Browsing All posts tagged under »structural-demographic«

Andrey Korotayev: Anatomy of the Egyptian Counterrevolution

March 25, 2014 by

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Our young Egyptian friends (a sort of “leftist liberal revolutionaries”) consider the post-July 3 events in their country [the ousting of president Morsi by the military] as “counterrevolution”. An example of a “counter-revolutionary”  broadsheet from the website of the Egyptian Socialist-Revolutionaries. The text says: “Down with your constitution! Down with your laws! Down with your […]

Wealth and Democracy in Ukraine II

March 18, 2014 by


In my previous blog I came to the conclusion that during its post-Soviet history Ukraine has become a Kevin Philips nightmare. No matter who gets elected there, they are either oligarchs, or oligarch stooges. It appears that the oligarchs not only control the parties that compete against each other during the elections, the Ukrainian billionaires […]

Wealth and Democracy in Ukraine

March 11, 2014 by


The title of today’s blog echoes the influential book, Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich, published by the American political commentator Kevin Phillips in 2002. It’s a great book. Among other things, Philips came up with a way to quantify the dynamics of economic inequality for historical eras for which we […]

Economic Inequality, Elite Overproduction, and the Unraveling of Cooperation

March 9, 2014 by

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I just gave a live interview about my research to Left Jab Radio. For those listeners who are interested in the background of what I was discussing, I am reposting here the list of blogs that are most relevant to the issues of elite overproduction, inequality, and political instability. Elite Overproduction, Inequality, and Discord The […]

Why Is the Cost of Running for Office Exploding?

November 26, 2013 by


The original text of the opinion piece on intraelite competition that I sent to Bloomberg Opinion grew to almost twice the length when it was finally published. The two editors kept asking me to expand on some points and to provide supplementary evidence on others. Not all of this ended up in the article. One […]

How Elite Overproduction Brings Disorder

November 20, 2013 by


Today published my opinion piece in which I analyze the connection between economic inequality and political instability. It starts: Complex human societies, including our own, are fragile. They are held together by an invisible web of mutual trust and social cooperation. This web can fray easily, resulting in a wave of political instability, internal […]

Bimodal Lawyers: How Extreme Competition Breeds Extreme Inequality

November 10, 2013 by


One of the most important ideas that I am trying to inject into the debate about the consequences of growing inequality on American society is ‘elite overproduction’. I use the sociological definition of elites: it’s the small proportion of the population (typically 1-2 percent) that concentrate power in their hands. In other words, these are […]

Below the Surface: the Structural-Demographic Roots of the Current Political Crisis

October 16, 2013 by


The latest news from Washington is that there is a compromise in the making that would allow the government to raise the debt limit. But even if an eleventh hour agreement is reached tonight, it is clear to everybody that there will be more budget battles to fight in the months to come. As I […]

More on Labor Supply (Why Real Wages Stopped Growing V)

April 21, 2013 by


The previous blog in this series showed that a simple three-factorial model can reproduce very faithfully the long-term dynamics of real wages. The model not only explains why the real wages stopped growing in the late 1970s, but also (surprisingly) the ups and downs since 1980. Furthermore, the model predicts the real wage five years […]

Putting It All Together (Why Real Wages Stopped Growing IV)

April 15, 2013 by


Previous installments in this series posed the question and examined potential components of an answer: first, long-term trend in GDP and labor demand and supply curves, next, cultural influences. It is time to put it all together and analyze quantitatively the relative contributions, if any, of the three factors. What I will do now is […]

Scientific Prediction ≠ Prophecy

April 12, 2013 by


Yesterday Wired published an article by Klint Finley, Mathematicians Predict the Future With Data From the Past. Apart from a couple of minor details Klint does a good job explaining the goals and the methods of Cliodynamics. However, he (or his editor; it is almost always editors who come up with titles) couldn’t resist injecting […]

A Proxy for Non-Market Forces (Why Real Wages Stopped Growing III)

April 11, 2013 by


Previous blogs in this series asked why real wages stopped growing in the 1970s and whether long-term trend in labor demand and supply can help us answer this question. In this blog I turn to ‘extra-economic’ (non-market) factors, which are even harder to quantify than economic ones. Non-market forces potentially affecting real wages include a […]

The End of Prosperity: Why Did Real Wages Stop Growing in the 1970s?

April 4, 2013 by


Something happened in the 1970s. Take a look at this graphic: During most of the 20th century—until the 1970s—wages of American workers grew much faster than inflation. In the half-century after 1927 real wages of unskilled labor increased by a factor of 3.5, while wages of manufacturing workers, expressed in inflation-adjusted dollars, increased 4-fold. Then […]

The Double Helix of Inequality and Well-Being

February 8, 2013 by


The on-line magazine Aeon today published an article of mine on why economic inequality tends to wax and wane in very long (‘secular’) cycles, and what consequences it has for the society. One of the central ideas in the article was that general well-being (that is, of the overwhelming majority of population) tends to move […]

Canaries in a Coal Mine IV: Alternative Explanations

December 20, 2012 by


This is the fourth and last installment in this series. To tell the truth, I will be glad to be done with it because shooting rampages is an inherently depressing subject, in more ways than one. However, it is also an important one. Today I need to review the alternative explanations of the pattern I […]

Bryan Vila: A Criminologist Comments on ‘Canaries in a Coal Mine’

December 18, 2012 by


Hello Peter, I’ve read the blog post and think it’s an interesting and well-presented idea. But before the evolutionary-ecologist/criminologist/historian in me could accept this as plausible, I’d want to account for three sets of causal forces. Here they are, in rough: I. Theoretical construct: Opportunity/Routine Activity: Any type of criminal act will tend to increase […]

Canaries in a Coal Mine III. Is the Trend Real?

December 17, 2012 by


Yesterday’s blog explained that the seemingly ‘senseless,’ ‘random’ nature of most shooting rampages is not senseless at all. Instead, the shooter is motivated by the logic of ‘social substitutability.’ In other words, random mass shootings are a variety of suicide terrorism. The aim of the terrorist is not to kill a specific person, but an […]

Canaries in a Coal Mine II. “We too are asking why”

December 16, 2012 by


We now  know the identity of the killer in the Sandy Hook School Massacre but are still in the dark about why he did it. Police said that they had found “very good evidence” which would answer questions about the motives of the gunman, but they haven’t yet released this evidence. As I said yesterday, […]

Canaries in a Coal Mine

December 15, 2012 by


This morning a horrible tragedy shook Newtown, a small town in Connecticut just 70 miles from where I live. An as yet unidentified gunman (there are conflicting reports of his identity) went on shooting rampage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing nearly thirty people, most of them children. We may never find out what […]

Does History Cycle?

December 5, 2012 by


In the Economist’s World in 2013 issue there is an article, The Cycle of History (thanks to John McGonagle for bringing it to my attention). The author, Max Rodenbeck, discusses the recent events of the Arab Spring from the point of view of Ibn Khaldun’s theory. Ibn Khaldun, as many of my readers know, was […]


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