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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Feb 03, Mark rated it it was amazing.

They did not want to spend the money, and hundreds of people downstream drowned or were crushed by the deluge. When did the Japanese leadership decide it had had enough? This is a tough book to summarize, both because it’s so dense and well-sourced it reminds me of grad school, and because it tackles a bunch of big, abstract questions, like what makes societies fail.

Even if most of us don’t believe the worst is yet upon us, it’s hard not to worry with so many books and movies out there depicting post-industrial societies where humans are left with their animal needs and violent proclivities, but none of the protections afforded by modern civilization. Professor Pickney documents the same process in the present day economy. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Feb 21, Darnell rated it really liked it Shelves: It is just not quantifiable.

What is the point of building a model? The most provocative idea is that complexity, by itself, it’s not an advantage and, in some cases, can be the cause of breakdown. His basic thesis is that human societies are really problem-solving organizations e.

Complexity calls these traditions into being, for such art and literature serve social and economic purposes and classes that exist only in complex settings. Branding your topics will give more credibility to collaspe content, position you as a professional expert and generate conversions and leads.


The author deals mostly with Central America’s pre-Columbian cultures but this law applies to just about everything, and for all time. La fin est proche: Quigley has his own list of consequence to institutions. The explanation, he finds has to do with society’s investment in complexity: Indeed they were to be proven right in time as for the centuries to come these decentralized units were better able to dr.josepu at much smaller costs.

How to curate as a team? He has the soul of an economist trapped at the desk of an anthropologist. Does the continued failure in the United States government to regulate the production of greenhouse gases, having known about the phenomenon since the s, appear bby We cannot delve into the wormhole of human psychology, he says, because tainte you are trying to build a model, you have to be able to account for your variables.

Collapse of Complex Societies

Social complexity can be recognized by numerous differentiated and specialized social and economic roles and many mechanisms through which they are coordinated, and by reliance on symbolic and abstract communication, and the existence of a class of information producers and analysts who are not involved in primary resource production.

Kipling perhaps captured the role of moral virtues in civilizations best in “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” This is why purely economic theories for the Great Divergence are always miserably incomplete—they take no account of culture, which cannot be quantified, but is determinative of the course of a civilization.

This is a short, dense, book about a difficult subject. Cultural relativity may be one of the most important contributions anthropology can make to the social and historical sciences, and to the public at large. Your new post is loading Sep 12, Matthew rated it it was amazing. We have to keep investing in complexity even beyond declining returns just to maintain the status quo and not fall behind in economic or military stature, the alternative being demise and subjugation by others.

Scott, who view complex societies as a dubious blessing resulting from changes in food production.

Joseph Tainter: The Collapse Of Complex Societies | Zero Hedge

DMR theory is thus uncomfortably tautological. Yet, it lives up to the title: Amazon Renewed Refurbished products with a warranty. It is a weakness in that it leads to a materialist reductio ad absurdum. At no point, though, does he make any effort to actually address any such theory; he bootstraps his disgust into a conclusion, in essence treating Toynbee as no better than an Aztec priest tearing the hearts out of sacrificial victims to appease Huitzilopochtli and ensure the rising of the Sun.


Can we innovate our way out of the inevitable decline of petroleum? He then discounts all of collapes as inadequate.

You’ll never convince me Duchamp’s urinal in a museum is vastly superior to an Appalachian woman’s lovely quilt, sorry to say. He has the soul of an economist trapped at the desk of an anthropologist. For others, like the ancient Romans and China’s Western Chou Empire, he intrudes onto historians’ turf because the written record provides a key part of the story. Anyway, Tainter does talk about this obliquely at one point.

Think Oil Is Getting Expensive? And at what “collapse” means and at how the word has been misused.

The Chacoans of the American Southwest based their society on “energy averaging,” where a confederation of local communities could feed into a larger system such that they would pay into it in times of surplus and take from it in times of need. Or at least enough people are enjoying these things that social and political stability prevail. Apr 20, Ron rated it liked it. After dispensing wocieties with the crowd of existing theories, Tainter offers his own suggestion: Showing of 72 reviews.

This is an interesting book. A collapsed society has not failed to adapt; it has taken the best path available. The Collapse of Complex Societies, though written by an archaeologist, will therefore strike a chord throughout the social sciences.