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Collapse of Empires & Civilizations

There are periods of history when the visions of madmen and dope fiends are a better guide to reality than the common-sense interpretation of data available to the so-called normal mind. This is one such period, if you haven't noticed already.
                                        -Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson,     
                                                                    The Illuminatus Trilogy

Logic of Collapse
Jeff Vail


"I’ve just finished Joseph A. Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies. It is a truly remarkable book—very academic, but fascinating, rigorous and very, very important....

This whole thing starts off very simply, with as close as one can get to a “Law” of economics: When you’re hungry, you first pick the low-hanging fruit. Put another way, when faced with an ongoing problem to which there are multiple solutions, you pick the easiest solutions first. First you pick the low-hanging fruit. When hunger returns, you drag out the ladder and start picking ever more difficult to reach fruit. Simple.

In economics, this phenomenon is known as the law of diminishing marginal return."

Click here to finish reading the Logic of Collapse.

Ecology, Anarchy, & Primitivism from the Tribe of Anthropik

This may well be the best online resource on why civilizations collapse and the emergent tribalism. The writing is scholarly yet easy to read. The Thirty Theses of Collapse is a book-in-progress which will be published in mid-2006. The essays cover the gamut of works on why civilizations collapse. The writings are influenced by Daniel Quinn's books.

Interesting fact: "Man" in his various reincarnations has been around for about 2.4 million years. (Sorry, Pat Robertson, but the world is not 6000 years old.) How long has man been an agriculturist? Well, to answer that we will use an analogy from Jared Diamond: think of a 24 hour clock with each hour representing 100,000 years of man's existence. For the first 23 hours and 54 minutes, man was a nomadic forager. Only during the last 6 minutes (i.e., 10,000 years) has he been an agriculturist. Anthropik explains in the Thirty Theses why civilization is in danger of collapsing as the oil runs out.

Additional Articles on Collapse

Why Societies Collapse

Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, & Steel and Collapse.

Potted History
Here's an overview of every civilization and empire that rose...and fell. There haven't been any exceptions to date.

The Twilight of the Modern World (PDF)  by
Paul Thompson. A  detailed explanation of how the author believes modern society will break down and how to handle it.

Letter from the Future (c. 2101) by Richard Heinberg

The Final Empire: The Collapse of Civilization and the Seed of the Future by William H Kotke. The book is now available in full online.

How Civilizations Fall: A Theory of Catabolic Collapse

by one of the best writers on collapse, John Michael Greer

This section will be expanded shortly with in depth articles on how people survived recent economic collapses in the former Soviet Union republics, Argentina, and Cuba.

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