A Trap At The Escape From The Trap? Some Demographic Structural Factors Of Political Instability In Modernizing Social Systems

HISTORY & MATHEMATICS: Trends and Cycles – 2014 ISBN 978-5-7057-4223-3

The escape from the ‘Malthusian trap’ is shown to tend to generate in a rather systematic way quite serious political upheavals. Some demographic structural mechanisms that generate such upheavals have been analyzed, which has made it possible to develop a mathematical model of the respective processes.
The forecast of political instability in Sub-Saharan African countries in 2015–2050 produced on the basis of this model is presented.

Keywords: modernization, instability, Malthusian trap, mathematical modeling, youth bulge, urbanization, Africa, demographic dynamics, demographic transition, political dynamics, political demography. – This research has been supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Project No 14-11-00634)

Malthusian trap as a factor of political instability
What is that trap which we mention in the title of this article (and at whose escape we claim another trap to be detected)? It is the so-called ‘Malthusian trap’. The Malthusian trap[2] is a rather typical for pre-industrial societies situation when the growth of output (as it is accompanied by a faster demographic growth) does not lead in the long-range perspective to the increase in per capita output and the improvement of living conditions of the majority of population that remains close to the bare survival level (see, e.g., Malthus 1798, 1978 [1798]; Artzrouni and Komlos 1985; Steinmann and Komlos 1988; Komlos and Artzrouni 1990; Steinmann, Prskawetz, and Feichtinger 1998; Wood 1998; Kögel and Prskawetz 2001; Grinin, Korotayev, and Malkov 2008; Grinin and Korotayev 2009; Grinin et al. 2009; Grinin 2010).

In complex pre-industrial societies the Malthusian trap was one of the main generators of state breakdowns (see, e.g., Korotayev and Khaltourina 2006; Korotayev, Malkov, and Khaltourina 2006b; Chu and Lee 1994; Nefedov 2004; Turchin 2003, 2005a, 2005b; Turchin and Korotayev 2006; Turchin and Nefedov 2009; Usher 1989; Grinin and Korotayev 2009; Grinin, Korotayev, and Malkov 2008; Grinin et al. 2009; Grinin 2007; Korotayev 2006; Korotayev, Komorova, and Khaltourina 2007; Kulpin 1990; Malkov 2002, 2003, 2004; S. Malkov and А. Malkov 2000; S. Malkov, Kovalyov, and А. Malkov 2000; Malkov et al. 2002; Malkov, Selunskaya, and Sergeyev 2005; Malkov and Sergeyev 2002, 2004а, 2004b; Mugruzin 1986, 1994; Nefedov 1999–2010; Nefedov and Turchin 2007; Turchin 2007; van Kessel-Hagesteijn 2009).

A typical example is provided by the last (Qing) of the ‘secular’ (see Korotayev, Malkov, and Khaltourina 2006b; Turchin and Nefedov 2009) cycles of Chinese political-demographic dynamics. In 1700–1850 China managed to achieve rather impressive economic results (due to, say, introduction of some New World crops [first of all, maize and sweet potatoes], development of new varieties of previously known cultivated plants, agricultural labor intensification, land reclamation, etc. [Ho 1955; 1959: 173–174, 180, 185–189; Lee 1982; Bray 1984: 452, 601; Perkins 1969: 39–40; Dikarev 1991: 69–70; Fairbank 1992: 169; Lavely and Wong 1998: 725–726; Lee and Wang 1999: 37–40; Mote 1999: 750, 942; Nefedov 2000a: 17; Myers and Wang 2002: 599, 634–636; Rowe 2002: 479; Zelin 2002: 216–218; van Kessel-Hagesteijn 2009]). As a result of these innovations the carrying capacity of land during this cycle was raised to a radically new level, which also resulted in a rather significant growth of the Chinese GDP.

Fig. 1. Economic macrodynamics of China, 1700–1850 (GDP, millions of 1990 international dollars, purchasing power parities) Data source: Maddison 2001, 2010.

