," Turchin said.

Elite overproduction creates counter-elites, and counter-elites look for allies among the commoners. If commoners' living standards slipnot relative to the elites, but relative to what they had before-they accept the overtures of the counter-elites and start oiling the axles of their tumbrels. Commoners' lives grow worse, and the few who try to pull themselves onto the elite lifeboat are pushed back into the water by those already aboard. The final trigger of impending collapse, Turchin says, tends to be state insolvency. At some point rising insecurity becomes expensive. The elites have to pacify unhappy citizens with handouts and freebies--and when these run out, they have to police dissent and oppress people. Eventually the state exhausts all short-term solutions, and what was heretofore a coherent a civilization disintegrates.
Then on Peter Turchin growing up in the Soviet Union and his father fleeing to the US as a dissident. Then how he got into ecology - the biology of organism communities, not the ideology or environmentalist activism - and did mathematical modeling. He worked on pine beetles, and also on moths, voles (field mice), and lemmings.

Lemmings are vole-like rodents that live in far northern latitudes. They normally live in burrows, but when they multiply enough, they come out of their burrows and go on mass migrations. That isn't deliberate suicide, though they can end up dying as a result of their travels, like trying to cross a large body of water. Predator satiation?

That's what happens with long-period cicadas. Huge swarms of them come out every 13 or 17 years, too much for cicada-eaters to eat. Cicadas that come out in other years are much more vulnerable, since there aren't many of them. That's what makes this odd effect stable. Peter Turchin The Social Life of Periodical Cicadas - Peter Turchin

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#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
The UK doesn't have much of natural resources, they still managed to create the biggest empire in human history, simply by...
...industrialising before anyone else did, using their industrial might to build a fucking huge navy that nobody else could challenge, and using that navy to bully most of the world into giving them stuff - from slave labour and natural resources, to the knowledge and expertise necessary to further advance their industrial advantages.

And then they told the people they had enslaved and/or exploited that the reason a tiny nation with few natural resources was in charge was that they were wonderfully nice, kind, and benign, and had decided to let people decide how to sort themselves out as much as possible.

Just as long as they sorted themselves out in exactly the way the British government demanded that they should, so as to avoid being bombarded by Royal Naval gunboats.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
But Peter Turchin came to feel like such population patterns are a solved problem, so he turned to humanity's history.

“All sciences go through this transition to mathematization,” Turchin told me. “When I had my midlife crisis, I was looking for a subject where I could help with this transition to a mathematized science. There was only one left, and that was history.”

Are there any general laws of humanity's history? He founded a journal, Cliodynamics, dedicated to research into that question.
To seed the journal's research, Turchin masterminded a digital archive of historical and archaeological data. The coding of its records requires finesse, he told me, because (for example) the method of determining the size of the elite-aspirant class of medieval France might differ from the measure of the same class in the present-day United States. (For medieval France, a proxy is the membership in its noble class, which became glutted with second and third sons who had no castles or manors to rule over. One American proxy, Turchin says, is the number of lawyers.) But once the data are entered, after vetting by Turchin and specialists in the historical period under review, they offer quick and powerful suggestions about historical phenomena.

Historians of religion have long pondered the relationship between the rise of complex civilization and the belief in gods-especially "moralizing gods," the kind who scold you for sinning. Last year, Turchin and a dozen co-authors mined the database ("records from 414 societies that span the past 10,000 years from 30 regions around the world, using 51 measures of social complexity and 4 measures of supernatural enforcement of morality") to answer the question conclusively. They found that complex societies are more likely to have moralizing gods, but the gods tend to start their scolding after the societies get complex, not before. As the database expands, it will attempt to remove more questions from the realm of humanistic speculation and sock them away in a drawer marked ANSWERED.
But one less-than-flattering result is that complex societies emerge from war, from larger-scale organization making victory more likely. "No one wants to accept that we live in the societies we do because of an ugly thing like war," he says.
The notion that democracy finds its strength in its essential goodness and moral improvement over its rival systems is likewise fanciful. Instead, democratic societies flourish because they have a memory of being nearly obliterated by an external enemy. They avoided extinction only through collective action, and the memory of that collective action makes democratic politics easier to conduct in the present, Turchin said. "There is a very close correlation between adopting democratic institutions and having to fight a war for survival."
Something like this may be happening in Ukraine right now, because of having to fight Russia.

PT notices spikes of civil strife in US history: around 1870, 1920, and 1970, something that suggests another spike around now.
Turchin's prescriptions are, as whole, vague and unclassifiable. Some sound like ideas that might have come from Senator Elizabeth Warren-tax the elites until there are fewer of them-while others, such as a call to reduce immigration to keep wages high for American workers, resemble Trumpian protectionism. Other policies are simply heretical. He opposes credential-oriented higher education, for example, which he says is way of mass-producing elites without also mass-producing elite jobs for them to occupy. Architects of such policies, he told me, are *creating surplus elites, and some become counter-elites." A smarter approach would be to keep the elite numbers small, and the real wages of the general population on d constant rise.

