184 – Societal Complexity and Collapse
Guest: Joseph Tainter Host: Markus Voelter Shownoter: Jochen Spalding
Joseph Tainter, our guest in this episode, is an anthropologist and historian. In 1988 he wrote a book called The Collapse of Complex Societies in which he argues that societies inevitably increase their inherent complexity, and, if and when the complexity becomes too “expensive” (diminishing returns), a society will collapse. In this episode, Joe explains his rationale and provides historic examples for collapse. We then discuss his theory relative today’s world, concluding with a not alltogether positive outlook.
Todays guest: Joseph Tainter | Podcast recommendation: Aircrew Interview | Survey | Please send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org | Listener meeting! Follow Omegatau on Twitter and Facebook for more information.
As Always The Guest Introduces Himself00:05:12
Phases of Complexity Development and Definition of Collapse00:15:27
Societal collapse | Roman Empire | The History of Rome Podcast | List of Roman wars and battles | Classic Maya collapse | Chinese Revolution | Cuban Revolution | Arab Spring | Transaction cost | Taxes in the Roman Empire
Is Collapse a good or a bad thing and do we make progress after it happened in the long run?00:32:37
About Today's Societies00:38:45
"Will we use our knowledge?" | EROI Energy return of investment | Deborah Strumsky | José Lobo | Just-in-Time Manufacturing and Logistics | Jared Diamond (The myths of Easter Island – Jared Diamond responds) | Easter Islands | "People think short term and locally" | Herbert Simon | Collapse in Mesopotamia