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Thread: Are We On The Road To Civilization Collapse? - BBC

  1. #1

    Are We On The Road To Civilization Collapse? - BBC

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2019...ation-collapse

    Studying the demise of historic civilisations can tell us how much risk we face today, says collapse expert Luke Kemp. Worryingly, the signs are worsening.

    -
    By Luke Kemp
    19 February 2019

    So concluded the historian Arnold Toynbee in his 12-volume magnum opus A Study of History. It was an exploration of the rise and fall of 28 different civilisations.

    He was right in some respects: civilisations are often responsible for their own decline. However, their self-destruction is usually assisted.

    The Roman Empire, for example, was the victim of many ills including overexpansion, climatic change, environmental degradation and poor leadership. But it was also brought to its knees when Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 and the Vandals in 455.

    Collapse is often quick and greatness provides no immunity. The Roman Empire covered 4.4 million sq km (1.9 million sq miles) in 390. Five years later, it had plummeted to 2 million sq km (770,000 sq miles). By 476, the empire’s reach was zero.

    Our deep past is marked by recurring failure. As part of my research at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge, I am attempting to find out why collapse occurs through a historical autopsy. What can the rise and fall of historic civilisations tell us about our own? What are the forces that precipitate or delay a collapse? And do we see similar patterns today?

    ---

    The first way to look at past civilisations is to compare their longevity. This can be difficult, because there is no strict definition of civilisation, nor an overarching database of their births and deaths.

    In the graphic below, I have compared the lifespan of various civilisations, which I define as a society with agriculture, multiple cities, military dominance in its geographical region and a continuous political structure. Given this definition, all empires are civilisations, but not all civilisations are empires. The data is drawn from two studies on the growth and decline of empires (for 3000-600BC and 600BC-600), and an informal, crowd-sourced survey of ancient civilisations (which I have amended).



    Collapse can be defined as a rapid and enduring loss of population, identity and socio-economic complexity. Public services crumble and disorder ensues as government loses control of its monopoly on violence.

    Virtually all past civilisations have faced this fate. Some recovered or transformed, such as the Chinese and Egyptian. Other collapses were permanent, as was the case of Easter Island. Sometimes the cities at the epicentre of collapse are revived, as was the case with Rome. In other cases, such as the Mayan ruins, they are left abandoned as a mausoleum for future tourists.

    What can this tell us about the future of global modern civilisation? Are the lessons of agrarian empires applicable to our post-18th Century period of industrial capitalism?

    I would argue that they are. Societies of the past and present are just complex systems composed of people and technology. The theory of “normal accidents” suggests that complex technological systems regularly give way to failure. So collapse may be a normal phenomenon for civilisations, regardless of their size and stage.

    We may be more technologically advanced now. But this gives little ground to believe that we are immune to the threats that undid our ancestors. Our newfound technological abilities even bring new, unprecedented challenges to the mix.

    And while our scale may now be global, collapse appears to happen to both sprawling empires and fledgling kingdoms alike. There is no reason to believe that greater size is armour against societal dissolution. Our tightly-coupled, globalised economic system is, if anything, more likely to make crisis spread.

    If the fate of previous civilisations can be a roadmap to our future, what does it say? One method is to examine the trends that preceded historic collapses and see how they are unfolding today.

    While there is no single accepted theory for why collapses happen, historians, anthropologists and others have proposed various explanations, including:

    CLIMATIC CHANGE: When climatic stability changes, the results can be disastrous, resulting in crop failure, starvation and desertification. The collapse of the Anasazi, the Tiwanaku civilisation, the Akkadians, the Mayan, the Roman Empire, and many others have all coincided with abrupt climatic changes, usually droughts.

    ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION: Collapse can occur when societies overshoot the carrying capacity of their environment. This ecological collapse theory, which has been the subject of bestselling books, points to excessive deforestation, water pollution, soil degradation and the loss of biodiversity as precipitating causes.

    INEQUALITY AND OLIGARCHY: Wealth and political inequality can be central drivers of social disintegration, as can oligarchy and centralisation of power among leaders. This not only causes social distress, but handicaps a society’s ability to respond to ecological, social and economic problems.

    The field of cliodynamics models how factors such as equality and demography correlate with political violence. Statistical analysis of previous societies suggests that this happens in cycles. As population increases, the supply of labour outstrips demand, workers become cheap and society becomes top-heavy. This inequality undermines collective solidarity and political turbulence follows.

    ...
    Full article at link.