How to do that? Turchin says he doesn't really know, and it isn't his job to know. "I don't really think in terms of specific policy,' he told me. "We need to stop the runaway process of elite overproduction, but I don't know what will work to do that, and nobody else does. Do you increase taxation? Raise the minimum wage? Universal basic income?" He conceded that each of these possibilities would have unpredictable effects. He recalled story he'd heard back when he was still an ecologist: The Forest Service had once implemented a plan to reduce the population of bark beetles with pesticide -- only to find that the pesticide killed off the beetles' predators even more effectively than it killed the beetles. The intervention resulted in more beetles than before. The lesson, he said, was to practice "adaptive management," changing and modulating your approach as you go.
Many historians disagree with this belief in predictability, and I think that they have been turned off by other attempts to find cycles, attempts that often seem very Procrustean.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
... Turchin's approach is also Russian, or post-Soviet, in its rejection of the Marxist theory of historical progress that had been the official ideology of the Soviet state. When the U.S.S.R. collapsed, so too did the requirement that historical writing acknowledge international communism as the condition toward which the arc of history was bending. Turchin dropped ideology altogether, he says: Rather than bending toward progress, the arc in his view bends all the way back on itself, in a never-ending loop of boom and bust. This puts him at odds with American historians, many of whom harbor an unspoken faith that liberal democracy is the end state of all history.
Seems like these American historians believe in something much like Marxist ideology, but with a different endpoint of history.
Writing history in this sweeping, cyclical way is easier if you are trained outside the field. "If you look at who is doing these megahistories, more often than not, it's not actual historians," Walter Scheidel, an actual historian at Stanford, told me. (Scheidel, whose books span millennia, takes Turchin's work seriously and has even co-written a paper with him.) Instead they come from scientific fields where these taboos do not dominate.
Like Jared Diamond.

Big Data and History | Dan Snow's History Hit on Acast - "Dan Hoyer and Peter Turchin joined me on the podcast to talk about the new transdisciplinary field of Cliodynamics, which uses the tools of complexity science and cultural evolution to study the dynamics of historical empires and modern nation-states."

Like counting coin hoards to get an estimate of how much strife -- surviving coin hoards are likely abandoned.

He notes that societies head into crisis in much the same way -- immiseration of the common people, overproduction of elites, and weakening of the state -- and that this happens every few hundred years (300 - 400 years) in preindustrial societies. The US is currently doing much the same thing.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
210 Reasons for decline of Roman Empire
Source: A. Demandt, Der Fall Roms (1984) 695

PT then discussed this: Seshat: Global History Databank - it's a big collection on data on several societies, coded in a fashion that allows straightforward comparison. He mentioned the Crisis Database (CrisisDB), that collection of crisis outcomes. Most of them are bad, like civil war, but some societies escape without much trouble. Thus, the ginkgo-leaf logo of CrisisDB, indicating one path in and several paths out.

Greater inequality - economic, political - causes trouble: popular immiseration and elite strife. Concentration of wealth leads to wasting of effort in status symbols like large yachts, and also buying of political influence.

Peter Turchin and Dan Hoyer: "The History of the Near Future"; Disrupting Politics Conference Day 1 - YouTube

Shows a graph of "Deaths of Despair" - alcohol-related, drug overdoses, suicide - something rising over the last few decades.

Dan Hoyer notes Walter Scheidel's book "The Great Leveler". He has a slide:
Can Politics Be 'Disrupted'???

The pessimistic view: "Death is the Great Leveler"

Inequality can decrease only by major, violent shocks:
• Mass-mobilization warfare
• Transformative revolution
• State failure/collapse
• Lethal pandemic

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Then the ginkgo diagram: recovery, continuing instability, collapse. Outcomes of Crisis:
• More Severe: assassinations, population loss, civil war
• Less Severe: mass protests, institutional reform
Like in the US:
• More Severe: Partisan fighting, US Civil War
• Less Severe: Labour strikes, antitrust regulation, wage / safety protection
It's a great virtue of democracy that it enables alternatives to rebellion and civil war.

Successful exit from crisis:
• Roman Republic 4th cy. BCE
• Britain 1830's
• Russia 1860
Major reforms led to peaceful outcomes.

The Political Stress Index for the US: 1800 (initial): -0.5 -- 1820's (Era of Good Feelings): -0.7 -- 1860 (Civil War): +0.6 -- 1900's (Progressive Era): +1.2 -- 1950 (Era of Good Feelings II): -1.0

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Then talking about Europe vs. China - what crises?Europe had revolutions back in 1848 or so, but it had two big wars in the early to mid 20th cy. China, however, got out of its humiliation by the West around 1970. PT predicts that the next wave of instability in China is some decades ahead.

