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9.23.20
Nailed It

A 2010 Scientific Paper Predicted That 2020 Would Be a Shitshow

June 11th 20__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Hard Science
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Paging Nostradamus

The year 2020 has heralded a seemingly endless onslaught of political, economic, and societal chaos.

But surprisingly, one scientist predicted our particularly hellish year a full decade ago. University of Connecticut researcher Peter Turchin published an article in the journal Nature, back in 2010, in which he predicted that social and economic turmoil would come to a boiling point in or around 2020.

Convergence Point

Turchin, who studies math, ecology and evolutionary biology, and anthropology at the University of Connecticut, identified multiple cycles of economic growth and turmoil, rises in public debt, and disgruntled 20-somethings — all of which were set to converge this year in the U.S.

“Quantitative historical analysis reveals that complex human societies are affected by recurrent — and predictable — waves of political instability,” Turchin wrote in the paper.

History Repeats

Turchin identified 50-year cycles in political instability and 40 to 60-year cycles of economic growth and turmoil, called Kondratiev waves, that suggested particularly severe recessions were coming. To be fair, he didn’t guess that a deadly pandemic would also happen at the same time.

“Records show that societies can avert disaster,” Turchin wrote. “We need to find ways to ameliorate the negative effects of globalization on people’s well-being. Economic inequality, accompanied by burgeoning public debt, can be addressed by making tax rates more progressive. And we should not expand our system of higher education beyond the ability of the economy to absorb university graduates.”

READ MORE: Political instability may be a contributor in the coming decade [Nature]

More future predictions: Futurist Predicts “The End of the World as we Know it”