[Catalyst Talk] Peter Turchin: Saving Democracy

  • 01/12/2023
  • 5:15 PM - 6:15 PM
  • Full Circle House, 89 Ch. de Vleurgat, 1050 Ixelles


  • This is a voluntary participation fee. You can pay online or at the door. However it should not be a barrier to joining, so please feel free to come without paying if it's easier for you.

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A talk with Peter Turchin

 Catalyst  Ideas Festival  / Fri 1st Dec / 5.15-6.15pm

Democratic regimes and the idea of democracy itself is becoming increasingly unstable, including in Europe.

Complexity scientist Peter Turchin studies this phenomenon from a unique perspective, combining history, sociology, and mathematics. His conclusion is this: when the equilibrium between ruling elites and the majority tips too far in favour of elites, political instability is all but inevitable. We live in a world where rich and poor are divided by an ever-increasing gap. The elite gets richer and richer, leaving the rest of us to suffer more and more. This builds up resentment from the majority, who direct their anger at governments - going down a path of political disintegration.

How do we stop this? The clock is ticking, Peter argues, and we are nearing the point of violent political rupture. How can we make this world fairer to everyone, and bring prosperity and peace?



Peter Turchin is a Russian-American scientist working at the intersection of macro historical sociology and mathematical and statistical modelling. He is a founder of the field of Cliodynamics, which works to explain the dynamics within historical societies, and how we might interpret these learnings in the context of contemporary global societal challenges. Having started his higher education in Russia in the late 1970s, and ultimately completed in New York after his father was exiled from the Soviet Union, he holds a unique perspective on the impact of a range of societal dynamics. He has recently published on the societal crisis facing the United States, and the role of the imbalance of elites in the unfolding civil unrest.

Turchin is Project Leader at the Complexity Science Hub–Vienna, Research Associate at University of Oxford, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Connecticut.


Ultrasociety (2016), Ages of Discord (2016), The Great Holocene Transformation (2022), End Times (2023).



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