During the past 30 years, I have analyzed thousands of time series concerning all sorts of social and economic phenomena—from the destruction of the threshers (1 month) to the evolution of British naval power (500 years), from the rounds of artillery shot in Europe by American forces during WWI to American casualties in the Vietnam War, from the victims of the Red Brigades in Italy to those of the witch hunts in the Middle Ages, and so on. The perplexing result is that a very simple logistic model can always fit the data in a predictive format.
The usual enlightened belief that human events are the result of the fight between competing and collaborating free wills—in imprecise contexts, with unpredictable consequences—seems to be challenged by these results. History appears as the smooth de-convolution of a built-in program where free wills lock in to make it smooth. There appear to be many programs, in fact, like wheels within wheels, strictly clocked by ubiquitous Kondratiev cycles or waves, so that details are describable and predictable. This can be seen in Figure 1, where logistic center points of transportation infrastructures in the USA, subway starting dates for the world, and innovation waves are reported against the deviations from an exponential of energy consumption in the USA. It must be clear that I am not presenting a theory here, but rather some conclusions from numerous—that is, a few thousand—empirical analysis.
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