    ---

    Personally, I do not always agree with the stuff I post, so feel free to rip it to shreds. What I do not like to hear is to immediately point to Climate Change as one of the sources of problems. The trouble isnt that things like Droughts occur, our problem is that Govt solution to most problems is far too often worse than the problem itself. The last part I copied and left off at about Oligarchs seems to be quite accurate, in that we have a total centralization of power and overabundance of Cheap Labor. Feel free to add or refute the claims of the article as you see fit.
    1776 > 1984

    The FAILURE of the United States Government to operate and maintain an
    Honest Money System , which frees the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, is the single largest contributing factor to the World's current Economic Crisis.

    The Elimination of Privacy is the Architecture of Genocide

    Belief, Money, and Violence are the three ways all people are controlled

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Our central bank is not privately owned.



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  3. #2

    Are we on the road to civilisation collapse?

    https://www.bbc.com/future/article/2...ation-collapse

    Long article. Read the rest at link if interested.

    Studying the demise of historic civilisations can tell us how much risk we face today, says collapse expert Luke Kemp. Worryingly, the signs are worsening.

    Great civilisations are not murdered. Instead, they take their own lives.

    So concluded the historian Arnold Toynbee in his 12-volume magnum opus A Study of History. It was an exploration of the rise and fall of 28 different civilisations.

    He was right in some respects: civilisations are often responsible for their own decline. However, their self-destruction is usually assisted.

    The Roman Empire, for example, was the victim of many ills including overexpansion, climatic change, environmental degradation and poor leadership. But it was also brought to its knees when Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 and the Vandals in 455.

    Collapse is often quick and greatness provides no immunity. The Roman Empire covered 4.4 million sq km (1.9 million sq miles) in 390. Five years later, it had plummeted to 2 million sq km (770,000 sq miles). By 476, the empire’s reach was zero.

    Our deep past is marked by recurring failure. As part of my research at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge, I am attempting to find out why collapse occurs through a historical autopsy. What can the rise and fall of historic civilisations tell us about our own? What are the forces that precipitate or delay a collapse? And do we see similar patterns today?

    The first way to look at past civilisations is to compare their longevity. This can be difficult, because there is no strict definition of civilisation, nor an overarching database of their births and deaths.

    In the graphic below, I have compared the lifespan of various civilisations, which I define as a society with agriculture, multiple cities, military dominance in its geographical region and a continuous political structure. Given this definition, all empires are civilisations, but not all civilisations are empires. The data is drawn from two studies on the growth and decline of empires (for 3000-600BC and 600BC-600), and an informal, crowd-sourced survey of ancient civilisations (which I have amended).



    Collapse can be defined as a rapid and enduring loss of population, identity and socio-economic complexity. Public services crumble and disorder ensues as government loses control of its monopoly on violence.

    Virtually all past civilisations have faced this fate. Some recovered or transformed, such as the Chinese and Egyptian. Other collapses were permanent, as was the case of Easter Island. Sometimes the cities at the epicentre of collapse are revived, as was the case with Rome. In other cases, such as the Mayan ruins, they are left abandoned as a mausoleum for future tourists.

    What can this tell us about the future of global modern civilisation? Are the lessons of agrarian empires applicable to our post-18th Century period of industrial capitalism?
    While there is no single accepted theory for why collapses happen, historians, anthropologists and others have proposed various explanations, including:

    CLIMATIC CHANGE: When climatic stability changes, the results can be disastrous, resulting in crop failure, starvation and desertification. The collapse of the Anasazi, the Tiwanaku civilisation, the Akkadians, the Mayan, the Roman Empire, and many others have all coincided with abrupt climatic changes, usually droughts.

    ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION: Collapse can occur when societies overshoot the carrying capacity of their environment. This ecological collapse theory, which has been the subject of bestselling books, points to excessive deforestation, water pollution, soil degradation and the loss of biodiversity as precipitating causes.

    INEQUALITY AND OLIGARCHY: Wealth and political inequality can be central drivers of social disintegration, as can oligarchy and centralisation of power among leaders. This not only causes social distress, but handicaps a society’s ability to respond to ecological, social and economic problems.

    The field of cliodynamics models how factors such as equality and demography correlate with political violence. Statistical analysis of previous societies suggests that this happens in cycles. As population increases, the supply of labour outstrips demand, workers become cheap and society becomes top-heavy. This inequality undermines collective solidarity and political turbulence follows.

    COMPLEXITY: Collapse expert and historian Joseph Tainter has proposed that societies eventually collapse under the weight of their own accumulated complexity and bureaucracy. Societies are problem-solving collectives that grow in complexity in order to overcome new issues. However, the returns from complexity eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. After this point, collapse will eventually ensue.

