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Elite overproduction

More aspirants of high status than society can sustain / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Elite overproduction is a concept developed by Peter Turchin, which describes the condition of a society which is producing too many potential elite members relative to its ability to absorb them into the power structure.[1][2][3] This, he hypothesizes, is a cause for social instability, as those left out of power feel aggrieved by their relatively low socioeconomic status.[1][2][3]

A university graduation ceremony in Ottawa, Canada (2016)

However, Turchin's model cannot foretell precisely how a crisis will unfold; it can only yield probabilities. Turchin likened this to the accumulation of deadwood in a forest over many years, paving the way for a cataclysmic forest fire later on. It is possible to predict a massive conflagration, Turchin argues, but not what causes it.[4] Nor does it offer definitive solutions, though it can clarify the trade-offs of various options.[5]