Scientist predicted current U.S. protests and riots in 2010, says civil unrest may last 10-15 years

MOSCOW, Russia — The outbreak of civil unrest and rioting in many cities this year may seem like a spontaneous reaction to social issues, but one study says there’s nothing spontaneous about them. Despite the fact that the vast majority of protesters are demonstrating peacefully, scenes of looting and violence still mar these protests that are meant to be non-violent. One scientist is being credited with predicting in 2010 the turmoil being seen across the globe today.

Using an innovative mathematical theory, researchers say they can show when countries will face social and political unrest. In the United States, they say violent surges occur every 50 years and this one is tragically right on time.

Peter Turchin, a Russian-American scientist from the University of Connecticut, used the structural-demographic theory (SDT) to accurately predict the increasing protests in the U.S. and western Europe throughout the 2010s. In a new paper in the journal PLoS ONE, Turchin and co-author Andrey Korotayev look back at how math can actually forecast future events.

A 50-year cycle of unrest?

Trends in anti-government demonstrations (green) and riots (dark red) in the USA from 1946–2018.
(Credit: P. Turchin, A. Korotayev / PLoS ONE)

To come up with these predictions, scientists first create a historical theory. Several factors are then calculated and a specific prediction is produced. Researchers then compare these social forecasts to real historical events to tweak and fine-tune future results.

The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, is an unpredictable event. Yet Turchin, a specialist in cliodynamics, the mathematical modeling of socio-historical processes, finds the protests and social conflicts spilling into American streets happen at regular intervals throughout history. The original 2010 study reveals outbursts of violence in the 1870s, 1920s, and 1970s. These 50-year cycles reach a crisis point as society becomes increasingly unstable, which the forecast seems to be accurately predicting for 2020. Disturbingly, the cliodynamics expert says these periods of social turmoil can last between 10 and 15 years.

How can you turn society into a math equation?

SDT was developed by American sociologist and historian Jack Goldstone. Using math, the theory was first applied to historical processes in order to see which forces interact and lead to riots, revolutions, and civil wars.

Goldstone’s work establishes that every major social and political movement, like revolutions, take place after a surge in births. As families have more children, the population quickly exceeds the country’s ability to take care of everyone. The standard of living drops and civil unrests begins.

While overpopulation causes daily life to crumble, the model says the financial and social elite begin taking sides. Some of these people will side with protesters against the current social system they have prospered in while others continue supporting the government. Goldstone’s models show all these factors end with an eruption of violence and even civil war in some nations.

Turchin and Russian scientists are now using this work to develop models looking at how the future will play out. These forecasts focus on four major factors:

  • The state (size of the government, GDP, debts, the legitimacy of power)
  • Population (its size, age demographics, level of urbanization, average wages, social optimism)
  • The “elites” (their population, their sources of income, their internal competition and social norms)
  • Instability (radical ideologies, terrorist or revolutionary movements, acts of public violence)

After boiling all these factors down, they produce the “political stress indicator.” Researchers say their studies find this key measure was off the charts right before key historical events like the French Revolution, English Civil War, and crisis within the Ottoman Empire.

What does this mean for 2020 and beyond?

The study points out that their models show that in both the United States and United Kingdom social unrest is reaching a point far worse than the last period 50 years ago. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely increasing this intensity.

Turchin and his team report that epidemics often occur during times of social instability. These epidemics impact the most vulnerable communities and further trigger the public to take to the streets in frustration.

They add, using these tools, scientists can review current policies which are leading to social unrest. Making reforms before a crisis arrives, cliodynamics may actually help politicians prevent future predictions from becoming present day disasters.

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  1. Prudent citizens have armed themselves, learned how to use their weapon and ALWAYS carry a hollow point surprise…be prudent!