Dan Hoyer thinks that the issue of democracy is secondary.

SocArXiv Papers | Multipath Forecasting: the Aftermath of the 2020 American Crisis
Our main goal is to construct a series of probabilistic scenarios of social breakdown and recovery. We called this approach—similar to ensemble forecasting in weather prediction—multipath forecasting (MPF). In this article I develop a “prototype” of the MPF engine with the goal of illustrating the utility a fully developed version may have. I first apply the computational model to the period of American history from the beginning of the nineteenth to the end of the twentieth century, with the goal of parameterizing the model and testing it against data. Then I use the parameterized model to forecast the dynamics of instability in the USA beyond 2020 and illustrate how the MPF engine can be used to explore the effects of different policy interventions.
Has a diagram showing relative wages in the US: a peak around 1830, then a trough in 1910, then a broad peak over 1940 - 1960, then a decline to ca. 1910 levels.

Also "youth bulges", showing a big peak for the baby boomers.

SocArXiv Papers | Decline and Fall, Growth and Spread, or Resilience? Approaches to Studying How and Why Societies Change
Here, I take stock of previous approaches to studying function – from growth and development to crisis and collapse to resilience – and ask what is the most fruitful lens with which to view fluctuations in how societies function and change over time, as this review essay attempts to accomplish.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
SocArXiv Papers | Flattening the Curve: Learning the lessons of world history to mitigate societal crises
The world is experiencing myriad crises, from global climate change to a major pandemic to runaway inequality, mass impoverishment, and rising sectarian violence. Such crises are not new, but have been recurrent features of past societies. Although these periods have typically led to massive loss of life, the failure of critical institutions, and even complete societal collapse, lessons can be learned from societies that managed to avoid the more devastating and destructive outcomes. Here, we present a preliminary analysis of outcomes from periods of crisis in 50 historical societies and examine closely four cases of averted crisis in world history, highlighting common features. A key observation is that the structural-demographic cycles that give rise to societal crises typically incorporate a ‘gilded age’ during which more future-minded governance could avert future crises. To accomplish more forward-thinking public policy, capable not just of ‘flattening the curve’, but of actually breaking the cycle that produces societal crises in the first place, we argue that systematic quantitative analysis of patterns in world history is a necessary first step.
Then a histogram of counts of crises with various bad consequences: 0: 3, 1: 7, 2: 8, 3: 26, 4: 20, 5: 17, 6: 9, 7: 4, 8: 6
Figure 2. Preliminary analysis of 100 historical societies and severity of outcomes from periods of crisis. See Appendix 2 for description of the cases. Each case is coded for 12 'consequences': 1. Population decline, 2. population collapse, 3. epidemic outbreak, 4. elite downward mobility, 5. extermination of elite groups, 6. major popular revolution, 7. civil war, 8. crisis lasting longer than a century, 9. political fragmentation, 10. destruction or conquest of polity capital, 11. polity conquest by external power, 12. assassin of ruler(s)

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Then discussing some cases of averted crises.
Republican Rome: Conflict of the Orders (494-287 BCE)

In 509 BCE the last King of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, was expelled. Rome became an aristocratic republic governed by a Senate made up of wealthy, land-owning men from prominent families, known as ‘patricians’. In 494 BCE, a group of non-patrician Romans occupied a hill north of the city to protest the burdens placed on ordinary citizens by the patrician elite. This became known as the first secession of the plebs (common citizen), which is often seen as the beginning of the Crisis of the Orders period.

The first succession signalled popular dissatisfaction with how the state was being run and the stranglehold on wealth, power, and opportunity held by Rome’s elite families. Rome’s citizens sought relief from the taxes and rents they owed on their lands and refused to fight for the state. The Senate, faced with rising hostilities from neighbours, particularly nearby Etruscan city-states, felt that the potential loss of soldiers was too great to bear. A new office, the tribune of the plebs, was created to represent the concerns of the majority in the Senate. This was enough to resolve the crisis, at least for a while. A century-long period of high tension and instability followed, and although there was some civil violence, a major revolution or civil war were avoided.
This arrangement lasted until the last decades of the 2nd cy. BCE, when the plebs started suffering from the same issues again, but this time, it was much worse. Rome suffered almost a century of civil war before Augustus Caesar decisively emerged on top, as a monarch in all but name.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
England: Chartist Movement: 1819-1867 CE

What we are calling the Chartist period in England begins in 1819 with the Peterloo riot, a massive popular protest demanding full male suffrage and improvement in working conditions, which was met with violent suppression and resulted in a number of deaths. The crisis lasted until 1867, when the franchise was extended to all male citizens. In between, several more riots and protests occurred while a series of labour laws and other reforms aimed at improving the living conditions for the urban working poor were passed. The period is named after the People’s Charter, a formal document of protestation signed in 1838 calling for these reforms.
Much better documented than ancient Rome, and one can get lots of good numbers.

Britain's elites were divided between supporting and opposing the reforms, and it took sustained activism to enact those reforms. But it is a virtue of democracy that it provides a mechanism for having such reforms.

Like the Roman Republic, with its expansion, Britain's empire building gave its citizens plenty of emigration opportunities, to other British Empire countries like Canada and Australia, and also to the now-independent North American colonies.

Russia: Reform Period: 1855-1881 CE

Under Tsar Alexander II (r. 1855-1881), major economic and social reforms were passed aimed at alleviating the poverty of Russia’s large population of enserfed labourers. Russia’s amelioration of unrest is the shortest-lived of those explored here. Alexander II’s reforms created as many tensions as they solved and he was assassinated in 1881 by a small, disaffected segment of the elite intelligentsia.
Russia had a revolution in 1905, and then in 1917. The 1905 one failed, but the 1917 one was cataclysmic, destroying the upper crust of society. The Bolsheviks murdered the royal family, and they and rebellious peasants murdered many aristocrats. The surviving ones either fled or suffered a big fall in social status. The 1917 revolution is one of the highest-scoring crises, with a score of 8, along with the French Revolution and some earlier crises.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
USA: Progressive Era: 1914-1939 CE

Typically the Progressive Era, named for the number of reforms passed during this time, is dated 1890–1914. This period is not typically described as a ‘crisis’, largely because, as we will see, many of the factors driving unrest through the nineteenth century had largely dissipated by this time. Here, we focus on the subsequent decades, marking this period as a crisis due to the signs of rising social tension along with the turmoil and violence that preceded further reforms in the 1920s and 1930s, detailed below.
The authors describe what happened before, from the mid-19th-cy. to WWI.
As in the major industrial centres of England, American industrial workers in the nineteenth century suffered harsh conditions, long hours and often unsafe and unregulated environments. Additionally, there were few legal protections for workers injured on the job, or anything to prevent employers from firing protestors or strikers and replacing them with non-union workers, supporting fairly high unemployment rates during the period. Thus, while the country’s economy grew and real wages increased, an even greater share went to the factory and railroad owners. Increasingly crowded cities and poor sanitation led to a
sharp decline in many key indicators of well-being during the late nineteenth century ((Turchin 2016); Figure A6.a). Popular immiseration was thus on the rise not only leading up to the Civil War, but even in its aftermath.

Elite overproduction is likewise apparent in the US case, as wealthy factory owners, merchants, rail barons, and other industrialists profited from the same conditions explored above that worked to drive down popular well-being. The economic gains made by this group produced more elites and elite aspirants. Enrollments in post-secondary education soared in the second half of the nineteenth century, while the number of millionaires and the size of fortunes likewise rose steadily ((Turchin 2016); Figure A6.b).

As elite fortunes and numbers grew, so did intra-elite competition. The most dramatic and significant illustration of this is, of course, the US Civil War. Though this war was bloody and decisive in many respects, it failed to fully allay tension between elites with very different visions for the country’s economic future.
Then noting that the Federal Government did not spend very much -- and did not raise as much in taxes as local and state governments did. So while the FG was solvent, it was not in a position to react to anything big.
All this led to a lengthy period of high political stress, from the 1850s to the start of the First World War. The Civil War, a major outpouring of intra-elite competition, only resolved the most extreme, violent outcomes of tension. The major underlying drivers – increasing immiseration among labourers in the industrial economy, rising elite numbers and fortunes, and a relatively weak, underfunded state – remained after fighting ceased. Indeed, instability continued to rise after the 1860s, cresting only in the early twentieth century (Figure 6). The 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s witnessed major protests, labour disruptions, and riots mostly involving factory and railroad workers. Through most of the nineteenth century federal and state governments largely sided with employers.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
This seems like a recipe for a civil war. But Civil War II didn't happen. The authors note the US willingness to enter WWI, a war which was a diversion from conditions at home, but that was only toward the end of it. President Woodrow Wilson famously proclaimed that the US was "too proud to fight" after the Germans sank the Lusitania, but after the Zimmermann telegram, he turned around and claimed that the US must make the world "safe for democracy".

They also note some improving social indicators of before the war.
After the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt took office and began to shift some of the government’s stance towards workers. In 1902, the federal government successfully mediated a labour dispute involving unionized coal miners in Pennsylvania, signalling at least a willingness to engage in compromise and recognizing the concerns of labour, though the government was careful to avoid being seen as explicitly acknowledging worker’s right to collective bargaining. A few years later, during Roosevelt’s last year in office in 1908, the Federal Employer’s Liability Act was passed, which provided a means for railroad workers injured on the job to seek compensation from employers. In 1910, unionized railroad workers won a work-day limited to no more than 10 hours and more protected wage scales. Although several major instances of popular uprising and violent protest occurred in the following decade, union membership continued to grow and the government slowly but surely loosened its stance against labour collectivization and action, culminating in the 1933 passing of the National Labour Relations Act.
Part of it was divisions in the elites themselves. "Indeed, by the early twentieth century many of the industrialists who had benefited from the lax rules regarding treatment of employees came to support many of the reforms workers had been calling for."

Also helpful was the curtailing of immigration in 1924, by using quota fractions from some decades earlier, when many more Nordics were immigrating. That was the time of Madison Grant, with his book "The Passing of the Great Race" about how the Nordic race was being overrun by non-Nordics.

Several of the country’s premiere Universities also imposed much stricter admissions standards in the 1920s (Calavita 2020; Domhoff and Webber 2011; Karabel 2005; Turchin 2016). Largely, these were driven on class and ethnic grounds, though the result was a similar curtailing of elite overproduction.
They wanted mostly upper-class White Anglo-Saxon Protestants and the like; upper-class Nordics.

Their response to Jews being very studious was that they wanted well-rounded students, those who did a lot of upper-class sports and the like.

#### DrZoidberg

##### Contributor
The UK doesn't have much of natural resources, they still managed to create the biggest empire in human history, simply by deciding that we're all better off if we let people sort themselves out as much possible.
Yesterday I noted an article (at Al-Jazeera?) claiming excess deaths in India were 100 million over the time-span of the Raj, besting the combined homicide tolls of Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin AND Hitler. GINI soared under the Raj with half of Indians getting only the barest minimum to sustain life.
So much for the British Empire being some anarchist utopia, which is what DrZoidberg implied that it was.

#### DrZoidberg

##### Contributor
We are today more educated and wiser than at any time prior in history. Just because you think people are dumb now, doesn't mean they were smarter before.

Science and education have advanced, yet Stupidism and other symptoms are still rampant, even among the "educated." Brexit and Trump are obvious examples where today's democracies seem not particularly "wise." Stupidism feeds on lies, and it is with modern communication that lies travel at breakneck speed.

I think it's just a result of the Internet. Before Internet journalists had immense power. Through weaving narratives in their publications they could simplify ideological conflicts to just a couple of issues. Essentially, journalists, who all lived in big cities, would meet at parties. It was a small community where everybody would meet everybody and talk things through, They had collectively total control of what we thought and valued about politics. But they were also a very specific group of people. They were urban, well educated, middle-class and privileged. So policies tended to benefit that group. This group lost their ability to control the public discourse.

What has happened since is that people who traditionally have been locked out of having a public voice, have now been given a voice. So it's the voices of rural, working class, non-privilged and/or non-educated. I don't see it as a problem that they have now been given clout and a political voice. These people's opinions used to be covered by some journalists LARPing their democrafic. While now they get to speak with their own voice. I don't see them as necessarily stupid. I just see them as having other priorities in life than me, (urban, white, well educated, middle-class and middle-aged). I'm totally cool with my group having lost some power.

I think the rurals, who are predominantly conservative, have been force fed progressive values for decades, by their liberal journalist representatives. They're now reacting to this, and we see that reflected in government policies.

I'm a progressive liberal. But I'm also for democracy. I don't want my values forced upon anyone. I don't want anyone's values forced onto anyone. I think conservatives also have a right to be heard.

#### Swammerdami

Staff member
Science and education have advanced, yet Stupidism and other symptoms are still rampant, even among the "educated." Brexit and Trump are obvious examples where today's democracies seem not particularly "wise." Stupidism feeds on lies, and it is with modern communication that lies travel at breakneck speed.

I think it's just a result of the Internet. Before Internet journalists had immense power.

Two points:

(1) You ignore my point that politics once was primarily LOCAL. A farmer was interested in how a politician's policies affected his farm. Local schools were an issue. Largely ignored was crap like lies about Hunter Biden's laptop. Voters are wll informed when the focus is on local issues.

(2) Journalists reported to editors and publishers. They, in turn, were influenced by advertisers. An "elite" had great influence. with journalists their investigative branch.

Some members of the "elite" favor policies to make the rich richer. Other "elites" have more progressive humanitarian values. Provided that information channels are not swamped with lies, citizens may be able to make good guesses about which sort of "elite" is speaking to them.

... journalists ... had collectively total control of what we thought and valued about politics. But they were also a very specific group of people. They were urban, well educated, middle-class and privileged. So policies tended to benefit that group. This group lost their ability to control the public discourse.