Thus, according to Maddison’s (2001, 2010) estimations, between 1700 and 1850 the GDP of China grew almost threefold (see Fig. 1).

However, the Chinese population grew during the same period of time more than fourfold (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Population of China, millions, 1700–1850 Note: estimates of Zhao and Xie (1988: 539–540).

As a result, by 1850 we observe a rather significant decline of per capita GDP (see Fig. 3).

Fig. 3. Relative dynamics of GDP, population, and per capita GDP in Qing China, 1700–1850 (100 = 1700 level)

The decline in the level of life of the majority of Chinese (mainly resultant just from the point that the Chinese population growth rates exceeded the rates of economic growth) can be traced on the basis of a significant number of independent data series. For example, Fig. 4 reflects the dynamics of average real daily wages of unskilled workers in this country. As we see, quite predictably, as a result of population growth rates being higher than GDP growth rates, the average real daily wages (that were not high at all even at the beginning of the respective period [see Korotayev and Khaltourina 2006 for comparisons]) dropped to the level of bare physiological survival by the end of the period in question.

Population growth rate being higher than the growth rate of GDP, Qing China experienced a catastrophic decline in the level of life of the majority of Chinese population, which is confirmed by the data of Chinese genealogies (chia-p’u) (see Fig. 5).

It worth stressing that in this case we are dealing with a really mass source (for example, Fig. 5 was compiled on the basis of several hundred thousand Chinese genealogies). It also appears necessary to take into account the point that representatives of really low class strata had rather poor chances to get into the abovementioned genealogies. Thus, the data in Fig. 5 reflects the dynamics of the level of life not of the real low class strata, but rather of the Qing ‘middle classes’, whose members were represented in these genealogies on a really mass scale. Read more

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Event-Empowering Cities Under the New Administration

The NYUSPS Schack Institute of Real Estate Urban Lab’s formal kick-off event, “Empowering Cities Under the New Administration,” was held on February 2, 2017 and featured Richard Florida; Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at the NYU Stern School of Business; and Benjamin Barber, founder and president of the Global Parliament of Mayors. The panelists debated the challenges cities face in engaging with the new administration and how they can support urban innovation in the context of a more complex political environment.

Go to: http://www.sps.nyu.edu/empowering-cities-under-the-new-administration.html

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Karen Reed ~ Eigth Ways Technology Is Improving Your Health

We hear all the time about how technology is bad for us. Since the introduction of computers. Even people working on App Development have the same issues, we spend more time sitting at a desk than moving around at work. We have created this sedentary lifestyle that is causing havoc in our overall life.

What if I were to tell you that technology has produced benefits? Would you believe me if I said that technology is good for your health?

Most of you wouldn’t look at first. Well, you may be able to think of a couple of ways that the computer has helped, but you are still stuck on all the negatives that ‘experts’ have shared in the past. The problem with the ‘experts’ is that they are only focused on the negatives. They haven’t looked at so many of the benefits.

So, that’s what we’ll do today. We’ll consider all the ways that technology improves our health. We’ll discuss just how it has boosted results in certain areas of healthcare and what it does for us daily.

Read more: https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/fitness/8-ways-technology-improving-health/

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David in Ethiopia

David van Reen (1969 – 2015)

Anbessa’s dochter (Uitgeverij In de Knipscheer – 2016 – ISBN 9789062659302)
Het land van de verbrande gezichten (De Geus -2008 – ISBN 9789071794056)
Engelen der wrake (De Geus – 2009 – ISBN 9789044512977)