  2. Civil unrest in the form of peaceful demonstrations must be tolerated. Rioting, looting , burning et al MUST not. Evilly intended miscreants mix amongst concerned people whose throngs enable them to get close to their targets whereupon they then practice their criminal acts. The intimate presence of the sincere demonstrators places THEM in jeopardy of injury should law enforcement employment stringent measures to halt the criminality so they refrain from using and and literal societal ruination occurs unabated.
    Since darkness is the miscreants ‘friend’. most of their filthy acts occur after nightfall. Therefore, a curfew- enforced by an overwhelming force of law officers- must be instituted. Any and all individuals out and about after dark will be subjected to forced identification and explanation as to what their business is. Those unable to prove residence and/or honest intent will be subject to detention and arrest. Weaponry of any kind whatsoever will be banned and its possessors detained. That way, the thugs imported by evilly intended politicians will be thwarted along with local ferral, scum.

  3. I am sure the people will wake up to the politician and unionized government employee crime and and find they do not serve the public and take the problem of lawlessness and destruction into their own hands

  4. That explains why firearms sales are through the roof. People are arming up to get rid of these democrat party storm troopers. When the shooting starts, I guess it will be like the last Civil War, started by the democrats and put down by republicans and patriots.

  5. Democrats are still rioting, looting, burning, and killing.

    Once Democrats are stopped the nation can and will heal.

  6. Sorry, no. Isaac Asimov came up with the concept in the 40s. It was then compiled into a book titled “Foundation” in 1951.

  7. RE Segregation is the only answer.
    Forced integration has become a cancer

    You go your way and I’ll go mine
    That’s the only remedy to violent crime

    Change the 14th Amendments to suit
    Before all of America becomes Beirut

  8. According to this article, excess population is the primary driver, and can occur through means other than births, such as the excess legal and illegal migration in Europe and the US

  9. “Making reforms before a crisis arrives, cliodynamics may actually help politicians prevent future predictions from becoming present day disasters.”

    Ah, and there lies the rub, the crisis will be prevented by the “politicians”, the very people who are most likely responsible for the crisis. Good luck with that one.

    And it seems to me that the syfy writers predicted the rise of cliodynamics years ago.

  10. Why is it that so many other racial and ethnic groups come to America (or are in America) and don’t seem to have the “difficulties” experienced by this one racial group? Others (who immigrate to America) all suffer some degree of “discrimination” early on (first generation, or so); but, in the end, meld into a rich fabric of a society that has always been called (and rightly so) the great melting pot. Not seemingly so for blacks. Why? Black lives matter, true; but only in so far as ALL lives matter. The core of the problem (as I see it) is this: Black lives matter when (and only if) blacks behave as if black lives matter. Just look at the difference between blacks and all other racial/ethnic groups: Do non-blacks fornicate and produce 70% of their new-born out-of-wedlock? Do non-blacks raise their children in such a high preponderance of fatherless households? Do non-blacks perform so ridiculously LOW in academics? Do non-blacks enter their employment years with such a complete absence of employable skills? Solve all of these problems first; and black lives will truly matter. The social-scientist predicts 10 or 15 years … Nonsense! At the current rate, it will take generations. I am in an inter-racial marriage; and, I have lived next door to skilled, hard-working, law-abiding black families trying to raise their children the “right way.” The enemy (the biggest obstacle) for these precious few black families (maybe 15 to 20 percent of the total) are blacks themselves. The behavior of these poorly raised, poorly educated, virtually unemployable masses of blacks frustrate the efforts and aspirations of the black families mentioned above. Where is the black leadership (the next Martin Luther King) and the political leadership that “tells it like it is?” 10 to 15 years … nonsense! It will unfortunately be generations to correct these maladies resident in the black community. When was the last time anyone heard of the mass shootings and killings by non-blacks of other non-blacks (or anyone else, for that matter)? When was the last time anyone heard of non-black children (ages, say, 1 to 10) dying from gunshots fired by non-blacks? Answer: virtually never. The problems are self-evident. Go ahead, black community, fix them. Don’t try to blame the country, its institutions, the flag, non-blacks, anyone (and everyone) else. One common “excuse” used by children (of all color) when they perform badly in school is that “it’s the teacher’s fault.” No, it’s the children’s fault. I am reminded of the lyrics to a simple Holiday Season song (“Frosty the Snowman”): “… He led them down the streets of town right to the traffic cop. And he only paused a moment when hear him holler STOP … ” A concept which is neither learned (nor embraced) by these poorly-raised blacks who dare challenge an armed policeman in the street. Don’t you think that this is yet another manifestation of so many black children (boys in particular) NOT being raised in nuclear households headed by a father who by example and discipline raises the child to behave and comply with all authority. Is this problem going away in a few years? No! To repeat myself, it will take generations.

