Part of New Studies in Archaeology. Author: Joseph Tainter. Date Published: March ; availability: Available; format: Paperback; isbn: 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. Political disintegration is a persistent feature of world history. The Collapse of Complex Societies, though written by an archaeologist, will therefore strike a chord.
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This was good writing, to even allow viewpoints that one disagrees with is a mark of intellectual integrity.
Tainter has written and edited many articles and monographs.
Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph A. Tainter
And later still, the latest foodie trend here in Boulder is to disparage the humble wheat stalk, it’s multifarious chromosome threatening our digestion. For example, did Germany under the Nazis act rationally?
This book is illuminating. Return to Book Page.
It is a strength in that his hypothesis is somewhat testable, at least relative to a Toynbee-type analysis. Yet, it lives up to the title: For Tainter the economic determinist, superiority is only superior when it is measurable, using a scale of which he approves, and all other superiority is a value judgment, and hence anathema.
So when the modern, globalized economy goes down, it basically has to all go down together.
Collapse of Complex Societies
collapae 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. Average returns of agriculture. Tainter applies his diminishing marginal returns analysis broadly, to everything from agriculture to scientific progress. This is useful because it draws a very clear distinction between ‘social complxe and ‘social science.
Mar 11, Void lon colapse rated it it was amazing Shelves: What was useful to me: The level of scholarship is high, and his examples are well-argued. We cannot delve into the wormhole of human psychology, he says, because if you are trying to build a model, you have to be able to account for your variables.
When their borders reached a certain point, the costs of maintaining the empire exceeded the possible gains by further conquest.
If a collapse happens, it can only be global and catastrophic on a scale previously unseen by humanity. All cultures as culture copmlex imprisoned in the iron framework that Tainter builds, subject to the inevitable pressure of econometrics.
Rome is, of course, a primary example, with Mayan culture, Chaco Turns out all the reasons I thought caused collapse were straw man reasons invented by their writers to push an agenda, or just poor research.
Feb 18, Ryan rated it really liked it Shelves: The marginal product of increasing complexity. Tainter’s work here is a dissection of what it means for a society to ‘collapse’, and an attempt at a rigorous causal explanation for why that collapse happens.
Feb 03, Mark rated it it was amazing. The examples he provides are quite illustrative and can provide guidance to the challenges we face today.
He bemoans rich white guy art and literature disappearingleading to a “dark age”.
I was delighted to see the author picking a large spectrum of historical events in the treatment of hist subject, trying to pick common and logical similarities and differences that would allow one to form a bigger picture! Tainter offers a sober view of the collapse of complex societies, he considered the viewpoints of so many sources that it is safe to take his word for it.
Why do outputs have to exceed inputs? Reductions in fuel consumption of steam engines resulting from increases in thermal efficiency. Dr Tainter’s homepage Archived at the Wayback Machine.: For the Romans, the empire was essentially founded on conquest.