Part of New Studies in Archaeology. Author: Joseph Tainter. Date Published: March ; availability: Available; format: Paperback; isbn: Notes on “The Collapse of Complex Societies” (J. Tainter). 1. Introduction to Collapse. Intro! The sublime mystery of collapsed civilizations and dark portents. 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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The comparisons didn’t appear to be “cherry picked” because they fit the A review of this book requires a different standard than your everyday ‘fun’ book. He bemoans rich white guy art and literature disappearingleading to a “dark age”. Refresh and try again.

Collapse of Complex Societies

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. One final point on rationality, a key assumption made kf Tainter. Therefore collapse can be good, and it needn’t be feared. A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age on the idea that, by Tainter’s requirement that collapse occurs “within a few decades,” collapse is rare.

This allows for the support of specialized roles that do not necessarily contribute to the tinter of the society aristocrats, priest castes, etc.

Joseph Tainter – Wikipedia

Co,lapse Schweitzer – – Prometheus Books. Sort of scary in retrospect how many complex, seemingly stable societies basically evaporated over the course of only a few collapsf and that civilization as we know it has a relatively short existence compared to the totality of human existence.


Others, like class conflict, environmental catastrophe, or barbarian invasion are deemed inadequate, since those are precisely the sort of challenges that complex societies were created to address.

Tainter’s opus is a work of the sort that I have missed in my post-graduate world: Detailed studies of the Roman, Mayan and Cacoan collapses clarify the processes of disintegration.

Jan 24, Charles rated it liked it.

The implications for modern society are many and thought-provoking. The answer is that we use it up. Tainter makes the terminological distinction between ‘Civilizations’ and ‘Complex-Societies’. Tainter is josrph much set on finding a ‘global theory,’ which can explain the recurring phenomenon of collapse found in any given place. Any study of history must involve people, which will involve more than economic exchanges.

Joseph Tainter: The Collapse Of Complex Societies | Zero Hedge

The bibliography is astonishing. Trivia About Collapse of Compl Tainter does a good job with his argument, which I admit even I though I disagree with it in part.

Overall, the book accomplishes what it sets out to do. Jan 25, Zora rated it liked it. Apr 12, Aaron Arnold rated it it was amazing Shelves: Apr 18, David rated it really liked it Shelves: Request removal from index.


He also sees no way out – with no new territory to conquer and no new energy subsidy to replace oil, the industrial lifestyle will outlive its value and be replaced by a oof adaptive organization at some point he wisely declines to say when he thinks this will happen. Eventually, this cost grew so great that any new challenges such as invasions and crop failures could not be solved by the acquisition of more territory. What I like about Tainter colllapse that he doesn’t assume that complex societies are the ultimate good.

This is a minor colpapse and a major weakness of his book. Fo marginal returns on complexity complexity being a term of art in this instance. On mystical theories, though, Tainter is less convincing.

One would think we long for collapse, and the sooner, the better. Intense, authoritarian efforts to maintain cohesion by Domitian and Constantine the Great only led to an ever greater strain on the population. Basically the argument can be summed up as declining marginal returns to societal complexity resulting in a natural economic solution of less complexity to restore balance.