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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This entry has no external links. Does the continued failure in the United States government to regulate the production of greenhouse gases, having known about the phenomenon since the s, appear rational?
Tainter has nothing positive to say about the modern global situation. Finally, the complex structure begins to a positive drain on the civilization as it has to spend more and more to get less and less. It’s a little ponderous to read, because it is documented and reasoned like a thesis. Here’s a nation that has “collapsed” by choosing to stop being an empire and instead become a stable small state, a lower form.
Disagreements aside, Tainter does seem to build a convincing explanation for collapses, even if his focus within the model is probably slightly askew. Apr 18, David rated it really liked it Shelves: His argument boils down to a few key points: This book seems to be the workhorse of the industrial-collapse intellectual set Jared DiamondDerrick JensenJohn Michael Greeretc.
Consumption of all the slack technology provides leads to an irrevocable commitment to complexity and interdependency. In a world of competing polities, it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Broadbent – – World Futures 62 8: Views Read Edit View history.
The empire was split into two halves, of which the western soon fragmented into smaller units. Such complexity requires a substantial “energy” According to Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies, societies become more complex as they try to solve problems.
Imagine living in Western Europe ca.
Collapse of Complex Societies
This is a tough book to summarize, both because it’s so dense and well-sourced it reminds me of grad school, and because it tackles a bunch fo big, abstract questions, like what makes societies fail. After devaluation of coinage, his main discussion has been about taxes. Aug 18, Antonio Vena rated it liked it.
Hushour rated it liked it. To maintain and expand complexity which is a good strategy when new resources are low investment accessible a society must continue to societjes the amount of resources available to it to support classes that do not contribute to resource expansion.
April Learn how and when to remove this template message. Can we get out from under excessive demands for complexity? 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.
This may reflect his own background in archaeology, and is not necessarily problematic in a world literature which focuses heavily on the histories of Eurasian societies, but I do partly wonder if the choices of societies are motivated by popular concerns. For the Romans, the empire was essentially founded on conquest.
Joseph Tainter – Wikipedia
Such is the nature of comparative case-based research. Jun 30, Betawolf rated it really liked it Shelves: Tainter reviews virtually all of the prevailing theories. Peter Baofu – – Peter Lang. Instead his analysis of Mayan, Roman, Cacoan civilizations and others, but these mainly lead him to arrive at a bigger theory, that seems to explain much better and analytically all of the cases and even cases which are given unsatisfactory answers by other historians leading them to say obscure stuff such as “this great civilization disappeared suddenly and without reason”.
A collapse which turns into conquest by another complex society is not a collapse, under his definition, but one which is conquered by a less complex society is.
Mar 11, Void lon iXaarii rated it it was amazing Shelves: As noted above, Tainter critiques other theories for being too parochial.
He seems fair and level-headed.
I expect that there will be developments which follow on from Tainter and adjust his model in various important ways, but I also expect that his field will not judge him as significantly misguided.
And we have maintained it up tianter this point.
Quigley, though, gave more credence to cultural developments; probably as a useful indicator of the ideological state of the majority. Intense, authoritarian efforts to maintain cohesion by Domitian and Constantine the Great only led to an ever greater strain on the population. Normally I am a bit skeptical of the analysis of historians as they seem to often have soft logic, often recurring to very subjective values or opinions, and telling long and boring stories about concepts such as heroism, some small details, series of random eveniments and such things, which are all good and great, but seem to me to have little explanatory power But I’ll take that any day over the economic inefficiency of the late Roman Empire.
Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph A. Tainter
This was a quite interesting book. Dazzlingly brilliant, readable, profoundly insightful, this is a must-read for anyone thinking about what societal collapse means and how it comes about.
Professor Pickney documents the same process in the present day economy. Whatever the answer, it is clear that speculation is part of the study of history and that was lacking in this book. Archeological evidence from human bones indicates that average nutrition actually improved after the collapse in many parts of the former Roman Empire.
Tainter looks at how complex societies great powers, if you will collapse. Tainter, who first ch. At no point, though, does he make any effort to actually address any such theory; he bootstraps his disgust into a conclusion, in essence treating Toynbee as no better than an Aztec priest tearing the hearts out of sacrificial victims to appease Huitzilopochtli and ensure the rising of the Sun. Here Tainter analyzes many of the ways that groups of people can completely fail to maintain the complicated but fragile webs of interaction that separate us from animals trade, governance, food production, resource extractionwith examples from the Mayans, Romans, Hittites, Babylonians, and many more.
Books by Joseph A. So I put responsibility on individuals to broaden their knowledge. Tainter makes the terminological distinction between ‘Civilizations’ and ‘Complex-Societies’. This allows for the support of specialized roles that do not necessarily contribute to the sustainability of the society aristocrats, priest castes, etc. Of the many fantastic examples in the book one of the most interesting is the fall of the roman empire in the th centuries when a traditional historian might say that roman provinces fell under barbarian conquest the author brings forth evidence that many of the peasants, long exhausted by the roman bureaucratic parasitic aparatus not only became apathetic towards the roman empire but actually invited the barbarians to conquer them as their lives would improve with lower taxes for the same or better levels of protection.