review Collapse How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed 109

Jared Diamond ç 9 read & download

review Collapse How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed 109 Ï Brilliant illuminating and immensely absorbing Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time raising the urgent uestion How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicideIn his million copy bestseller Guns Germs and Steel Jared DiT caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin and what can we learn from their fatesAs in Guns Germs and Steel Diamond weaves an all encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical cultural narratives Moving from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe Environmental dam. This is a major work Diamond looks in detail at the factors at play in the demise of civilizations in human history using a wide range of examples He offers a framework in which to structure the analysis and looks in great detail at possible and in many cases certain reasons why various societies collapsed He is not a one note analyst All problems do not fit the same mold There is considerable nuance and common sense brought to bear on this examination Foolishness plays a part greed corruption But just as freuently the actors behave rationally Maybe they were unaware or could not possibly be aware of the larger implications of their actions Maybe the land in which they lived was ill suited to large numbers of humans Maybe changes in climate made what seemed a reasonable place a death trap Clearly an analysis of why societies failed in the past with particular attention to environmental issues has direct relevance to our world today For example Polynesian islands that were dependant on resources from other islands collapsed when their import supply dried up That has relevance to oil dependant first world nations today for example Diamond goes out of his way to make a case that business is business and they are not in the business of performing charity or taking responsibility for the common weal He does point out that some businesses have been instrumental in forcing improvements in producers He cited Home Depot and BP among others although I expect he might have second thoughts about the latter's net impact I found the book to be extremely eye opening and informative It was a long slow read but well worth the effort It makes my short list of must read for anyone seriously interested in current affairs

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Age climate change rapid population growth and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies but other societies found solutions and persisted Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways Despite our own society's apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montan. This is an exhaustive and exhausting read Should’ve been tightened up and trimmed down not only did I get tired of the meandering but I got worn down from getting machine gunned with an avalanche of what I considered often superfluous details Still I thought it was very good the historical examples of collapse and also the examples of societies that successfully changed to avoid disaster were interesting It put the contemporary analysisproblems we face in perspective I remember reading Guns Germs Steel and while I enjoyed it Diamond's geographical determinism was tiresome and I suspect overplayed In this book he focuses on environmental stresses and issues playing a role in collapsing societies I think he does a good job in explaining the multitude of factors beyond this arena so it isn’t uite as one tracked and only focused on environmental determinism I think environment is crucial but it’s important to add proper ualifiers and try to not overplay your thesisMy impression is anthropologists really seem to have an ax to grind with Diamond Always interesting to see what people from certain fields have to say about popular books written about their domain especially those books written by someone who isn’t part of their tribe I haven’t read specific critiues of this book just remember some articles I’ve seen where anthropologists have absolutely smashed Diamond for his other work I imagine some of their critiue is right but it seems overly harsh a bit overdone leading me to wonder if they aren’t just trying to protect their turf Anyhow I’m sure in such a huge book as this one covering so much material Diamond made some missteps but I think his overall thesis is ballpark correct and important and the general historical analysis strikes me as solid Given the interwoven nature of the global economy intricate complexity of our systems and rates of environmental destruction and pressures we are applying on environment Diamond readily admits we are facing huge potentially civilization changing downshifts Grave risks weakness or breakdown in one part of the global system can reverberate throughout So it was kind of jarring to me when he states at the end of his book that he is “cautiously optimistic” we can turn things around in regards to preventing environmental breakdowns and catastrophes for global civilization I was a bit surprised by that tbh maybe I was struck by the nonchalance of his optimism especially given his devastating analysis of what we are facing I’m certainly not as sanguine I always kind of hope that hey maybe I’ve just drank too much of that Jonestown Climate ChangeEnvironmental Apocalypse kool aid ha Would love to be magnificently wrong on everything but I’d rather try and see things as they are than try and lie to myself with beautiful illusions I’m just a lay person but my sense given what I’ve read is that we are in big trouble and courting a slowly unfurling disaster There were some great sections I liked the one where he spells out something like a list of 10 reasonsstatements people use to minimize environmental problems This includes people who have magical belief in deux ex machina future tech that will come save us from problems we have or are causing I’m glad he hates this because I hate it it really drives me bonkers the use of this concept is a great way to sidestep any responsibility or accountability for present actions and greenlights continuation of pernicious status uo I do think tech and innovation can be tools to help us but they all have various externalities and can cause new problems of their own plus in regards to environment since the systems are all so interconnected you destroy or damage one aspect it can lead to a grand cascade At that point tech can maybe help minimize issues but it is hard impossible if damage is too great the unleashed cascade will shudder throughout the systems Good luck putting the genie back in the bottle some changes are irrevocable 6th extinction underway is a good example even the destruction of what can seem an innocuous tiny microorgamisn can completely change the ecosystem with implications for species in that system Diamond also points out another argument people use to justify environmental destruction well the environment is a luxury and we need to do everything we can for our economy which includes destroying the environment The economy is driven by the environment you break the environment or elements of it and you will likely hamstring your economy in various ways Happens again and again And it's not simple I understand the tension in this dynamic because if you are hungry today you need to do whatever it is you can to put food on the table and sometimes that includes destroying the environment which will have long term implications but if you are hungry and desperate you don't have as much luxury to think about or emphasize the long term I’m not sure how I feel about his soft defense of corporations and his emphasis on the consumer I think it annoys me lol He doesn’t give corporations a free pass but he tries to explain why they do what they do He tries to play a balanced view on all this hey corporations have to operate under their prime directive PROFITS at all costs or they will be sued by shareholders if they don’t regardless of damage done to environment community etc He also very much emphasizes consumer ability to exert pressure on companies to shift to environmentally friendly habits I believe this is a good tactic but can also be limited not to mention not all consumers have luxury to shift to environmentally friendly consumption nor the luxury of time to research and learn what those options might be Ultimately I am of the belief one has to reform the systems we are operating in this includes reforming how corporations operate instead of monolithic submission to shareholders I believe in a multi foundational mission for corporations where community workers management shareholders are all taken into consideration This is holistic in my view than the blind submission to shareholders who hold companies and company policystrategy hostage The concept of sustainable living might be a high priority for me but it is very hard given the way the system is set up I still generate a massive amount of trash and use tons of energy this is not to sidestep accountability because I should be held accountable and I can do better and many things I can do but I think even the best intentioned have a hard time because our society is set up in such a way that we are nudged pushed towards environmentally destructive options these are cheaper convenient options usually sometimes the only option Diamond doesn’t really get into this concept of reforming corporations or the infrastructure and systems within our society I think this is a good book but if you are looking for a concise systems analysis text on the environmental issues we are facing and the earth’s capacity to sustain it I highly recommend Donna Meadows Limits to Growth 30 year edition This was my favorite uote from the book and I think it is very good and can be applied to how blinded our thinking can be including my own“The values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs”Oh and here is another good uote Diamond touches on this concept and it is pertinent to many problems elites being insulated from the problems they create It is often elitescorporations who extract wealth then hightail it out of there with no conseuences for their actionsenvironmental destruction letting other people deal with the destruction or messes they create while elites pocket all the This uote is about the insulation of elites on the consumption side of things but the extraction production side is important imo and I was glad to see Diamond explore that problem“In much of the rest of the world rich people live in gated communities and drink bottled water That's increasingly the case in Los Angeles where I come from So that wealthy people in much of the world are insulated from the conseuences of their actions

summary Collapse How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed

Collapse How Societies Chose to Fail or SucceedBrilliant illuminating and immensely absorbing Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time raising the urgent uestion How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicideIn his million copy bestseller Guns Germs and Steel Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world Now in this brilliant companion volume Diamond probes the other side of the euation Wha. Terrifying how often the pattern of exploitation of nature and decline of cultures has repeated itselfThe fitting additional book to Diamonds work Guns Germs and Steel offers past and present scenarios of various environmental conditions and the mastery or miserable failure of the peoples trying to master the challenge Especially in isolated societies where the socio cultural aspect is much emphasized by the absence of invaders or other disturbing factors the processes leading to the formation of today's ruins or prosperous cities are describedAs a classic positive example Iceland which counters the desolation of the climate zone and infertility of barren landscapes with strong community feeling and intelligent farming can be named Other isolated island states such as Easter Island and other ghost islands have been caught in the throes of social degeneration and driven to self destruction by meaningless prestigious or religiously driven construction projects civil wars exploitation of natural resources to the collapse of the ecosystem or a bit of this and that mixed up togetherOften there was an old tradition of proven survival strategies on the failed island states but their practice was mostly forgotten or ignored in the course of the delusion resulting in the collapse of the social system and the extinction of the tribeHow the authors' theses could be applied to the history of the development of significant continental nations would be highly enjoyable This would probably be far too far reaching and hypothetical because of the added complexity which is why Diamond didn´t mention it but it would make a great new research area The factors that are taken into account such as climate change hostile neighbors environmental destruction breaking an alliance or loss of support from friendly neighbors and as a decisive factor the reaction of the population and ruling caste already present a high potential for complexity Therefore it would no longer be concluded with scientific seriousness by introducing additional factors such as in the case of the Roman Empire or other fallen empiresIt is noteworthy that the scheme of slow degeneration through creeping degradation of cultural as well as naturally given resources can strike both relatively primitive almost Stone Age societies as unexpectedly as highly developed and militarily nearly unbeatable empires Despite the admonishers of the respective time fanaticism and megalomania became the leading motive and in hindsight apparent nonsensical and self destructive mechanisms leaked into politics until it was accepted as usual and criticism was negated until the downfallAt this point it makes sense to see the accordances with the present and to illustrate the classic repetition of the history using various examples Thus even after dozens of vivid and illustrative learning examples from the history of what one should avoid as a state the same actually precisely recognizable mistakes are committed todayWhether it is negligent irreversible environmental destruction political destabilization until to the collapse of state and social order including genocide and targeted destruction of infrastructure until relapse into archaic forms of government and theocracy there is a wide range of patternsTheir use seems to be so desirable to humanity that repeated attempts can no longer be construed as just perseverance But instead as ignorance and incompetence of elites to whom a brief reading of any historical atlas could give numerous examples of the futility of their present action The big and anxious uestion after completing the book remains whether we as a society may have not jumped on the wrong train for far too long One that not only directs individual islands regions or states as described in the book but the entire planet and the civilization living on it on a path into the abyssA wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books