What has happened since is that people who traditionally have been locked out of having a public voice, have now been given a voice. So it's the voices of rural, working class, non-privilged and/or non-educated. I don't see it as a problem that they have now been given clout and a political voice. ...

Your ideas may have merit in Scandinavia — I don't know. But in the U.S.A. the average voter is surprisingly ignorant and stupid and 49% of voters are even stupider than that! Hitler came to power democratically in the early 1930's; today's American voters may be even stupider than those Germans.

I suppose the average IQ is 100+, and much of the stupidity manifests itself only on political topics. I have a smart friend who composes music, operates a business, and built a good App, but he thinks that Covid cases are ordinary flu, that magnets prove that Covid vaccines are malicious bots. Obama was born in Kenya, the FedRes is a scam that should be abolished, etc. Remember: This is a smart guy! (His village got hit hard with Covid-19, with him and his family refusing to vaccinate or wear masks; they all got seriously sick. "I guess it was a bad flu" he told me, evidently refusing to take the $3 test.) People will call me elitist for saying so, but DrZ's perspective turns America over to the FauxPotato/QAnon crowd and has bad consequences. Within the decade I'm afraid this will be proven all-too-true. #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum I suppose the average IQ is 100+ The average IQ of a population is exactly 100, by definition. People with an IQ of 100 are pretty unintelligent, and exactly half of the population are less intelligent than that. #### Elixir ##### Made in America Warning Level 1 The average IQ of a population is exactly 100, by definition. That always seemed simple to understand. If you could IQ test an entire population, the average score Would be designated IQ100. But what constitutes a population? A country’s total inhabitants? The world’s? Including age-adjustments or only adult scores? If only adult scores, what’s an adult? If not, what is the age adjustment algorithm? IQ is meaningless except as a measure of an individual’s ability to perform on IQ tests. But the stupidity of the average human is a self evident objective reality that doesn’t need to be quantified. #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum The average IQ of a population is exactly 100, by definition. That always seemed simple to understand. If you could IQ test an entire population, the average score Would be designated IQ100. But what constitutes a population? A country’s total inhabitants? The world’s? Including age-adjustments or only adult scores? If only adult scores, what’s an adult? If not, what is the age adjustment algorithm? IQ is meaningless except as a measure of an individual’s ability to perform on IQ tests. But the stupidity of the average human is a self evident objective reality that doesn’t need to be quantified. A population is whatever the individual researcher is interested in. A large fraction of studies are done on entire nations, or the entire world, and so there's a tendency to think of 'population' always referring to those groups; But it's perfectly legitimate to define a population in any way that suits your research - and no matter how you define a population, that population has members each with their own IQ, and with an average IQ of 100. #### Elixir ##### Made in America Warning Level 1 it's perfectly legitimate to define a population in any way that suits your research Exactly. And that’s one thing that makes IQ scales and tropes fertile ground for bigotry. #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum it's perfectly legitimate to define a population in any way that suits your research Exactly. And that’s one thing that makes IQ scales and tropes fertile ground for bigotry. Certainly IQ is useless for making comparisons between populations. Each population has its own distinct IQ range, So the average IQ of professors and the average IQ of ditch-diggers is 100 in each case, but that tells you nothing about which population is generally more or less intelligent than the other. If we measured height this way, the average Harlem Globe-Trotter would have a height quotient of 100, and the average member of Snow White's entourage would also have a height quotient of 100. If Dopey has an HQ of 120, he still likely isn't as tall in an absolute sense as the shortest basketballer. #### lpetrich ##### Contributor More on the ginkgo model of crisis. US elites' willingness to compromise saved them from the fate of the elites of Tsarist Russia. Advancing to the Great Depression, "Indeed, several scholars have pointed out that the Depression era in the US saw as many advances in life quality and societal stability as disruptions, especially compared with the experience of other affected nations such as France, Italy, and Germany (Bernanke 2000; Smiley 2002; Terkel 2011)." Then discussing "Discussion: Can We Flatten Curves and Break Cycles?" Something like Isaac Asimov's story Nightfall, where some astronomers work out that the civilization-destroying disasters that their world suffers is the result of people craving light in a long eclipse. So they start an effort to break the cycle, by passing on their findings. "The more pessimistic interpretation stresses the role of somewhat exogenous factors in minimizing the severity of outcome." In all four cases, the polity had expanded its territory before suffering its crisis, and sometimes during and after it. The expansions provided places for disaffected citizens to go to, and having to fight wars means that the elites have to care for the common people to get them to fight. "The more hopeful take is to focus on the success of institutional reforms in restoring popular well-being and alleviating tension in all four cases." Then going into the reforms of Republican Rome, Victorian Britain, Alexander-II Russia, and New-Deal US. "These reforms all led to meaningful improvements in well-being for large segments of the populace, reducing popular immiseration." Last