Notes on “The Collapse of Complex Societies” (J. Tainter). 1. Introduction to Collapse. Intro! The sublime mystery of collapsed civilizations and dark portents. The Collapse of Complex Societies, though written by an archaeologist, will Dr. Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than. 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.

Author: Nera Tygojinn
Country: Russian Federation
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Marketing
Published (Last): 11 March 2008
Pages: 228
PDF File Size: 10.64 Mb
ePub File Size: 20.97 Mb
ISBN: 704-8-11481-290-7
Downloads: 17065
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Faebei

Twenty-four complxe of societal collapse help develop a new theory to account for their breakdown. This allows for the support of specialized roles that do not necessarily contribute to the sustainability of the society aristocrats, priest castes, etc. Competing Peer Polities IX. He rejects outlooks that can’t be backed by empirical evidence.

Our current global situation is too interconnected for individual complex-societies to collapse in isolation.

To Tainter the story of a complex society is a race against the resource clock. When a society confronts a “problem,” such as a shortage of energy, or difficulty in gaining access to it, it colllapse to create new layers of bureaucracy, infrastructure, or social class to address the challenge.

Lacking the ability to build quantitative tests of these theories, he has proceeded with a duly empirical presentation of cases, which is likely as best he can do. What if the ideal response is to regress to einkorn and yields drop by half? Such complexity comlpex a substantial “energy” subsidy meaning the consumption of resources, or other forms of wealth. This book is illuminating. They did not want to spend the money, and hundreds of people downstream drowned or were crushed by the deluge.


The idea of diminishing returns well explored meaning that more fertilizer, internet, railroads and regulations produce more food per man-hour invested, but only to a point. Quigley has his own list of consequence to institutions. Tainter notes that in the west, local populations in many cases greeted the barbarians as liberators. Overall, the book accomplishes what it sets out to do.

Collapse of Complex Societies

Tainter has written or edited many articles and monographs. It might be far fetched but it is possible that is what happened. A second hole is his treatment of collapse as happening only in a power vacuum, and that collapse cannot happen where there are competing societies which would predate upon weakening ones.

His arguably best-known work, The Collapse of Complex Societiesexamines the collapse of Maya and Chacoan civilizations,[2] and of the Western Roman Empire, in terms of network theory, energy economics and complexity theory. May 16, Dave rated it really liked it. He loathes any kind of non-quantifiable ranking that implies, for example, that sophisticated art, literary accomplishments, monumental architecture, or philosophy are characteristics of complex societies—that is, of civilizations.

The marginal product of increasing complexity. Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone.

The farmer buying the fast tractor doesn’t see the oil cost in it’s impact on fertilizer cost, or food prices in poor countries, or something similar, so he makes what is for him the right Local decision, but Globally, it is the wrong one. Thus, we learn a great skcieties about the state of anthropological and archaeological knowledge as of thirty years ago.

  AEG KHF 4217 PDF

The Collapse of Complex Societies – Joseph Tainter – Google Books

Eventually, this cost grew so great that any new challenges such as invasions and crop failures could not be solved by the acquisition collape more territory. Chaco Canyon Chacoan civilization collapse competition complex societies conflict coklapse costly costs Culbert n. Tainter makes the terminological distinction between ‘Civilizations’ and ‘Complex-Societies’.

But very much worth it. We do nothing about it. All problem solving organizations are subject to cost-benefit analysis. No trivia or quizzes yet. Sep 12, Matthew rated it it was amazing.

These offer different levels of complexity and different sources of evidence to compare against each other. Any explanation of societal collapse carries lessons not just for the study of ancient societies, but for the members of all such societies in both the present and future.

It taiinter often assumed that the collapse of the western Roman Empire was a catastrophe for everyone involved.

Dazzlingly brilliant, readable, profoundly insightful, this is a must-read for anyone thinking about what societal collapse means and how it comes about.