Andrew Stuttaford of National Review Online ponders our current political divisions.

There is, I think, a growing awareness of the fact that, however much the current unrest in cities on both sides of the Atlantic owes to anger over the killing of George Floyd, police brutality, and racial injustice, other factors are also at work, most notably a struggle within the elite, or more broadly, within the elite and those who would be in it, much of it a consequence of what the University of Connecticut’s Peter Turchin has dubbed “elite overproduction.” …

… [I]n essence, what matters is this:

“Turchin has warned that ‘elite overproduction’ can be a precursor of turmoil to come. To oversimplify, this occurs when members of the elite (or those with the talents to join it) become too numerous for society to accommodate their aspirations. Thus, Turchin noted, the Arab Spring was preceded by ‘a remarkable expansion of the numbers of university-educated youths without job prospects’ — in other words, by elite overproduction.”

In the course of an article for Unherd last month, Ed West wrote:

“So while around half of 18-year-olds are going onto college, only a far smaller number of jobs actually require a degree. Many of those graduates, under the impression they were joining the higher tier in society, will not even reach managerial level and will be left disappointed and hugely indebted. Many will have studied various activist-based subjects collectively referred to as ‘grievance studies.’ …

“… While the evidence on that is not clear, it’s arguable that a tiny number of very intelligent people being taught the theories of Marcuse or Foucault is probably going to have a limited social impact; when these ideas are disseminated among huge numbers of the young, many of them conformists sensitive to the social cues around them, then quite extreme ideas about dismantling society become normalised.”