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Turchin P. and Korotayev A. 2006. Population Dynamics and Internal Warfare: A Reconsideration

Turchin P. and Korotayev A. 2006. Population Dynamics and Internal Warfare: A Reconsideration

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Turchin P. and Korotayev A. 2006. Population Dynamics and Internal Warfare: A Reconsideration. Social Evolution & History 5(2): 112–147.
The hypothesis that population pressure causes increased war-fare has been recently criticized on the empirical grounds. Both studies focusing on specific historical societies and analyses of cross-cultural data fail to find positive correlation between popula-tion density and incidence of warfare. In this paper we argue that such negative results do not falsify the population-warfare hy-pothesis. Population and warfare are dynamical variables, and if their interaction causes sustained oscillations, then we do not in general expect to find strong correlation between the two variables measured at the same time (that is, unlagged). We explore mathe-matically what the dynamical patterns of interaction between population and warfare (focusing on internal warfare) might be in both stateless and state societies. Next, we test the model predic-tions in several empirical case studies: early modern England, Han and Tang China, and the Roman Empire. Our empirical results support the population-warfare theory: we find that there is a ten-dency for population numbers and internal warfare intensity to oscillate with the same period but shifted in phase (with warfare peaks following population peaks). Furthermore, the rates of change of the two variables behave precisely as predicted by the theory: population rate of change is negatively affected by warfare intensity, while warfare rate of change is positively affected by population densityKey words: population, warfare, dynamics, nonlinear feedback loops, mathematical models.
Turchin P. and Korotayev A. 2006. Population Dynamics and Internal Warfare: A Reconsideration. Social Evolution & History 5(2): 112–147.
The hypothesis that population pressure causes increased war-fare has been recently criticized on the empirical grounds. Both studies focusing on specific historical societies and analyses of cross-cultural data fail to find positive correlation between popula-tion density and incidence of warfare. In this paper we argue that such negative results do not falsify the population-warfare hy-pothesis. Population and warfare are dynamical variables, and if their interaction causes sustained oscillations, then we do not in general expect to find strong correlation between the two variables measured at the same time (that is, unlagged). We explore mathe-matically what the dynamical patterns of interaction between population and warfare (focusing on internal warfare) might be in both stateless and state societies. Next, we test the model predic-tions in several empirical case studies: early modern England, Han and Tang China, and the Roman Empire. Our empirical results support the population-warfare theory: we find that there is a ten-dency for population numbers and internal warfare intensity to oscillate with the same period but shifted in phase (with warfare peaks following population peaks). Furthermore, the rates of change of the two variables behave precisely as predicted by the theory: population rate of change is negatively affected by warfare intensity, while warfare rate of change is positively affected by population densityKey words: population, warfare, dynamics, nonlinear feedback loops, mathematical models.

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categoriesTypes, Research, Science
Published by: Korotayev on Apr 04, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/10/2013

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