    Another measure of increasing complexity is called Energy Return on Investment (EROI). This refers to the ratio between the amount of energy produced by a resource relative to the energy needed to obtain it. Like complexity, EROI appears to have a point of diminishing returns. In his book The Upside of Down, the political scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon observed that environmental degradation throughout the Roman Empire led to falling EROI from their staple energy source: crops of wheat and alfalfa. The empire fell alongside their EROI. Tainter also blames it as a chief culprit of collapse, including for the Mayan.

    EXTERNAL SHOCKS: In other words, the “four horsemen”: war, natural disasters, famine and plagues. The Aztec Empire, for example, was brought to an end by Spanish invaders. Most early agrarian states were fleeting due to deadly epidemics. The concentration of humans and cattle in walled settlements with poor hygiene made disease outbreaks unavoidable and catastrophic. Sometimes disasters combined, as was the case with the Spanish introducing salmonella to the Americas.

    RANDOMNESS/BAD LUCK: Statistical analysis on empires suggests that collapse is random and independent of age. Evolutionary biologist and data scientist Indre Zliobaite and her colleagues have observed a similar pattern in the evolutionary record of species. A common explanation of this apparent randomness is the “Red Queen Effect”: if species are constantly fighting for survival in a changing environment with numerous competitors, extinction is a consistent possibility.
    See the link for more. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/2...ation-collapse

  4. #3
    Yes. Society is collapsing and there is nothing we can do to stop it.
    "Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration is minding my own business."

    Calvin Coolidge

  5. #4
    The field of cliodynamics models how factors such as equality and demography correlate with political violence. Statistical analysis of previous societies suggests that this happens in cycles. As population increases, the supply of labour outstrips demand, workers become cheap and society becomes top-heavy. This inequality undermines collective solidarity and political turbulence follows.
    Put another way, that anything put out by The Beeb would never admit:

    Diversity is NOT your strength.

    China has been a relatively homogeneous, advanced civilization for over 5000 years and still going strong.

    Undermine "collective solidarity", import a whole class of "others" thereby increasing population while at the same time rotting the foundation of the existing society and you will have collapse.

  6. #5
    According to the Complexity rule all societies will eventually fail due to an accumulation of bureaucrats . So , the root cause is always big govt . My society will flourish because only I am in charge .
    Last edited by oyarde; 12-31-2019 at 10:16 PM.

  7. #6
    ONLY
    BY
    DESIGN

    why I should worship the state (who apparently is the only party that can possess guns without question).
    The state's only purpose is to kill and control. Why do you worship it? - Sola_Fide

    Baptiste said.
    At which point will Americans realize that creating an unaccountable institution that is able to pass its liability on to tax-payers is immoral and attracts sociopaths?

  8. #7
    What if this time automation keeps civilization going on without the lower classes that were previously needed for basic production? Kind of failing them, but succeeding for the upper class?

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by VIDEODROME View Post
    What if this time automation keeps civilization going on without the lower classes that were previously needed for basic production? Kind of failing them, but succeeding for the upper class?
    War.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment



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  11. #9

  12. #10
    This is just a $#@!ing awesome version of "Road to Nowhere"...


  13. #11
    Bureaucrats solve problems and make life better.

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Put another way, that anything put out by The Beeb would never admit:

    Diversity is NOT your strength.

    China has been a relatively homogeneous, advanced civilization for over 5000 years and still going strong.

    Undermine "collective solidarity", import a whole class of "others" thereby increasing population while at the same time rotting the foundation of the existing society and you will have collapse.
    China is a third world $#@!hole country. The average person lives on nothing. The government executes and disappears people like the mafia. Part of the reason it isn't diverse is no person would want to live there. Russia isn't very diverse either. China needs a collapse and overthrow.

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Put another way, that anything put out by The Beeb would never admit:

    Diversity is NOT your strength.

    China has been a relatively homogeneous, advanced civilization for over 5000 years and still going strong.

    Undermine "collective solidarity", import a whole class of "others" thereby increasing population while at the same time rotting the foundation of the existing society and you will have collapse.
    China's governments have collapsed quite a few times in those 5,000 years. Dictatorial rulers help keep things under control.

  16. #14
    More doomsday and despair from the left, purely to push their agenda. Climate change, inequality.

    COMPLEXITY: Collapse expert and historian Joseph Tainter has proposed that societies eventually collapse under the weight of their own accumulated complexity and bureaucracy. Societies are problem-solving collectives that grow in complexity in order to overcome new issues. However, the returns from complexity eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. After this point, collapse will eventually ensue.
    Ignore that part. All leftist solutions call for dramatically increasing complexity, bureaucracy, and government authority.
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul
    They are what they hate.” - B4L


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Krugminator2 View Post
    China is a third world $#@!hole country. The average person lives on nothing. The government executes and disappears people like the mafia. Part of the reason it isn't diverse is no person would want to live there. Russia isn't very diverse either. China needs a collapse and overthrow.
    LOL - Yeah, China is all those things and more...lousy heathen Chinee.