edited: #### lpetrich ##### Contributor "As noted above, the ability of certain elites to foresee the imminent crisis, or at least recognize that the society was unstable and not adequately providing for the well-being of all members, stands out as critical as well." But other elites were not willing to do much, and that led to disasters like the French Revolution. "Conversely, in the four examples described above, a substantial proportion of those in power supported such stabilizing reforms, even at the cost of forgoing some of their wealth and advantages." They need to do that relatively early, in the stagflation or early crisis stages, otherwise it becomes much more difficult, like elites being too hostile to each other and a state being starved of revenue. The state must be involved, either by spending programs (Britain, US), or by redistribution of wealth and resources (Rome, Russia). Sometimes the reforms are not good enough to stop later disaster, like for Rome and Russia. Foresight is important. In the stagflation phase, it is evident that trouble is upcoming, but the state is still well-financed and the elites are not too hostile to each other. But that is also the time when the elites' wealth increases the most, thus giving them an incentive to continue heading toward the crisis phase. There also is a dark side to the resilience that these societies displayed through periods of crisis. Namely, the reforms enacted and gains made in alleviating popular immiseration in all four cases were relatively incremental. The appeasement of popular unrest while maintaining many of the structures that supported elite wealth and privilege may be seen as a missed opportunity for more dramatic systemic change. Like in Rome and Russia. #### Tigers! ##### Veteran Member I'm a progressive liberal. But I'm also for democracy. I don't want my values forced upon anyone. I don't want anyone's values forced onto anyone. I think conservatives also have a right to be heard. Quite the radical aren't you. Good for you. #### DrZoidberg ##### Contributor Science and education have advanced, yet Stupidism and other symptoms are still rampant, even among the "educated." Brexit and Trump are obvious examples where today's democracies seem not particularly "wise." Stupidism feeds on lies, and it is with modern communication that lies travel at breakneck speed. I think it's just a result of the Internet. Before Internet journalists had immense power. Two points: (1) You ignore my point that politics once was primarily LOCAL. A farmer was interested in how a politician's policies affected his farm. Local schools were an issue. Largely ignored was crap like lies about Hunter Biden's laptop. Voters are wll informed when the focus is on local issues. I don't know about that. We're all myopic. We care about what's in our bank account. I don't think that has changed. What has changed is the world political stage. What kinds of stuff impacts our bank account. Economic globalism is a major driver of world economy now. Back in the day we were more focused on how to refine stuff we've extracted from the colonies. Voters are well informed about stuff immediately relevant to them. Nothing else. They may say they care about other stuff. But our knowledge of stuff not immediately relevant will always be shallow. The biggest lesson in this was from when I was 18 and had a girlfriend from a farmer family. Well and truly rurals. It became apparent that there was just so many opinions of my middle-class urban friends (also of me) which were based on complete fantasies of rural life. And the rurals held many opinions about urban life which also were equally ill informed. Another good example is environmentalism and global warming. People are talking so much shit about this. So much. Why? Because it's not immediately relevant to anyone. So we barely spend any time reading up on it. We just skim something fast and then act in forums as if we have a clue. (2) Journalists reported to editors and publishers. They, in turn, were influenced by advertisers. An "elite" had great influence. with journalists their investigative branch. Some members of the "elite" favor policies to make the rich richer. Other "elites" have more progressive humanitarian values. Provided that information channels are not swamped with lies, citizens may be able to make good guesses about which sort of "elite" is speaking to them. ... journalists ... had collectively total control of what we thought and valued about politics. But they were also a very specific group of people. They were urban, well educated, middle-class and privileged. So policies tended to benefit that group. This group lost their ability to control the public discourse. What has happened since is that people who traditionally have been locked out of having a public voice, have now been given a voice. So it's the voices of rural, working class, non-privilged and/or non-educated. I don't see it as a problem that they have now been given clout and a political voice. ... Your ideas may have merit in Scandinavia — I don't know. But in the U.S.A. the average voter is surprisingly ignorant and stupid and 49% of voters are even stupider than that! Hitler came to power democratically in the early 1930's; today's American voters may be even stupider than those Germans. I suppose the average IQ is 100+, and much of the stupidity manifests itself only on political topics. I have a smart friend who composes music, operates a business, and built a good App, but he thinks that Covid cases are ordinary flu, that magnets prove that Covid vaccines are malicious bots. Obama was born in Kenya, the FedRes is a scam that should be abolished, etc. Remember: This is a smart guy! (His village got hit hard with Covid-19, with him and his family refusing to vaccinate or wear masks; they all got seriously sick. "I guess it was a bad flu" he told me, evidently refusing to take the$3 test.)

People will call me elitist for saying so, but DrZ's perspective turns America over to the FauxPotato/QAnon crowd and has bad consequences. Within the decade I'm afraid this will be proven all-too-true.

