Before drawing any conclusions, asking about motives and grinding an axe, please, note that the title of this posting does not belong to us, but is of the Bloomberg Businessweek article. In fact, the non-scientific notion that "The trouble with law is lawyers" was first suggested by Clarence Darrow, renown attorney and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union. According to the aforementioned article based on conclusions in the new book War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires by
Peter Turchin is the vice president of the Evolution Institute and professor of biology and anthropology at the University of Connecticut"
the 30 indicators he developed for tracing the destabilization of societies—the Roman Empire, Imperial China, medieval and early-modern England and France, etc. now point to "the demise of American society". One of this indicators is Lawyer Glut. It is well documented that the army of lawyers grew from 285,933 lawyers in 1960 or 627 people per 1 lawyer to 723,189 lawyers in 1988 or 339 people per 1 lawyer and in 2012 according to American Bar Association there were 1,245,205 attorneys in US or 253 people per 1 lawyer more than in any other country in the world. As professor Turchin explains in his article Blame Rich, Overeducated Elites as Our Society Frays published in Bloomberg Opinion there was a precedent in American history
From 1830 to 1860 the number of New Yorkers and Bostonians with fortunes of at least $100,000 (they would be multimillionaires today) increased fivefold. Many of these new rich (or their sons) had political ambitions. But the government, especially the presidency, Senate and Supreme Court, was dominated by the Southern elites. As many Northerners became frustrated and embittered, the Southerners also felt the pressure and became increasingly defensive.As we all well aware this conflict eventually caused the Civil War.
While there are other 29 factors identified by professor Turchin that have to be present for the social calamity that brings demise of the society because of political forces fed by lawyers who pursue political ambitions instead of legal is intuitively convincing argument. However, as professor Turchin correctly noted in his blog
As usual, when writing for popular outlets, one must sacrifice detail for readability. For those readers who are interested in exploring these issues in more detail I collected together the relevant blogs, under three headings.So if you are interested in learning more, please, read professor's blogs from that list or at least this one Bimodal Lawyers: How Extreme Competition Breeds Extreme Inequality