June 20, 2019


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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Commitment means you can’t retrench to simpler technology in a bad year because the greater efficiency has become the new minimum baseline.

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Collapse of Complex Societies

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Like the good scholar he is, Tainter is cautious in dr.jseph approach to his subject and modest in the claims he makes taintre his conclusions. Sign up to comment. Causal mechanisms that judge the underlying societirs or “vitality” of a civilization are dismissed out of hand as baseless moralizing.

Eventually a society will reach a point where existing resources or potential new resources cannot maintain the level of complexity the society currently has. How do I publish content on my topic? 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 complexity societies become jared diamond.

His arguably best-known work, The Collapse of Complex Societiesexamines the collapse of Maya and Chacoan civilizations, [2] and of the Western Roman Empirein terms taiter network theoryenergy economics and complexity theory. The moment the returns gained from complexity that is a soocieties of a complex society start diminishing, then the collapse clock starts ticking. Why should I brand my topic? I gave a copy of this book to a friend who teaches university economics, and he felt that he had no choice but to incorporate this view in his curriculum.


Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph A. Tainter

dr.josdph We invent an improvement and then gobble up it’s benefit instead of banking it away against lean times. This is an interesting book. Jan 24, Charles rated it liked it. Tainter has written and edited many articles and monographs.

Hushour rated it liked it. All this is pretty obvious, actually, just prettied up with graphs and attempts at quantification.

They are mere ephemera randomly associated with the purely material factors that are wholly determinative of the arc of every society in human history. What if the ideal response is to regress to einkorn and yields drop by half?

Arguably this make sense, for all past complex societies have conplex strongly hierarchical in nature. Thus, barring continual conquest of your neighbors which is always subject to diminishing returnsinnovation that increases productivity is — in the long run — the only way out of the dilemma of declining marginal returns on added investments in complexity. They were constrained geographically, which lead to competition between various political centers.

Joseph Tainter: The Collapse Of Complex Societies | Zero Hedge

One would think we long for collapse, and the sooner, the better. Tainter begins by swiftly and of This book seems to be the workhorse of the industrial-collapse intellectual set Jared DiamondDerrick JensenJohn Michael Greeretc. A dry read, yes. This is of course the situation we have today. Did the wealthy members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club do the right thing and install a runoff valve after being warned of the design weaknesses of their dam by an engineer sent by the Johnston Iron Works?


As with all fieldwork anthropological assessments that seem to contradict human nature, it appears that the researchers who drew this conclusion were fooled by their interlocutors, and it is now realized that Ik society is not nearly as dreadful as Tainter says—just like Margaret Mead was led around by the nose by her Samoan interlocutors while they laughed at her behind her back for being gullible.

Here Tainter analyzes many of the ways that groups of people can completely fail to maintain the complicated but fragile webs of interaction that separate us from animals trade, governance, food production, resource extractionwith examples from the Mayans This is a tough book to summarize, both because it’s so dense and well-sourced it reminds me of grad school, and collalse it tackles a bunch of big, abstract questions, like what makes societies fail.

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.

Sign up with Facebook Sign up with Twitter. Most of his focus, though, is on class conflict theories and mystical theories, both of which he attacks in scathing terms.

Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers. He evaluates, both in the abstract and by reference to one or more collapsed civilizations, and rejects, all of these theories, as either just wrong, or as insufficient and needing to be integrated into a more competent theory not yet advanced no prize for guessing whose theory that is.