    UNTIL I say that China, because it IS all those things, and worse, should have punitive tariffs slapped on it's cheap $#@! consumer goods that are destroying US manufacturing and the middle class jobs that go with it.

    THEN China becomes the best thing since sliced bread, a haven of free enterprise, where you can open a business with one page of paperwork, and I'm a malignant, statist, $#@!.

    Ya'll need to get your stories straight.

    The fact is that, up or down, China has been an advanced society for 5000 years, and "diversity" had nothing to do with it.

    But let them keep playing around in Africa.

    Then they'll get a gutful of it.

  18. #16
    Not matter of if...

    Don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows



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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    LOL - Yeah, China is all those things and more...lousy heathen Chinee.

    UNTIL I say that China, because it IS all those things, and worse, should have punitive tariffs slapped on it's cheap $#@! consumer goods that are destroying US manufacturing and the middle class jobs that go with it.

    THEN China becomes the best thing since sliced bread, a haven of free enterprise, where you can open a business with one page of paperwork, and I'm a malignant, statist, $#@!.

    Ya'll need to get your stories straight.

    The fact is that, up or down, China has been an advanced society for 5000 years, and "diversity" had nothing to do with it.

    But let them keep playing around in Africa.

    Then they'll get a gutful of it.
    +Rep

    A country can be tyrannical and still avoid outright civilizational collapse but a country that succumbs to "diversity" will collapse and be tyrannical.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  21. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Krugminator2 View Post
    China is a third world $#@!hole country. The average person lives on nothing. The government executes and disappears people like the mafia. Part of the reason it isn't diverse is no person would want to live there. Russia isn't very diverse either. China needs a collapse and overthrow.
    You think that maybe we should stop letting them intervene in out marketplace and help them to collapse at the same time?
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    More doomsday and despair from the left, purely to push their agenda. Climate change, inequality.



    Ignore that part. All leftist solutions call for dramatically increasing complexity, bureaucracy, and government authority.
    Yes. Dictatorial rulers help keep things under control.

  23. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    LOL - Yeah, China is all those things and more...lousy heathen Chinee.

    UNTIL I say that China, because it IS all those things, and worse, should have punitive tariffs slapped on it's cheap $#@! consumer goods that are destroying US manufacturing and the middle class jobs that go with it.

    THEN China becomes the best thing since sliced bread, a haven of free enterprise, where you can open a business with one page of paperwork, and I'm a malignant, statist, $#@!.

    Ya'll need to get your stories straight.

    The fact is that, up or down, China has been an advanced society for 5000 years, and "diversity" had nothing to do with it.

    But let them keep playing around in Africa.

    Then they'll get a gutful of it.
    There's so many of them that they can suffer the casualties with little to no repercussions. The US has 330 million people. China has 1.4 billion.

  24. #21

  25. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by angelatc View Post
    Yes. Dictatorial rulers help keep things under control.
    This ^^^

    A hard assed dictator is what is required to keep a bunch of diversity in line, a polyglot hodgepodge of peoples and cultures and ethnicities, many of whom loathe the very sight of the other, all thrown together and told to get along or else.

  26. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by angelatc View Post
    There's so many of them that they can suffer the casualties with little to no repercussions. The US has 330 million people. China has 1.4 billion.
    The hue and cry go up: shut down Chinese immigration as well.

  27. #24

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    China's governments have collapsed quite a few times in those 5,000 years. Dictatorial rulers help keep things under control.
    lol Key word control. That was an easy one.



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  29. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    China's governments have collapsed quite a few times in those 5,000 years. Dictatorial rulers help keep things under control.
    The government =/= the civilization.

    And your admiration for dictators is interesting.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  30. #26
    Amash>Trump

    ΟΥ ΓΑΡ ЄCΤΙΝ ЄξΟΥCΙΑ ЄΙ ΜΗ ΥΠΟ ΘЄΟΥ

    "Patriotism should come from loving thy neighbor, not from worshiping graven images" - Ironman77

    "ideas have the potential of being more powerful than any army....The concept of personal sovereignty was pulled screaming from the ether into this reality by the force of men believing in a self evident truth, that men are meant to be free." - The Northbreather

    "Trump is the security blanket of aggrieved white men aged 18-60." - Pinoy



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