colinneagle writes "Historian Peter Turchin, who studies population dynamics at the University of Connecticut, has assumed the role of the world's biggest bummer with his recent prediction that widespread violence will erupt worldwide sometime around the year 2020, as profiled in this recent feature in Nature. What has many people worried is that he's backing up this premonition with a mathematical formula, known as cliodynamics.
Turchin is credited with coining the term cliodynamics, which is the study of historical mathematical data like population figures and global economic performance to identify patterns of similar behavior. Turchin's studies point to a cycle in which society at large becomes engulfed in widespread violence every 50 years.
The current pattern dates back at least to 1870, when economic disparity in the U.S. led to urban violence, and follows the 50-year cycle to the anti-Communist fervor and race riots around 1920, followed by the political assassinations, terrorist attacks and domestic violence in 1970, Turchin told Nature. By that logic, Turchin believes we should circle the year 2020 on our calendars as the year when we start locking our doors."
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