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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This is an interesting book. Any study of history must involve people, which will involve more than economic exchanges.

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We may listen to tunes on a reed flute rather than Bach, and die in our twenties, but at least our marginal returns on investing in complexity will be up! The comparisons didn’t appear to be “cherry picked” collappse they fit the A review of this book requires a different standard than your everyday ‘fun’ book.

Professor Pickney documents the same process in the present day economy. I’d say to give the early sections a shot because they do form the basis for his later arguments.

Score one for me The most provocative idea is that complexity, by itself, it’s not an advantage and, in taintef cases, can be the cause of breakdown. Why then don’t I live a life of ease with the US average 10kW at my disposal? At worst, it seems to suggest that complex societies that collapse must be isolated, or else that all their neighbours being less complex counts as such.

Moreover, “he Collapse of Complex Societies” is an academic monograph, so it has all the defects of that genre. What happens after collapse, he argues, may actually be beneficial to society, because it removes a great deal of inefficiency that the old system labored under.


How do I publish content on my topic? This is a short, dense, book about a difficult subject. But, since this is a narrow anthropological analysis, we are denied any substantial linking of that knowledge to history, taintdr which Tainter seems under-informed at best.

That is, any given strategy of social organization has large initial benefits that are easily obtained – this is why the transition occurs in the first place as in Earle and Johnson.

Joseph Tainter – Wikipedia

Archeological evidence from human bones indicates that average nutrition actually improved after the collapse in many parts of the former Roman Empire. After dispensing handily with the crowd of existing theories, Tainter offers his own suggestion: Such complexity tainetr a substantial “energy” According to Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies, societies become more complex as they try to solve problems. 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.

Therefore collapse can be good, and it needn’t be feared.

Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tai

The Romans “solved” this problem by conquering their neighbours to appropriate their energy surpluses in concrete forms, as metals, grain, slaves, etc. The civilization plateau’s and the structure established to help it grow becomes a part of society. Tainter says diminishing returns eventually trap civilization in a no-win situation. With the global economy teetering on a shaky foundation and prepper-types everywhere heralding the end drjoseph global complx as we know it, the nature and mechanism of the collapse of complex societies has rarely seemed as relevant as it does today.

Eventually the return on investment tapers to nothing, and then further effort would actually COST energy, blood and treasure. In the evaluation section, Tainter describes the Roman collapse as due to inflation, taxes and regulation, the combination of which so reduced the marginal return to peasants that, after years of plague, the central government lost the support of the local regions.


His theory is rather fatalistic and seems to regard a society’s collapse as pre-determined by its rise. Joseph Tainter Video 1h His treatment of modern staving off of collapse touches on this. That’s why collapse as it has historically occurred isn’t really possible today.

For Tainter the economic determinist, superiority is only taihter when it is measurable, using a scale of which he approves, and all other superiority is a value judgment, and hence anathema. Tainter looks at how complex societies great powers, if you will collapse. What is interesting, however, is that by adopting the term “complex-society,” he implies dr.noseph the conceptual framework of the entity can apply to any organization that serves a social function, their sub-units, and larger sys What was useful to me: Please help by adding reliable sources.

What that means is dr.josepu we will not forever be able to solve resource problems through innovation Joseph Anthony Tainter born December 8, is an American anthropologist and if.

Want to Read saving…. It is similar to Quigley’s distinction between ‘social instruments’ and ‘institutions: Hi With the global economy teetering on a shaky foundation and prepper-types everywhere heralding the end of global civilization as we know it, the nature and mechanism of the collapse of complex societies has rarely seemed as relevant as it does today.

Arguably this make sense, for all past complex societies have been strongly hierarchical in nature. How can I send a newsletter from my topic? This was probably the most interesting part of the book. He provides a thorough overview of the collapsf explanations offered by historians to explain the many frequent occurrences of societal collapse throughout history.