Zie ook: http://stichtinglalibela.nl/

“Op een van mijn reizen kwam ik in Woldia. Ik besloot om een wandeling te maken naar de Maryamkerk, een eind buiten het stadje. De heenweg bergop was ongeveer zes kilometer. Halverwege kwam ik een meisje tegen dat Netsannet heette. Haar naam betekent ‘vrijheid’. Gezien de blik in haar ogen zou ze geen passender naam kunnen hebben. Ze had een blikje bij zich met daarin een beetje stro en een paar eieren. Op mijn vraag wat ze met die eieren ging doen, zei ze dat ze naar de markt in Woldia ging. Ik vroeg haar waar ze woonde. Dat bleek dicht bij de Maryamkerk te zijn. Ik was verbaasd. Ze liep twaalf kilometer om twee eieren te verkopen! Haar optimisme en de levensvreugde die ze uitstraalde, maakten indruk op me. Toen ik later de foto’s die ik van Netsannet had gemaakt, afdrukte en weer zag hoe levensblij ze was, begon ik me pas af te vragen waarom wij hier op aarde zijn en of het jachtige leven dat wij westerlingen leiden, ons wel gelukkiger maakt dan Ethiopiërs. Zo ben ik met andere ogen naar deze mensen gaan kijken. Eerder al had het land me verrast door zijn schoonheid en zijn vriendelijke mensen.”
Uit: Het land van de verbrande gezichten. Leven in Ethiopië, foto’s en tekst van David van Reen, Uitg. De Geus

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Bob van Huet ~ De man achter de generatietheorie

Driekwart van de Nederlanders rekent zichzelf tot een generatie. We kennen ze allemaal. De Stille Generatie zorgde voor de wederopbouw van Nederland na de Tweede Wereldoorlog. De Protest Generatie ontdeed het land van zijn grauwsluier. Voor al die leuke Babyboomers-experimentjes betaalde de Verloren Generatie de prijs. En dan komen er computers en komt de Grenzeloze Generatie in vol beeld.

Wie heeft dat eigenlijk bedacht, al die rake typeringen van onze generaties? Daar staat hij, Henk Becker (1933), de grondlegger van het vaderlandse generatieonderzoek. Een kwart eeuw geleden publiceerde deze wereldwijd bekende socioloog zijn standaardwerk ‘Generaties en hun Kansen’. De manier waarop hij de Nederlanders indeelde en typeringen meegaf als Verloren Generatie (geboren tussen circa 1970 en 1985) of Grenzeloze Generatie (geboren tussen 1985 en 1995) geldt nog altijd als basis van het onderzoek naar toekomstige trends.

Lees verder: http://www.ad.nl/de-man-achter-de-generatietheorie/

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Michael Dagan ~ Online Privacy Guide For Journalists 2017

Many veteran journalists, but not only these, surely noticed that we are all of a sudden bombarded again from all-over with mentions of Watergate. Books like George Orwell’s 1984 are on display at bookstores and an air of danger to freedom of speech and freedom of the press is spreading slowly like a dark cloud over the Western Hemisphere, raising old fears.

When an American serving president accuses a former president of surveillance; when he prevents central US media outlets access – so far always granted, and taken for granted – to press conferences he holds; and when he incessantly knocks and accuses the media of being the country’s enemy number one, it isn’t surprising that memories of President Nixon surface up more with every self-pitying tweet about SNL, and that even Republican Senators such as John McCain express fear for the future of democracy.

And McCain is not alone. Many journalists whom I have spoken with recently, expressed concern for whatever lays ahead for the freedom of the press. At a time when it’s possible to express the following statement – “Donald Trump controls the NSA” – and not be held a liar, anything’s possible. Add that to the fact that recent news on CIA taught us that almost all encryption systems can be compromised, if someone has the perseverance to crack them – and you are en route to envisioning an utterly Dystopian world, where you cannot even get too comfortable laying on your sofa, in front of your own smart TV.

The good news is that it is nevertheless possible to make it difficult for anyone to try and intercept your emails, the text messages you’re sending or your phone calls. You can take measures to make the lives of those who want to uncover your sources and the information being revealed to you, much harder. Of course, the degree of effort you’re prepared to take to protect your privacy, your sources’ anonymity and your data’s safety, should be commensurate to the likelihood of a real threat, be that hacking or spying.

Read more: https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/online-privacy-journalists/

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