April 25, 2020 0 Comments

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.

Author: Gat Moogujinn
Country: Gabon
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Science
Published (Last): 21 June 2004
Pages: 410
PDF File Size: 10.69 Mb
ePub File Size: 18.50 Mb
ISBN: 785-9-66106-520-3
Downloads: 85463
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Zulut

We know oil is finite, yet we do little about it. We cannot shelf away the fact that most history is speculative, and if we think of the present time, if someone looks at your room how much will they be able to tell about you?

A final idea I’ll offer is that we become addicted.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. There are the usual suspects of catastrophes, resource depletion, inability to respond to a crisis, moral decay among the population and on and on with the usual tropes Tainterr real reason is something subtle but powerful; economics.

We do nothing about it. Imagine living in Western Europe ca.

Joseph Tainter – Wikipedia

Thus, we learn a great deal about the state of anthropological and archaeological joxeph as of thirty years ago. Dr Tainter’s homepage Archived at the Wayback Machine.: Such complexity requires a substantial “energy” subsidy meaning the consumption of resources, or other forms of wealth.

Coklapse is very much set on finding a ‘global theory,’ which can explain the recurring phenomenon of collapse found in any given place. And at what “collapse” means and at how the word has been misused.


So the change becomes not really an improvement, but instead a permanent commitment to additional infrastructure, additional uoseph. Tainter’s opus is a work of the sort that I have missed in my post-graduate world: Kipling perhaps captured the role of moral virtues in civilizations best in “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” This is why purely economic theories for the Great Divergence are always miserably incomplete—they take no account of culture, which cannot be quantified, but is determinative of the course of a civilization.

Want to Read saving…. Tainter points out that it can be seen as a very rational preference of individuals socieites the complrx, many of whom were actually jozeph off. 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. After dispensing handily with the crowd of existing theories, Tainter offers his own suggestion: While the conditions in all three are wildly different, the declining returns on sociopolitical complexity are implicated each time.

Joseph Tainter

While academic in presentation it is well researched with many collapsd to related worksthe book remains accessible to a general audience interested in explanations of the numerous cases of the fall of civilizations in history.

The marginal product of increasing complexity with technological innovation or acquisition of an energy subsidy. What you don’t get is what I selfishly expected: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Archeological evidence from human bones indicates that average nutrition actually improved after the collapse in many parts of the former Societjes Empire. Productivity of caloric intake for increasing life expectancy.

Return to Book Page.

Collapse of Complex Societies

His focus on regulations and taxes makes one feel Tainter is comlpex with the Chi-town gang. I am by no means an archeologist professional or amateur but was able to make my way through this part, picking most of what Tainter was trying to communicate. These bits are neat, but this is only a small part of the book.


Nov 29, Mike rated it it was amazing Shelves: Rather, we get a lot of description.

One final point on rationality, a key assumption made by Tainter. I really enjoyed this book because of the unique perspective Tainter presents in explaining the collapse of complex societies. Specialization in American education In short, he bases his theory upon a fundamental economic law if you will suffer the dubious term here.

Detailed studies vomplex the Roman, Mayan and Cacoan collapses clarify the processes of disintegration. Eventually a society will reach a point where existing resources or potential new resources cannot maintain the level of complexity the society currently has.

Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph A. Tainter

Tainter proceeds to evaluate the study of collapse itself, with an eye to establishing himself as unique, and all predecessors as pretenders. Tainter, who first ch.

So the crux of Tainter’s argument is that the development of a complex society is predicated on the explotation of low hanging resources. This is well comples 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.

When did the Japanese leadership decide it had had enough?