  11. This is not a social cycle it is terrorism organized and funded by Marxists trying to destroy the country.


    Fascism is alive in America, traitor everyone of em, they don’t stand for America! … History will not remember “president” Trump or the GOP kindly at all -this will be a cautionary tale for future generations about how ignorance and the denying of science can destroy a nation and kill people. Trump really is the most incompetent President this nation has ever known. TRUMP.. UNSTABLE NON-GENIUS NARCISSIST KNOWN SERIAL LIAR! …” HE’S IMPOTUS FOR A REASON. “COME NOVEMBER AMERICANS WILL REMEMBER!” 45 will sacrifice millions for his personal gain, happening now! Your president wants all the authority, none of the responsibility or accountability. Trump Death count keeps going up daily!

  13. The splits between officer and enlisted views within the poll are notable. More than 59 percent of officers said they have a poor view of the president, with more than half saying they strongly disapprove.
    Among enlisted respondents, 47 percent said they have an unfavorable view, and nearly 39 percent a favorable view. Enlisted views of Trump’s performance in office have consistently been more favorable than those of officers in the poll over the last four years.

    Last I looked?

    The number of enlisted is OFF THE CHART, vs. the Officers.

    So, DO THE MATH on who’s with Trump.

    And, who ain’t.

    Just one more bogus poll.

  14. So, there were violent outbursts in America in the 1870s, the 1920s, and the 1970s, eh? Oh, wait. What about the 1860s, when there was the exceedingly violent Civil War, with 600,000 deaths? Or the late 1960s, which saw riots in almost all major cities in the US? With these ridiculous basic input errors, this theory can safely be dismissed out of hand.

  15. It will only last 10-15 years if good people don’t stand up and put down terrorists groups like antifa. If good men stand up against evil like antifa, as it seems they are starting to, this will be over in a couple of months.


    DISGRACE that we fled nyc area because of the BLACK MALICIOUS STRANGER/SEWAGE PLUS LOOTING MOBS OF MINORITY GARBAGE…now they still loot, burn and it’s no longer their own KIND only…now they shit up everybodies liveS…


  17. SEND THEM back HOME, where their brother afros captured/kinapped them, sold them to black traders who resold what still was alive to the EU…

    PLEASE, make them not come back here once Reparated…

  18. I find it fascinating that the amount of social unrest spike shown in the late ’00s was when that idiot Obama was elected. Coincidence? I think not. He was used by the “new progressive” left to start stirring up racial agitation, and it has only been on the up and up since that imbecile was elected.

  19. So the safest nations to be in will be the countries with a steady or declining population, immigration control, and a reasonable economy, i.e. China, Japan, Nordic countries, New Zealand, Switzerland, Taiwan and now Australia (owing to coronavirus border controls). Automation and AI will put further strains on employment numbers anywhere.
    I will leave others to worry about the countries to avoid going into the future….

  20. I am not surprised that the scientist is russian. Russia is always trying to undermine confidence in western stability.

  21. I don’t believe this and don’t believe these “scientists” are correct. I don’t believe they are correct about climate change either. And if they are correct on CC what is the plan for what we do about it. Never hear that…just more scare tactics.

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