Cliodynamics is a transdisciplinary area of research integrating historical macrosociology, cultural and social evolution, economic history/cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access journal that publishes original articles advancing the state of theoretical knowledge in this transdisciplinary area. In the broadest sense, this theoretical knowledge includes general principles that explain the functioning, dynamics, and evolution of historical societies and specific models, usually formulated as mathematical equations or computer algorithms. Cliodynamics also has empirical content that deals with discovering general historical patterns, determining empirical adequacy of key assumptions made by models, and testing theoretical predictions with data from actual historical societies. A mature, or ‘developed theory’ thus integrates models with data; the main goal of Cliodynamics is to facilitate progress towards such theory in history and cultural evolution.
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Volume 2, Issue 2, 2011
The Dominate Cycle is an application of demographic-structural theory in a historical work. It seeks to interpret demographic and economic trends seen in a wide variety of primary sources from Late Antiquity in the context of secular cycles. It attempts to shed light on why the Roman Empire declined and fell in the West and survived in the East, to help resolve one of the longest standing debates in modern historiography.
Collins’ recent theory on battle dynamics is converted into a system of interconnected equations and simulated. Between evenly matched armies, initial advantages are shown to be difficult to overcome due to the numerous reinforcing pathways throughout the model. Morale advantages are shown to lead to quick victories, while material advantages lead to longer wars often won through attrition. A simulation of the Civil War is provided that appears to coincide with historical reality. The implications of these simulations for Collins’ broader theory are briefly discussed.
A Trap At The Escape From The Trap? Demographic-Structural Factors of Political Instability in Modern Africa and West Asia
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 African and West Asian countries in 2012–2050 produced on the basis of this model is presented.
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A Review Essay on Why the West Rules—For Now: The patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010)
A Review of Expansions: Competition and Conquest in Europe since the Bronze Age by Axel Kristinsson (Reykjavikur Akademian, 2010)
A Review of The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama (Straus & Giroux, 2011)
A Review of The Archaeology of Politics and Power: Where, When, and Why the First States Formed by Charles Maisels (Oxbow Books, 2010)
Social Evolution Forum
A discussion on Social Evolution Forum (Fall 2011)