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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But real-world systems, normally, do what they damn please, including crashing down in what we call the Seneca Effect. Tout est dans le titre. Risks of ‘domino effect’ of tipping points greater tainterr thought, study says.

But I’ll take that any day over the economic inefficiency of the late Roman Empire.

Tainter says diminishing returns eventually trap civilization in a no-win situation. Write a customer review. The advance of civilizations is a progression in organizational complexity as a solution to problems of resource acquisition and distribution as populations become increasingly concentrated. The investment domplex acquire these resources is at first easily outwighed by their benefits.

This was good writing, to even allow viewpoints that one disagrees with is a mark of intellectual integrity. Joseph Tainter arrived inwith this book, to offer an alternative—namely, total economic determinism filtered through a framework of his own devising.


Collapse of Complex Societies

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. If a collapse happens, it can only be global and catastrophic on a scale previously unseen by humanity.

So the change becomes not really an improvement, but instead a permanent commitment to additional infrastructure, additional complexity.

He then explains the “rise” of a society as the period during which investment in complexity is growing and people are enjoying returns on it in the form of growing wealth, culture and security. How can I send a newsletter from my topic? Mais pour cela, il a au moins raison quelque part. The alternative assumption—of idleness in the face of disaster—requires a leap of faith at which we may rightly hesitate.

This is well trodden ground, from those like Francis Fukuyama who ascribe most development of complex societies to warfare to those with a more anarchist bent, like James C.

Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tai

He points out that none of these are mutually exclusive and that all have something to offer. Full collapse, though, only occurs in the presence of a power vacuum. Of course bringing oil into it pulls Jared Diamond to mind.

This is probably a fine academic work.

However, this incisiveness may come at the expense of nuanced, cautious, and case-specific history: 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. Il va nous falloir abandonner notre foi dans la technologie. Jan 24, Charles rated it liked it. Learn more about the different existing integrations and their benefits. How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Tainter applies his framework to three well-known societal collapses to see how well it holds up: Tainter uses the examples of the Romans, the Maya and the Chacoans to demonstrate how his theory plays out.


Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. I’d say to give the early First off, this is more like a long academic paper than a book. AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. Tainter applies his diminishing marginal returns analysis broadly, to everything from agriculture to scientific progress.

One of the strengths of his framework is the broadness of its terms of reference Sign up to comment. This perceived paucity seems to be his inspiration for the book. The importance of this work by Joseph Tainter, to later discussions on collapse, cannot be overstated.

Rather, we get a lot of description. They were able to finance their complex society by plundering their areas of conquest. Not a very successful framework, to be sure, but at least one that provides some food for thought.

It is a fairly straightforward, academic entry in the anthropological search for a grand theory to explain collapse.