The old phrase that we must learn from history if we aren’t to repeat it has been put under the microscope by Peter Turchin, who studies population dynamics at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
Turchin has been developing mathematical models that have previously been to predict predator-prey cycles in forest ecosystems and applying them to human history. The results of his research show that parts of our history has a decidedly cyclical nature.
One of the places this shows up is recent US history from 1870 and onwards, where things come to a head roughly every 50 years. The good news is that we’re currently in a lull, between spikes, but the bad news is that the next spike, if Turchin’s research and models are correct, will come around 2020.