I somehow doubt Scandinavians are on average smarter than Americans. Much like USA, Scandinavia is an anti-intellectual culture. Mastering poetry and philosophy, among people at large, is not something that has high status. While Kim Kardassian's ass and football seems to be very important. The main difference, as I see it, between Americans and Scandinavians is that Scandinavians love being obedient while Americans love the sound of their own voice. So Americans will say dumber things. But we seem to vote for about as stupid things. I think both people are mostly stupid. Our leaders are stupid. We get upset about dumb things. We vote for dumb things.

#### Swammerdami

Staff member
I'm bookmarking lpetrich's post for the next time some moron writes "Blah blah blah both parties are to blame."

Here's what Newt Gingrich was like.
About three weeks after his election as whip, Mr. Gingrich called me into his office. He asked whether I was having dinner with Democrats. I was, I said: A colleague from Tennessee and I were hosting fellow freshman members for dinner regularly to share experiences. Mr. Gingrich demanded that I stop; he didn’t want Republicans consorting with Democrats.

I responded — not overly politely — that I was from Vermont and nobody told me what people I could eat with. But his demand was a harbinger of the decline of moderate and liberal Republicans. (Mr. Gingrich told The Times he did not recall the meeting, but noted that he was working to unify the Republican caucus at the time.)

What followed over the next few years was the deliberate quarantining of Republicans from Democrats: separate orientations for new members, a sharp curtailing of bipartisan activities and an increasing insistence that members toe the party line. The very idea of “voting your district” — which was alive and well when I was elected — became anathema within the Republican caucus. Simultaneously, the weaponization of the evangelical religious right and the organization of wealthy conservative donors was going on, largely behind the scenes, with money and organizing often used against moderate Republicans as well as Democrats.
Then the Republican Party started promising their base lots of things that they could not deliver or else would not want to deliver, things like cutting taxes, eliminating the deficit, reducing federal regulations, banning abortion, and cracking down on LGBTQ rights.

"As Republican voters and nominees adopted an increasingly extreme agenda, even a Republican Congress could not produce the results they had promised." and "These failures drove a further rightward shift that resulted in the rise of the Tea Party."

Some Northeastern Republicans were still moderate, like Sen. Jim Jeffords of VT, who became an Independent, and Sen. Olympia Snowe of ME. She favored "governing" over "controlling".

"But even in New England, long a bastion of liberal and moderate Republicanism, moderates are now losing in Republican primaries." and "There have been a few moderate and liberal Republican success stories, but they are anomalies, peculiar to the person or the situation." - like former Republican governors Larry Hogan of MD and Charlie Baker of MA, leaving only Phil Scott of VT and Chris Sununu of NH.
I believe that the current attempts to overthrow our democratic traditions will fail, but we must understand the successes produced by the right wing’s focus on control at all costs over governing.

Beyond Mr. Trump’s election, those successes include the numerous right-wing ideologues confirmed to federal judgeships, a major effort to restrict voting rights, the increasing presence of dark money in politics, the elimination of abortion rights and a lack of critical progress in combating the global climate crisis.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
The ginkgo-model authors conclude that further work is necessary, like studying crisis phases in more detail, including cases of societies averting crises.

I've also found SocArXiv Papers | Structural-Demographic Analysis of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912) Collapse in China
This paper analyzes the collapse of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) through the lens of the Structural Demographic Theory (SDT), a general framework for understanding the drivers of socio-political instability in state-level societies. Although a number of competing ideas for the collapse have been proposed, none provide a comprehensive explanation that incorporates the interaction of all the multiple drivers involved. We argue that the four-fold population explosion during the 19th century, the competition for a stagnant number of elite positions, and increasing state fiscal stress combined to produce an increasingly disgruntled populace and elite, leading to significant internal rebellions. We find that while neither the ecological disasters nor the foreign incursions witnessed during the 19th century were sufficient on their own to bring down the Qing, when coupled with the rising internal socio-political stresses, they produced a rapid succession of triggering events that culminated in the Qing collapse.

I looked in SocArXiv Papers for a structural-demographic analysis of the Byzantine Empire, without success. I also looked in Google Scholar - nothing there either.

Though I found Retrodicting the rise, spread, and fall of large-scale states in the Old World | PLOS ONE
Nevertheless, in spite of various technological advances throughout the period, the modeled creation and spread of new agrarian states is a fundamental consequence of state collapse and internal civil wars triggered by rising ‘demographic-structural’ pressures that occur when state territorial growth is checked yet (warrior elite) population growth continues. Together the model’s underlying mechanisms substantially account for the number of states, their duration, location, spread rate, overall occupied area, and total population size for three thousand years.
So one can do a reasonably good job of modeling the rise and fall of preindustrial polities, overall even if not in full detail.