By popular demand, we welcome Joseph Tainter, USU professor and author of The Collapse Of Complex Societies (free book download here). Author: Joseph Tainter The Collapse of Complex Societies, though written by an archaeologist, will therefore strike a chord Dr. Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than years of explanations. Collapse of Complex Societies has ratings and 91 reviews. Mark said: Ok, done!Tainter’s work is an opus. How could it be otherwise with a title lik.

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UConn professor Peter Turchin predicts that social instability and political violence will peak in the s. Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources. However, there is a plausible argument that modern technology, as well socieites modern habits of thought, whatever their drawbacks may be, permit a society to be organized with dispersed problem solving by networks, which may, to some extent, be immune from diminishing returns.

His professional discipline is archeology, and several of his societies are ones, like the Minoans and the Chacoans, about which archeology tells us everything we know, since they left no written records.

Eventually the society will “decline” to a level of lower complexity: Instead, our ancestors who lived as hunter-gatherers never confronted any challenges that required them to think beyond their locality and the near term One would think we long for collapse, and the sooner, the better.

Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph A. Tainter

At low complexity, adding more layers of doers, thinkers, and paper-shufflers makes society more productive and everyone better off, but each additional layer takes energy, and eventually you run into the law societis diminishing marginal returns, meaning that after a certain point society becomes paralyzed under the weight of its own corporate and governmental bureaucracies and can no dr.joeeph adapt to changing conditions like resource shortage, environmental change, economic shifts, or external threats.

Civilization is more the exception than the rule. Shopbop Designer Fashion Brands. Read reviews that mention complex societies marginal returns roman empire diminishing returns law of diminishing declining marginal resource depletion joseph tainter climate change complex society years ago returns on investments diminishing marginal western roman rise and fall new mexico marginal return investments in bt societies become jared diamond.

Tainter should have speculated a little. Ina computer model predicted the end of the world — and we’re on track. We know cities like Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas pf unsustainable because of lack of water, but we can’t even bring ourselves to do some tiny thing like outlaw lawns, golf courses, or fountains in front of the casinos, much less write strict, sane zoning laws.


It is a very reasonable start and encouraging—refreshing even, to be able to sit back and disregard so many ridiculous reasons that complex things fall apart. This is very much an academic publication. Just to maintain the status quo new resources are needed and when they are not available the center of the complex society begins to crumble.

It outlines why societies collapse and makes a very good case why America is headed down the same road Rome did before it collapsed. I don’t think he successfully argues why we can’t collapee back from that precipice, why for instance the diminishing returns aren’t their own regulator, moreso because the broad curve of lost benefit implies a smooth hilltop, not a cliff My precipice description makes Tainter’s point, but it seems inaccurate to describe the actual dynamics.

I warmly recommend it to anybody who’s willing to learn from the experiences of our grand-grand-grand-grand-grand This sounds good on paper, but no actual human being who lived through collapses would have agreed with him.

It modifies some of our views about early states and their collapse mainly by using data. First off, this is more like a long academic paper than a book. Page societie of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1.

He does point to economic theories, one of the eleven groups, as the one probably richest in explanatory possibilities. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. The civilization plateau’s and the structure established to help it grow becomes a part of society.

What I like about Tainter is that he doesn’t assume that complex societies are the ultimate good. Such complexity requires a substantial “energy” subsidy meaning the consumption of resources, or other forms of wealth. The comparisons didn’t appear to be “cherry picked” because they fit the A review of this book requires a different standard than your everyday ‘fun’ book. However, this incisiveness may come at the expense of nuanced, cautious, and case-specific history: Primitivist Archetypes in s Children’s Programming”.

The World1 computer program at MIT considered a range of factors and predicted the world might collapse in According to Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societiessocieties become more complex as fomplex try to solve problems. Podcast with Arthur E. But — while his book is valuable, it has big holes. Amazon Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, give it a second life. This is an interesting book. Off now we depend on the structure, which has become brittle, and like a house of cards, easy to knock over.


Joseph Tainter

The Five Stages of Collapse: There’s a problem loading this menu right now. Tainter begins by swiftly and of This book seems to be the workhorse of the industrial-collapse intellectual set Jared DiamondDerrick JensenJohn Michael Greeretc.

So far, societoes has been right. We know oil is finite, yet we do little about it. He also sees no way out – with no new territory to conquer and no new energy subsidy to replace oil, the industrial lifestyle will outlive its value and be replaced by a more adaptive organization at some point he wisely declines to say when he thinks this will happen.

Tainter supports his theory well from civilizations across time, and uses very obvious info, like territory, and some other more unusual information, like crop yields, colonial administrations, and so on.

In each summarized case, he briefly applies a few of his markers for collapse to a truncated history of the society, along with a short postscript about the society and geographical area, and concludes that most or all of his quantifiable markers characterize collapse, so his definition is correct.

While academic in presentation it is well researched with many references to related worksthe book remains accessible to a general audience interested in explanations of the numerous cases of the fall of civilizations in history. I got the impression that he may have developed his animating insights for this book through his study of Rome, since he manner in which he imposes them on the sketchier cases sounds a bit vague to me in places. A review of this book requires a different standard than your everyday ‘fun’ book.

I’m not going to lie, this book majorly bummed me out, but I’d rather we had this perspective and a chance to avoid past mistakes than blindly blunder into the same fate that has befallen many past societies. Surely there will someday be one road too many, if not already!

How to integrate my topics’ content to my website? At worst, it seems to suggest that complex societies that collapse must be isolated, or else that all their neighbours being less complex counts as such.