Can We Stop Societal Breakdown? | How To Academy



Wed, 7 June 2023

6:00 pm - 7:15 pm BST

Can We Stop Societal Breakdown?

Oxford complexity scientist Peter Turchin

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What leads to political turbulence and social breakdown? Is there any way to stop history repeating itself today? Peter Turchin has mined 10,000 years of data to find the answer.

Peter Turchin has pioneered a new science of making history predictable – by applying methods that had already succeeded in other complex fields. You’ll want to know what he sees lying ahead, and what we can do about it — Jared Diamond

For decades, complexity scientist Peter Turchin has been studying world history like no-one else, analysing data and building new models from ten millennia of human activity.

Now he joins us to present his results: nothing less than a klaxon call to prevent a violent political rupture that threatens to upend life and society as we know it.

In this live event, he will present a ground-breaking account of how human societies work, explaining how, when the shifting balance of power between the ruling class and the majority tips too far in favour of elites, elite overproduction leads to state breakdown. It happened in imperial China, in medieval France, in the American Civil War – and it is happening now.

Can we restore the balance between the elites and the majority and escape the patterns of the past? Or is catastrophic breakdown now inevitable? Find out in this unmissable live talk.

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Peter Turchin

Complexity Scientist

Peter Turchin is Project Leader at the Complexity Science Hub in Vienna, Research Associate at University of Oxford, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Connecticut. Trained as a theoretical biologist, he is now working in the field of historical social science that he and his colleagues call Cliodynamics. Currently his main research effort is directed at coordinating CrisisDB, a massive historical database of societies sliding into a crisis – and then emerging from it. His books include Ultrasociety and Ages of Discord.

Paul van Zyl

Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, The Conduit Club

Co-Founder of The Conduit and Chief Creative Officer, Paul is a winner of the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

He served as the Executive Secretary of South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission and co-founded the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), an international human rights organisation based in New York City.