Does history really repeat? If so, how, and why? We discussed the "fourth turning" on a previous episode of MindMatters. According to Strauss and Howe, the United States has entered a time of crisis which could see societal collapse, revolution, or war. However, their theory has its problems. While suggestive on the descriptive level, it has not been scientifically supported. Enter Peter Turchin.

Today we continue our discussion of historical cycles by looking at cliodynamics, a field of study pioneered by Turchin. Turchin's work gives scientific support to the idea that cycles are an essential feature of civilization. Empires rise and fall. Periods of stagnation and crisis end in war, revolution, and collapse. These trends, and the factors that determine them, can be measured and modeled. And all the indicators show that the U.S. has indeed entered a time of crisis, along with Europe - on par with the conditions that led to the American Civil War.

Today on MindMatters we discuss the outlines of Turchin's work, how it applies to American history, and what it might mean for the future.

Running Time: 01:20:48

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