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Three factors may lead to the human civilization collapse: all of them are already taking place

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Only three factors can destroy even the most powerful empires. Source: Thomas Cole/Wikimedia Commons; Getty/Davide Zanin/collage by OBOZREVATEL

Humanity is most likely already on its way to a future collapse, which, however, can still be averted. If we compare the way the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China for almost 300 years, collapsed, we can't envy humanity.

This is stated in a study published in Plos ONE. The economy of the Qing Dynasty was much richer than modern China, but this did not save it from collapse in 1912.

Researcher and author Peter Turchin explained that it was crucial to understand the origins of the instability that led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty.

"It would be a mistake to think that this is a thing of the past and cannot happen again. Such changes can indeed occur as the mechanisms underlying them are remarkably similar," he said.

As a result of the study, Turchin and his colleagues found that three key elements exert the greatest socio-political pressure.

The study also allowed the researchers to better understand how war or recession can shake and destabilize a society. This is important because it will allow us to predict which events of our time could have catastrophic consequences in the future.

It turned out that the first factor in the collapse of the Qing Dynasty was the rapid population growth that occurred in four stages between 1700 and 1840. This resulted in significantly less land per person, which greatly affected rural communities that fed themselves.

The second factor is the increased competition for elite positions. The increase in the number of people also led to the fact that a very large number of people began to apply for the same position. The situation is similar in the modern labor market, where hundreds of people can apply for one position.

According to scholars, at the end of the Qing Dynasty, the lack of opportunity to move up the bureaucratic ladder led to a crisis caused by a group of disgruntled elite applicants. This turned into one of the bloodiest civil wars ever, known as the Taiping Rebellion. It claimed the lives of 20 to 30 million people.

This uprising lasted for 14 years, so it is clear that it has damaged the country. This is the third factor that led to the fall of the Qing dynasty. It was the rising costs associated with the aftermath. Scientists explain that between the suppression of unrest, declining productivity, and trade deficits caused by the depletion of silver and opium reserves, the Qing dynasty was in financial chaos.

"Unfortunately, the destructive impacts of rising inequality and declining opportunity manifest themselves on longer time scales, making them difficult to recognize, let alone effectively address within the short political cycles we see in many countries," explained Daniel Hoyer, co-author of the study and a CSH affiliated researcher.

According to him, without a long-term vision and targeted strategies aimed at reducing these social pressures, "many countries risk repeating the path of the Qing."

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL also published the forecast of an ecologist who declared the threat of civilizational collapse on Earth.

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