Showing posts from September, 2021

Malthus and the Disintegration of Empires.

  Book Pre-Review:  War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires by  Peter Turchin   Peter Turchin styles himself as a latter day Hari Selden – he is looking for theories of Cliodynamics - general principles of history.   Two big principles animate his War and Peace and War.   One is due to the great Arab historian and polymath Ibn Khaldun.   Khaldun identified the crucial role of asabiya – the fundamental social glue that unites a people – in the stability of nations and empires.   The second is the role of Malthusian cycles in the instability of empires. The basic idea of the Malthusian cycle is that peace and prosperity lead to growth in the numbers of the peasant class.   This leads to competition for land, increases in rents, decreases in pay for landless laborers and increased prosperity for the nobles and other rentiers, which, in turn, leads to an expansion of the Noble class.   The peasants and laborers suffer starvation, plague, and the other apocalyptic catastroph