Expert: The United States Is In a More Dangerous Position Than Russia

Renowned researcher Peter Turchin predicts that the 2020s will likely  “be a period of growing instability in the United States and western Europe”. He has previously predicted in his models that instability could increase “around 2020”.

According to a Financial Times report, Turchin believes that his initial forecast was not just a year of instability. He currently argues that “these periods of high instability typically last many years. Five years is short; 10 to 15 years is the most typical length,” he says now.

The researcher argues that intra-elite competition is so intense that conflict will inevitably kick off. When there are too many elites and finite political power, political unrest generally ensues. 

“What brings down the states is intra-elite infighting,” Turchin said. Trump stated is “the counter-elite.” The ruling class is “really throwing everything at him”, commented Turchin, alluding to the multiple  lawsuits Trump is being subjected to.

“The question is whether there’s going to be a macro-violence outbreak.” With respect to macro-violence, Turchin is referring to civil war, revolution, political fragmentation, territorial disintegration or foreign invasion. “In 10 to 15 per cent of cases, when societies get into these crises, they do avoid [macro-violence] . . . My prediction is not 100 per cent that we’re going to get one of those things.”

Turchin posits that societies operate on a cycle of integration (cohesion) followed up by disintegration, which ends up in a crisis. The cycle resumes every 200 years. 

“A couple of generations pass from a previous time of trouble. Elites forget about that and start reconfiguring the economy in ways that favor themselves.”

To predict moments of political instability, Turchin keeps tabs on trends such as the size of the elite, the level of partisanship and the ratio of the median wage to gross domestic product per capita, all catalysts of popular unrest. According to Turchin’s research, the trends have worsened in two instances: prior to the American Civil War and since the 1970s.

The Russian-born researcher argues that violence takes place in 50 year cycles in the US. For example, 1870, 1920, 1970, and 2020 are the years that Turchin cites that lend credence to this theory.  

Turchin is of the view that Americans “grossly underestimate the fragility of the complex society in which we live.” 

When it comes to which country is closer to a macro-breakdown, Turchin stated that the US in a more precarious situation. In his view, external pressures — NATO encroachments on Russia’s traditional sphere of influence and Western sanctions imposed on it —have largely unified Russia. Moreover, Turchin pointed out that Russia has a ratio of workers to vacancies that is “very favorable to workers” owing to how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, compelled people to leave the country or be conscripted into the army, while fewer immigrants came to the country and industrial production surged.

Turchin viewed Wagner PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed coup as “a good stress test. Everybody was against him. Without doubt, the United States is in a much more perilous state right now.” 

As for what the US will look like under a Biden or Trump presidency, Turchin contends that there won’t be much of a difference in terms of their performance because “neither of them are going to shut down the wealth pump.” Biden’s support for labor unions is “important because one way to help to shut down the wealth pump is to give more power to workers”. He added, “But he [Biden] hasn’t managed to raise the minimum wage or to control immigration.”

Turchin is one of the sharpest political minds of our epoch. His analysis of politics should be listened to and taken into account. 

The US is venturing unchartered water in its political history. Having someone like Turchin talk about big picture issues is very necessary in this fight to restore sanity  to our politics and ultimately prevent a civilization collapse. 

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