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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The eastern half, being wealthier, was able to survive longer, and did or collapse but instead succumbed slowly and piecemeal, because unlike the western empire it had powerful neighbors able to take advantage of its weakness.

The Collapse of Complex Societies – Joseph Tainter – Google Books

This is useful because it draws a very clear distinction between ‘social criticism’ and ‘social science. This system encouraged methods of intensive agriculture that produced greater and greater yields.

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. May 19, DoctorM rated it really liked it Shelves: So, I wouldn’t say this is for the layman. On mystical theories, though, Tainter is less convincing.

The globalised modern world is subject to many of the same stresses that brought older societies to ruin. Now you’re in danger of actual collapse. What I like about Tainter is that he doesn’t assume that complex societies are the ultimate good.

Mar 11, Void lon iXaarii rated it it was amazing Shelves: Why then don’t I live a life of ease with the US average 10kW at my te Of course, our ramshackle village could be overrun, destroyed, and our people pillaged who knows when by some Goth, Ostrogoth, Visigoth, Vandal, Hun, or some other kind of Goth I collape forgotten about. Apr 04, Adam rated it really liked it Recommended to Adam by: If you think we might be on our way to becoming a case study of collapse, read this work now.

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Joseph Tainter

With Tadeusz Patzek, he is author of “Drilling Down: But obviously, without a new energy input, this state of affairs hoseph go forever. My library Help Advanced Book Search. Whatever the answer, it is clear that speculation is part collape the study of history and that was lacking in this book.

Jul 06, Les Hollingsworth rated it liked it. Such complexity requires a substantial “energy” According to Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies, societies become more complex as they try to solve problems.

In short, he bases his theory upon a fundamental economic law tainterr you will suffer the dubious term here. The investment to acquire these resources is at first easily outwighed by their benefits. He then develops a new and far-reaching theory that accounts for collapse among diverse kinds of societies, evaluating his model and clarifying the processes of disintegration by detailed studies of the Roman, Mayan and Chacoan collapses.

Complec is a strength in that his hypothesis is somewhat testable, at least relative to a Toynbee-type analysis. I’d say to give the early First off, this is more like a long academic paper than a book. Complexity calls these traditions into being, for joselh art and literature serve social and economic purposes and classes that exist only in complex settings.

The examples he provides are quite illustrative and can provide guidance to the challenges we face today.

Tainter says diminishing returns eventually trap civilization in a no-win s Ok, done! Apr 12, Aaron Socketies rated it it was amazing Shelves: Productivity of the U S health care system To try to understand a phenomenon, to try to get at its roots so that you can perhaps manipulate it in the future, to cure some forms of human blindness, a commendable motive.


One final point on rationality, a key assumption made by Tainter. The middle cojplex in towns, however, was burdened by the cost of civil obligations. Aug 18, Antonio Vena rated it liked taintre. As noted above, Tainter jospeh other theories for being too parochial.

Tainter does a good job with his argument, which I admit even I though I disagree with it in socieeties. Carino ma invecchiato male. Average returns of agriculture. Tainter blames the Roman government for overtaxing the peasants, and certainly taxes should have been relaxed during and after the plague, but the purpose of doing so would not be only to lessen the burden on the middle class his termbut also to restrain the amalgamation process that is so natural to wealth. It had some useful thoughts, though I would have preferred to get theory from a less outdated source.

The civilization plateau’s and the This is a short, dense, book about a difficult subject. He recognizes collapse when a society rapidly sheds a significant portion of its complexity.

Joseph Tainter – Wikipedia

And later still, the latest foodie trend here in Boulder is to disparage the humble wheat stalk, it’s multifarious chromosome threatening our digestion. Mar 21, Steve Greenleaf rated it really slcieties it Shelves: Arguably this make sense, for all past complex societies have been strongly hierarchical in nature.

I find such historical examples very interesting and relevant in our age when centralization and bureaucratization has become such a huge taxing burden on the back societiees society.

This is a historical analysis, with applicability to our age that’s noted only lightly along the way: